The turfgrass disease diagnostic lab at the University of California-Riverside is suspending its diagnostic services as of March 7, according to an e-mail sent this morning by UC Cooperative Extension specialist Frank Wong, Ph.D.
Over the past few years, the lab has been analyzing approximately 500 samples annually from California and other western states. The lab has not been self-supporting, but has been subsidized by university funding, cooperative research with chemical companies, outside grants and funding from state GCSAA chapters and The Environmental Institute for Golf. Cuts to the University of California budget and other funding sources have contributed to the decision to suspend diagnostic work at the lab.
In his letter, Wong states that the Riverside group "will try to reorganize under a new business plan to meet the diagnostic lab needs of the industry, and relaunch the service under a different business model." That model may include some price increases.
Wong says the university needs to consider the actual costs of the services that Extension programs provide: "Any kind of service to the industry must be (financially) self-sustaining."