Cooperative Extension Service 

  Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

Southwest Florida Vegetable Newsletter

Hendry County Cooperative Extension Office
PO Box 68
Labelle, Florida 33975

July/August 1998



August  26-27          Florida Citrus Expo  - Theme:  “A Look Back For to the Future.”
                               Lee Civic Center, Fort Myers.
                                    Contact Ron Hamel, 863-675-2180

September 9-11        23rd Annual Joint Tomato Conference
                                    Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Naples.
                                    Contact Wayne Hawkins, 407-894-3071.

September 16-18      58th Annual Meeting Soil and Crop Science Society of Florida and Nematology Forum
                                    Sunspree Resort, 600 N. Atlantic Ave., Daytona Beach.
                                    Contact Tom Kucharek, 352-392-1980

September 23-27     56th Annual Convention, Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association,
                                   The Ritz-Carlton, Naples.
                                   Contact Reggie Brown, 407-894-1351

September 28-30      Florida Agricultural Conference and Trade Show (FACTS)
                                    Lakeland Center, Lakeland.
                                    Contact Kathy Murphy, 407-678-5337.

September 28         Pesticide Training & Exam.,  AM - Core, P M - Private Applicator.
October 1               Pesticide Training & Exam.,  A M - Row Crops & Tree Crops,  P M - Aquatics.
                                   Hendry County Extension Office
                                   Contact Sheila Griffith, 863-674-4092
Return to index:
Note from Gene 

Gene McAvoy
Vegetable Extension Agent II
Hendry County Extension Office
PO Box 68
LaBelle, Florida, 33975

Hope this note finds everyone well and ready to go for the start of the fall planting season.  Following the pattern set last season, I plan to hold monthly vegetable meetings to provide growers and the vegetable industry with timely information of seasonal importance.  As always, I welcome any suggestions or comments regarding these meetings to assist me in providing you with information that you need in your operation.

August has already seen two vegetable meetings, the first was a presentation by Novartis Crop Protection, Inc. on the Use of Ridomil Gold in the Control of Phtophthora in Peppers.  Dr. Vavrina also presented some research on scald in pepper which indicated that avoiding planting during the hottest portion of the day, from approximately 11am to 3pm coupled with watering the peppers immediately after transplanting was helpful in reducing incidence of scald and the need for replanting.  Our second meeting on Methyl Bromide Use and Safety, conducted by HyYield Bromine indicated that while the discontinuation of
methyl bromide was still scheduled to take place on January 1, 2001, there have been considerable lobbying efforts and some movement toward a possible compromise regarding continued use of this effective pest management tool.

As we all know the vegetable growers are currently under serious threat of losing some of their most essential pest management tools.  The continued use of methyl bromide is threatened by the provisions of the Clean Air Act, while proposed implementation of the Food Quality and Protection Act (FQPA) could jeopardize the continued registration of over 60 commonly used organo-phosphate and carbamate compounds that growers rely upon to combat pests.  As a number of articles reprinted in this newsletter and elsewhere have pointed out much of this legislation and proposed implementation strategies are based on scientifically unjustified information and exaggerations of risk.  A number of agricultural groups are actively lobbying to inform legislators and others of the economic consequences of wholesale removal of large numbers of pesticides from grower’s arsenals.  They can not get the job done without help however!

Everyone with an interest in agriculture and the vegetable industry in particular must contribute to the effort to establish some rational decision making in the reassessment process dictated by FQPA.  In order to support the need for scientific data, the Hendry County Extension Office will be soliciting pesticide use data from growers, we ask for you’r cooperation in this matter.

If you have not yet done so call or write your Senator, Congressman, and Legislators. If you have do it again!  Join or support organizations such as the FFVA and Farm Bureau.  Explain the situation to your employees and encourage them to lobby in support of agriculture.  The only way that this battle will be won is by strong lobbying and educational efforts by the ag. sector.
Return to index:

Group offers Alternative Plan for Activating FQPA

An alternative vision has been proposed for implementation of the Food Quality Protection Act that avoids a disruption in the nation’s food supply.  The proposal was offered in mid-June by the Implementation Working Group (IWG), a coalition of agricultural, pest management and manufacturing organizations formed to respond to FQPA.  They were contained in a document called “A Science-Based, Workable Framework for Implementing the Food Quality Protection Act.”  IWG said it offered the framework in the spirit of cooperation and sound science, whereby all parties can work together in a more coordinated manner to ensure balanced, science-based implementation of FQPA.

