Extension Overview

University of Wisconsin-Extension is the outreach arm of the University of Wisconsin System.

UW-Extension provides statewide access to university resources and research so the people of Wisconsin can learn, grow and succeed at all stages of life. UW-Extension carries out the tradition of the Wisconsin Idea – extending the boundaries of the university to the boundaries of the state – through its four divisions of continuing education, the cooperative extension service, entrepreneurship and economic development, and broadcast and media innovations. Similar forms of outreach scholarship and service are conducted by faculty and staff throughout the UW System, including UW-Madison.

The Cooperative Extension Service is a unique partnership of counties, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Wisconsin working together to help people put knowledge to work. This partnership brings education to people where they live, through Extension offices, in each of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. It supports educational programs for farmers, businesses, communities, families and young people.

UW-Extension uses education to help people understand and solve problems. Educational programs developed and conducted by county-based educators reflect local concerns. They apply knowledge from the University of Wisconsin, other universities and the United States Department of Agriculture.

Extension Specialist Faculty in the UW-Madison Department of Plant Pathology

Extension specialists on campuses of the University of Wisconsin System teach, conduct original applied research and interpret research of other scholars in response to local and state needs. These specialists provide statewide educational leadership in their disciplines and serve as a resource people to extension offices, state agencies, the legislature, professional associations, business and industry and other state and national groups.

The department has 4 extension specialists specializing in:

  • Etiology and integrated management of diseases of fruit crops (Leslie Holland)
  • Diagnosis, biology, and management of fungal and other pathogens of potato and vegetable crops in Wisconsin (Amanda Gevens)
  • Epidemiology and Management of Field Crop Diseases (Damon Smith)
  • Turf Pathology (Paul Koch)
  • Organic and Sustainable Cropping Systems (Erin Silva)

Diagnostic Labs

The department has 3 diagnostic labs:

  • Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic
    The PDDC provides assistance in identifying plant diseases and provides educational information on plant diseases and their control.PDDC clients include agricultural and horticultural producers (e.g., farmers, nursery owners), agricultural and horticultural professionals (e.g., crop consultants, arborists), home gardeners, Extension staff and Master Gardener volunteers, and state and local government (e.g., Wisconsin DNR, city and county foresters).
  • Turfgrass Diagnostic Lab
    The Turfgrass Diagnostic Lab (TDL) provides fast and accurate diagnostic information and management recommendations for all turf health issues concerning both commercial turfgrass managers and homeowners. Proper diagnosis and management can provide a lush, healthy stand of turf with limited pesticide applications that will benefit the environment, increase property values, and allow for recreational activity. The Turfgrass Diagnostic Lab is a nonprofit service supported by faculty and staff in the departments of Plant Pathology, Horticulture, Soil Science, and Entomology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • Nematode Diagnostic Clinic
    Nematodes outnumber every other animal on the planet.  Most nematodes in agricultural fields are beneficial to soil health, but some genera are parasites capable of causing yield loss to many crops. Nematode pests are not likely to disappear once they have invaded a field, but they can be managed.  Our assay service identifies plant parasitic nematodes to the genus level and estimates their potential to cause yield loss.  An accurate profile of the types and numbers of pest nematodes is important for explaining damage to the current crop, predicting damage to future crops, and selecting appropriate measures to keep nematode pests from reaching damaging levels.

Extension Plant Pathology Programs and Resources

  • Field Crops Pathology The UW Field Crops Pathology team focuses on the biology, epidemiology, and management field crop diseases. Information and potential solutions to disease problems are evaluated using both applied and basic research. Field studies include station and on-farm research to test epidemiological models, evaluate pesticides, and improve our practical and biological understanding of various plant pathogens. The information generated by research directly services the extension program. We develop, evaluate, and disseminate solutions to many of the disease problems associated with soybeans, corn, and wheat. We work closely with county extension agents, crop advisors, agribusinesses, and commodity groups. We develop disease management fact sheets, outreach courses, and electronic education resources. We take an integrated approach to disease management using improved host resistance, cultural management, and chemical control techniques. One of our main research and extension efforts is the development and improvement of disease forecasting systems that can be used to accurately advise fungicide applications. Reducing or eliminating fungicide applications through the use of integrated disease management is profitable for the grower, and is a positive step toward sustainability in 21st century agriculture.
  • UW Integrated Pest and Crop Management
    The University of Wisconsin Integrated Pest and Crop Management (IPCM)  programs—Nutrient and Pest Management Program (NPM) and Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM)—work cooperatively to address critical issues regarding pest management, pesticide use, and nutrient management by Wisconsin farmers and landowners.
  • UW Vegetable Pathology
  • Wisconsin Seed Potato Certification Program
  • Organic Potato Project