Water is essential to citrus growers. They scrutinize the amount available, its quality and when and how they should use it to grow their trees and sustain their livelihood.
Soil and water sciences assistant professor Davie Kadyampakeni works tirelessly with Florida citrus growers to ensure that they have access to the most current research in water use and soil nutrient management to promote good environmental stewardship and crop production efficiency.
Kadyampakeni, working at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred, combines a research portfolio with an Extension appointment to bring the latest information to growers. His work has been so effective that he is being recognized by his colleagues with the 2020 Outstanding Extension Specialist award.
Kadyampakeni’s Extension philosophy is to address the immediate and long-term needs of citrus growers (and growers of other horticultural crops such as peaches and blueberries) in Florida by establishing himself as a “go-to” researcher with information provided as needed. The majority of Florida citrus is grown in sandy soil, and growers need thoughtful nutrient and water management strategies to be successful. Educational activities to achieve his goals in Extension include talks, publications, phone calls and demonstrations. His Extension program takes a three-pronged approach by focusing on:
- Irrigation and nutrient management in citrus for increased production efficiency and environmental sustainability
- Best management practices
- Capacity building and Extension talks, including research publications, conference presentations, workshops, field days and individual consultations
“Dr. Kadyampakeni deserves this award because of his relentless drive to get information to growers,” said Juanita Popenoe, a UF/IFAS multi-county commercial fruit production agent and the person who nominated him. “He is focused on promoting optimal irrigation and nutrient application rates for citrus affected with huanglongbing (HLB), something that is absolutely needed.”
Over his time with UF/IFAS, Kadyampakeni has processed over 5,000 samples and analyzed them for pH or nutrient content and has reached out to more than 1,200 participants in workshops.
Nationally, he is the past chair for the American Society of Agronomy (ASA) Sensor-Based Water Management Community. Davie was also the 2019 Leader for the W4128 Multistate Project, Microirrigation: A sustainable technology for crop intensification and improved water productivity, with participants from more than 20 universities and several U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists.
Kadyampakeni is chair of the Citrus Working Group for the American Society of Horticultural Science (ASHS) and chairs the 2020 panel for selecting the International Horticulturalist of the Year. He is the organizer of the citrus workshop on “Novel Practices for Sustaining Citrus Production in the Era of Citrus Greening (Huanglongbing),” scheduled for August 2020 in Orlando, Florida at the ASHS annual conference. Additionally, he is the 2020 Citrus Section vice president for the Florida State Horticultural Society.