This IWG framework is based on four principles:

        · Sound science
        · Transparency (open to the public and encouraging comment and participation by affected parties)
        · Balance of risk and benefit
        · Workability.

 “This road map is important because it’s the producer’s perspective as to where and when FQPA ought to be implemented.” said Phil Korson, Cherry Marketing Institute President, who is on the executive committee of the Minor Crop Farmer Alliance, a founding member of IWG.  “A lot of thought went into the road map,” Korson added.  “We’re not just saying ‘we don’t like what you're doing here.’  We’re coming to the table and saying ‘here’s how we believe this law was set up to implement FQPA.  This is how we feel it should be implemented.’  We’ve worked on this for six to eight months.  It’s not something that popped up  overnight.”

The Environmental Protection Agency has sufficient flexibility to implement FQPA in a balanced fashion, according to IWG.  The agency has the ability to implement the law without causing hardship to pest management and agricultural production.Thus far, IWG believes decisions EPA has made jeopardize many safe pest management tools essential to the protection of public health and agricultural production.  Delays in making decisions on new products and Section 18 emergency exemptions have also been observed.

IWG urged EPA to understand that sound science requires good data that can be validated, which requires time to develop.
The agency was asked not to use default assumptions in the tolerance assessment processes.  “Default” means that the agency assumes pesticide applicators use the maximum allowable amount of materials.  EPA was asked to determine whether to apply additional uncertainty factors on a chemical specific, case-by-case basis considering the available scientific evidence.  Under FQPA, the agency may increase the risk factor on a material by 10 times to enhance its safety for children and infants.

A series of deadlines is included in FQPA that calls for every pesticide tolerance to be reassessed within the next 10 years in increments of one-third.  The first third are to be completed by August of 1999. IWG has asked the agency to give higher priority to making sound scientific decisions than to completing final tolerance reassessments by a deadline.  The law does provide for an agency to take “a reasonable period of time to allow data development,” according to IWG.

EPA was asked to revoke only those tolerances that pose an unacceptable risk and avoid removing uses that pose only theoretical risks based on worst-case scenarios.  Tolerances should not be revoked unless reassessments are based on actual use information.  IWG would like to see the agency allow adequate time for pesticide users to make a reasonable transition to alternative products and technologies when existing tolerances are revoked.  EPA was asked to solve the current resource imbalance between tolerance reassessment and new product registration and hasten the decision-making process on new products.

On another front, the EPA-USDA Tolerance Reassessment Advisory Committee (TRAC) has started its work looking at FQPA.  Formed after a memo from Vice President Al Gore requesting a closer examination of the act, the 49-member panel met May 28 and 29 in Arlington, Va.

By Lee Dean
The Great Lakes Vegetable Growers News
Return to index:

FQPA Testimony

The following excerpts are from testimony presented to the EPA Pesticide Dialogue Committee in April of this year by Dr. Carl Winter.  Dr. Winter is the Director of the Foodsafe Program in the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of California, Davis.

“My name is Carl Winter.  I am an Associate Extension Food Toxicologist on the faculty of the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of California at Davis and I direct the University’s FoodSafe Program.  I hold a Ph. D. in Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry and a B.S. in Environmental Toxicology, both from Davis.  In ten years on the faculty of the University of California, my program has focused on pesticide residues, natural food toxins, and risk assessment.  During that period, I have not received any funding support from the agricultural, food or chemical industries.  I also represent the Institute of Food Technologists, a scientific society composed of 28,000 members working in food science, technology, and related professions in industry, academia, and government.  I serve the Institute as a designated Food Science Communicator as well as the Chair-Elect of the Toxicology and Safety Evaluation Division.  I recently co-authored an Institute Scientific Status Summary on assessing, managing, and communicating chemical food risks that has been distributed to PPDC members as a primer discussing many of the risk assessment issues being considered by this committee such as uncertainty factors, threshold levels, and high-to-low dose extrapolation.

I am here today to address two issues: 1)  The extremely low risks posed by pesticide residues in food; and  2)  My concerns with the overly conservative risk assessment methods that may be used by the EPA in its interpretation of the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) that may lead to scientifically unjustified decisions that could significant and adversely impact agriculture of California and the nation.

I’ll start with the second issue first.  When the bill was passed in the summer of 1996, I was initially pleased.  The spirit of the bill, in my opinion, was to provide greater scientific flexibility in assessing the risks posed by pesticides in food to aid in improved regulatory practices.  The bill replace the rigid and anachronistic zero-risk Delaney Clause with a framework that allowed input of the best possible science into the risk assessment process.  After following FQPA developments over the past twenty months, I have become very concerned with the direction of EPA’s efforts to implement it.  My concerns are that the
conservative nature of the assumptions used to calculate risks may result in the development of phantom risks that exist only on paper as a result of stacking or multiplying layers of conservatism; such exaggerations of risk may ultimately lead to unsound regulatory decisions.

Obviously, risk assessment is a complicated process that requires a multitude of assumptions to be made.  Most of us are aware of the 100-fold uncertainty factor that is typically used in the assessment of threshold risks from chemicals such as pesticides which assumes that  1)  humans are ten times more sensitive to chemicals than the most sensitive laboratory animals tested; and
that 2)  some humans are ten times more sensitive than the average human.

What fewer people are aware of, I believe, is that a variety of lesser-known assumptions are also inherent in the risk assessment process that also may dramatically exaggerate risks.  The determination of pesticide use, residue levels, and food consumption estimates typically use conservative assumptions and it is likely that aggregate exposure estimates considering water and residential exposure will also be exaggerated.  It is critical to realize that even the No Observed Effect Level (NOEL), from which the reference doses are derived, also tend to be conservative.  As an example, if a chronic animal toxicology study yielded a NOEL of 10 mg/kg/day and a Lowest Observed Effect Level of 200 mg/kg/day, the “true” NOEL could be anywhere between 10 and 200 mg/kg/day and certainly much higher than 10.

Such exaggerations of risk become even greater when considering cumulative risks from toxicologically-related pesticides such as the Organophosphates; in practice, this results in stacking all of the conservatism of the individual pesticide risk assessments, leading to a “super-exaggerated” risk.  And, on top of all of this, there is consideration given to applying an additional 10-fold safety factor to the risk assessment of sensitive population subgroups such as infants and children.

In my opinion, the compounding of the various conservative assumptions leads to the generation of phantom risks that exist only on paper but not in reality.  What this means is that the proposed “risk cup” is more likely taking on the shape of a medicine dropper.  With all of the focus on the treatment of the uncertainties inherent in the risk assessment process, it is convenient to overlook what is known about pesticide residues in foods.  Results from hundreds of thousands of food residue analyses conducted by state and federal agencies and the food industry consistently indicate that the levels of residues, when indeed detected, remain extremely low.

The risks posed by residues are perhaps reflected best by the results of the Food and Drug Administration’s Total Diet Study, a comprehensive market basket survey performed annually that analyzes food for residues at the time of consumption.  As an example, consider this scenario:
1)  Take the typical human daily exposure to a pesticide obtained from the Total Diet Study.
2)  Now feed laboratory animals 10,000 times the typical human daily exposure (on the basis of body weight) every day throughout their lifetimes.
3)  What happens to the animals?

In general, nothing happens.  For any noticeable effects to be observed, animals generally need to be exposed to doses grater than 10,000 times our typical daily dose.  Does this prove the safety of pesticide residues?  Certainly not.  But it does explain why there is strong skepticism among many members of the health community, myself included, over whether pesticide residue controls need to be tightened.

So to summarize, I am concerned that the paths EPA may take in assessing risks according to its interpretation of FQPA may create theoretical phantom risks that exist only on paper.  Basing regulatory actions on such exaggerated estimates of risk may have immense consequences.  By unnecessarily restricting the uses of many pest control products, there may be risk trade off's through substitution of less effective chemicals that could increase worker safety, environmental, and resistance management concerns.

Food production and quality may also be affected, leading to lower availability and higher consumer cost for fruits and vegetables.  Effects could be dramatic in states such as California, where I live, which is by far the leading agricultural producer in the nation.  Almost all of California fruit and vegetable production centers on its 250 “minor” crops which may be most affected by unnecessary pesticide restrictions.

It is hard to argue against the safety of infants and children.  As the father of four-and six-year-old boys, I strive to do everything I can to ensure their health and safety.  But if we are really concerned about what they eat, we should encourage their consumption of healthy fruits and vegetables rather than possibly restrict their access due to lower availability and increased cost which may result from regulatory decisions that emanate from exaggerated estimates of risk.  It is critical that regulations are based on the best estimates of risk and not the worst.”

Excerpted From:
Pesticide Information Office
Return to index:

Clinton Signs Agricultural Bill

 President Clinton signed the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998 on June 23, 1998.  The bill restores food stamp benefits for certain legal immigrants, including the elderly and children, and supports farmers and the agricultural community.  The bill insures that crop insurance would be funded for the next five years, extends the Fund for Rural America, and authorizes support for agricultural research and education through the land-grant system.

Clinton commented, “America has come a long way from the days when Thomas Jefferson believed that every American should be a farmer, but what he said then is still true today:  ‘The cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens.  They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to its liberty and interest by the most lasting bonds.’  Today, we have an opportunity to strengthen those bonds, and I am very happy to do so.

By John Kretzmann, Autumn 1995
Wingspread Journal/The Johnson Foundation
Return to index:
USDA Announces Creation of Agricultural Mediation Service

 The USDA, through a grant provided to the State of Florida, provides certified mediation services for farmers throughout the State.  Through this program, mediators can render services where agency and other decisions adversely affect farmers.  Many different cases involving loan and loan-servicing issues, wetland determination, conservation dilemmas, crop insurance issues and other agricultural issues can be mediated at no cost to the farmer, when the problems are mediated through USDA. Instead of being forced to appeal adverse decisions through the USDA in administrative hearings, the producer has the option to resolve problems through mediation.

How is mediation different from an administrative hearing?  An administrative hearing is a formal process, with each side making opening and closing remarks, presenting evidence and cross-examining witnesses.  Participants will present their cases, but in the end, have no say as to the final outcome.

Mediation provides an informal process in which the parties involved in the dispute meet in a confidential, neutral manner and with the help of an impartial mediator, try to work out their own settlements to the dispute.  During mediation, each side presents their case, but much more informally than in a hearing.

Mediation encourages creative means to solve the problems, focusing on problem-solving and bettering relations, not asserting blame.  Working with the mediator, the parties then try to create an agreement which works for them and meets their needs.  The mediator has no power to determine who is right and wrong, or who wins or loses.  If mediation does not resolve the dispute, the parties still have the right to proceed to a hearing.  Information obtained during the mediation session remains confidential.

Mediators are certified, fully trained persons, with specialized training in agricultural topics.  All mediators will be educated about the specific agricultural issues of each case in order to fully assist the parties involved.  Mediation programs have been designed for expedient dispute resolution.  The actual mediation session is usually conducted within 30 days from the date of a request for mediation.  The sessions themselves will generally be no more than two hours.  Sometimes additional sessions are required for complex issues to be resolved.

Mediation through the USDA is a free service for the participants.  Any costs that a party incurs prior to or after mediation, like attorney’s fees, would remain the responsibility of the party.  If you cannot agree on a solution, you still retain all your legal rights.  You retain the right to appeal and to sue the government to redress your adverse decisions.  If you wish to have USDA mediate, you must notify the Florida Agricultural Mediation Service of your decision no later than 30 days after the date of the decision which you wish to mediate.

You can either fax or send a written request for mediation to:
Florida Agricultural Mediation Service
PO Box 117624
Gainesville, FL  32611-7624
Telephone:  1-888-712-9421
Fax:  1-352-392-0414

Agricultural Mediation Reporter
Return to index:
GAO Food Safety Report 
  The food supply in the United States is among the safest in the world.  In recent years, however, there have been a number of serious outbreaks of food-borne illnesses, some of which have been associated with imported foods.  Last year, President Clinton launched two separate food safety initiatives designed to lower the risk of food borne disease from both domestic and imported foods.  In his budget submission to Congress for FY 99, the President asked for an additional $100 million for the national food safety program, including $25 million to enable FDA to expand its international food inspections.

Now, the General Accounting Office has released its evaluation of the safety of imported foods.  In its report, “Food Safety:  Federal Efforts to Ensure Safety of Imported Foods Are Inconsistent and Unreliable,” GAO concludes that some of FDA’s import control activities are inadequate.  The agency agrees that more needs to be done to safeguard the quality of imported foods and already has undertaken many of the steps outlined in GAO report.  To make adequate progress, however, FDA will require additional legal authority and resources.  The GAO itself has recommended legislation to give FDA additional authority.

The major concerns raised by GAO, and FDA’s reponses include:

FDA is re-evaluating how it constructs the annual work plans.  Overall, there is much in the GAO report with which FDA agrees.  The agency shares GAO’s concerns about the magnitude of the task it faces in regulating the rapidly rising volume of imported foods.  FDA  agrees with GAO that it needs additional legislative authority to safeguard the nation's food supply.
The American public deserves and expects nothing less.
Return to index:

Useful Ag Web Sites

Univ. of Florida - Institute of Food &  Agricultural Sciences (IFAS)

Florida Agricultural Information Retrieval systems (FAIRS)

University of Florida - Deptartment of Entomology & Nematology

University of Florida - Deptartment of Agronomy

University of Florida - Environmental Horticulture Dept.

Florida Tomato Scouting Guide Website

AgriGator Worldwide Agriculture Site Index

Agricultural Weather Information Service (AWIS)

ISA Home Page  - (provides pesticide labels)

Guide to Agricultural Web sites

Agriculture & Food Industry Resources

The Florida Automated Weather Network (FAWN)

South Florida Water Management District

Southwest Florida Water Management District

Florida State Fair

The Peace River Farmer & Rancher
Return to index:
Consider Non-Chemical Choices in 
Weed Control Battle 
Weed control is a real challenge for vegetable growers.  For many reasons, there is increasing interest in non-chemical controls.  At the same time, many growers are working hard to improve their soil quality.  Some non-chemical weed controls are good for the soil, some are not.

Below I consider six non-chemical weed control practices, ranked roughly from best to worst in terms of soil impact.

Growers commonly do this for berry crops, why not more for the vegetables?  One example I know of that works very well is to put down clean straw or hay in the aisles between black plastic.  This also helps with disease control.  Mulch also works well, with summer squash and some Brassica crops.  Many annual weeds will be well-controlled by a good mulch.  Perennial weeds will not, and will thrive under mulch.  For them, use cover crops and fallow treatments. Preferably include a legume/grass sod crop, but at least with crops that are tilled in different seasons.  Weeds will build up more if they are consistently favored by tillage at their favorite time.  Warm season weeds such as pigweed, purslane, and crabgrass are favored by tillage in June and July - and will be smothered out by mulch or cover crops at the time.  Some weed seeds have only a short life in the soil.  A field rotated into three years of hay would have a dramatic reduction in weed pressure, plus an improvement in soil tilth. Many midweatern studies have shown yield increases of 10% or more in corn and soybeans in their
first year of rotation, compared to continuous cropping.  This is called the rotation effect.  No doubt it works for most vegetables as well - take advantage of it. Use crops in rotation to get rid of pesky weeds via wider herbicide options.  This should be a cornerstone of weed IPM.  For instance, growing sweet corn allows one to use Dual, which can help clean up a field with heavy annual grasses, nightshade or nutsedge.  If you cultivate the corn as well, so much the better for your weed control.  If horse nettles are a problem in a field, plant an early maturing crop such as peas, snap beans, cucumbers, summer squash, etc.  Then, either till repeatedly after the crop is harvested (i.e. fallowing the field) or spray with Roundup and Banvel or 2,4-D.  Velvetleaf is quite susceptible to cultivation, so rotating into a crop that you can cultivate thoroughly can help.  Field crops may present more herbicide options.  As much as possible, plan so that herbicide carryover does not preclude your rotation choices. Use them in rotation, as above.  Fill in “windows” before or after a crop, of five weeks or more during the growing season, with a cover crop that will grow rankly in that season.  Plant it thickly.  For instance:  Warm season - sorghon/sundangrass, Sunn Hemp, cowpeas -sesbnia.   If the window is less than five weeks, consider fallowing during that period by harrowing the field
every 10 days.  Don’t let weeds escape and set seed.  As the cover crops grow, they smother weeds that germinate.  And when you till the cover crop under, the weeds are also destroyed before they go to seed.  Even if the cover crop has not reached its full growth, till the stand under if you see weeds beginning to flower. Learn about the best tools for your crop and soils, and how to use them.  Talk to other growers who cultivate. This is a technique used to clean up a field before planting the crop.  Prepare your seedbed, but delay planting until a flush of weeds emerges.  Then shallowly harrow them, flame them, or spray with a low rate of Roundup before seeding the crop.  You will be depleting the weed seed pool in the top inch of soil.  This process may be repeated several times, if your planting schedule permits.  Stale seedbed does not work well against perennial weeds, unless herbicides or repeating flaming are used. This involves repeated discing or harrowing of the field during a substantial mid-summer time period (often six to eight weeks) to till weeds.  Fallowing is an effective way of cleaning up fields infested with most weeds.

By Brian Caldwell
Cornell Cooperative Extension
The Great Lakes Vegetable Growers News
Return to index:

Brushing Plants Aids Growth

Scoff if you dare, but the trick to growing sturdier tomatoes is to get them on an exercise program while they are still young.   “Brushing plants 10 times a day when they are small gets them flexing and bending like they do in the wind,”says Thomas Bjorkman, plant physiologist in the Horticultural Sciences department.  Moving into the field can be hard on tender nursery stock, especially the typical tomato transplant.  “Brushing makes stronger and sturdier plants.”

Because transplants grown in greenhouses are often leggy and tender, they are vulnerable to damage by commercial transplants as well as wind once they are planted.  The challenge was to grow a sturdier plant, he reasoned.

In research conducted over two years, Bjorkman and graduate student Lauren Garner discovered that brushing transplants with 10 strokes once a day reduces plant height by about one third and results in stockier plants.  “Short and sturdy is better than tall and skinny,” said Garner.  Brushing does not adversely affect quality nor long-term growth and flowering.  One “stroke” onsists of one back and forth motion.

The technology is exceedingly low-tech and the treatment program is quick and easy to implement.  In the commercial setting, Bjorkman recommends that growers gently drag a plastic pipe across seedlings when the seedling flats are lined up on the greenhouse tables.  The home gardener can use an unpainted broomstick or their hand.  Brush 10 strokes, once a day, as soon as the plants are 2 1/2” to 3” tall.  Treatment can also start later, when plants are taller, but results will not be as dramatic.

“Don’t overdo it the first day or two,” warns Bjorkman.  “Go lightly.”  The plants sometimes wilt immediately the first time, but recover quickly and do not wilt after they get accustomed to being brushed.  Plants also react the same whether brushing is fast or slow, done early or late in the day.  Bjorkman cautions against brushing transplants when the leaves are wet because it may spread disease.

Brushing more than 10 times risks damaging the plants and yields no great effect.

by Linda McCandless, Cornell News Service
Return to index:
Tomato Institute Program
Ritz Carlton, Naples 
September 9, 1998 
9:00 a.m.       Opening Remarks
                      - Edward Hanlon, SWFREC, Immokalee

9:10 a.m.       Free Trade Agreement of the Americas:  Current Status and Future Opportunities for Florida  Tomato Growers
                      -  John Van Sickle, IFAS, Food & Resource Dept., Gainesville

9:30 a.m.       Update on Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus
                      - Jane Polston, Virologist, IFAS, GCREC, Bradenton

9:50 a.m.       Phytophthora capsici:  New Problems from an Old Enemy
                      - Robert McGovern, Pathologist, IFAS, GCREC, Bradenton

10:10 a.m.    Update on the Use of Bacteriophages for Control of Bacterial Spot
                    - Jeff Jones, Pathologist, IFAS, GCREC, Bradenton

10:30 a.m.    Bacterial speck:  The Other Bacterial Disease
                    - Ken Pernezny, Pathologist, IFAS, EREC, Belle Glade

10:50 a.m.    The Scientific, Economic, and Political Reality of the Phaseout of Methyl Bromide
                    - Joe Noling, Nematologist, IFAS, CREC, Lake Alfred and Jim Gilreath, Weed Scientist, IFAS,
                    GCREC,  Bradenton

11:10 a.m.  Effect of Commercial Bacterial and Fungal Microorganisms to Colonize Tomato Roots and Control Fusarium
                  Crown and Root Rot under Fumigated and Non-fumigated Conditions
                  - Lawrence Datnoff, Pathologist and Ken Pernezny, Pathologist, IFAS, EREC, Bradenton.

11:30-1:00  Lunch

1:00 p.m.    What’s New in the Industry
                    - Industry Representatives

1:30 p.m.     Agricultural labor in Southwest Florida
                    - Fritz Roka, Economist, IFAS, SWFREC

1:50 p.m.      The Food Quality Protection Act & the FL Grower
                    - Dan Botts, Environmental & Pest Management Division, FFVA

2:10 p.m.      Florida Automated Weather Network:  A Tool for Growers
                    - John Jackson, Ext. Agent III, IFAS, Lake County Extension Service

2:30 p.m.     Tomato Transplant Cell Size Effects Earliness and Yield
                    - Charlie Vavrina, Horticulturist, IFAS, SWFREC

2:50 p.m.     Prospective Releases from the University of Florida Tomato Breeding Program
                    - Jay Scott, Breeder, IFAS, GCREC

3:10 p.m.     Update on the Florida Premium - Quality Tomato Program
                    - Steve Sargent, PostHarvest Specialist, Hort. Science Dept., IFAS, Gainesville

3:30 p.m.     Tomato Fertilization Recommendations - Eevaluation and Review
                    - George Hochmuth, Extension Specialist, Hort. Science Dept., IFAS, Gainesville

(Vavrina, Vegetarian 98-07)
Return to index:

Knack® Now Available to control Whiteflies

The EPA has granted a Section 18 emergency exemption, permitting use in Florida of KNACK® Insect Growth Regulator (pyriproxyfen), developed by Valent U.S.A. Corporation.  The product controls silverleaf whiteflies, which infect tomato plants with tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLC).  The exemption, which became effective May 15, will expire on May 1, 1999.

Pyriproxyfen, a new class of chemistry, is a metamorphosis inhibitor that sterilizes adult insects, reduces egg hatch, and destroys nymphs before they mature.  “Whitefly has become resistant to some older insecticides,” said John Altom, field market development specialist for Valent.  “Using a new product not only controls the pest but also maintains the effectiveness of older chemistries for a longer period of time.”

TYLC, which was first discovered in Florida fields last July, is a geminivirus that can have dramatic effects on crop yields.  Studies show as high as 70% yield loss when geminiviruses infect plants during the early growth stages.  Later infections can cause up to 30% damage.

Emergency use exemptions are granted under provisions of Section 18 of the Federal Insecticide,  Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), as amended, for products that are in the process of receiving a full EPA registration.  The exemptions are designed to give growers treatment options when a particular pest cannot be controlled by currently registered products.
Return to index:
SpinTor Insecticide 
Gets Federal Registratration
Dow AgroSciences has received a federal registration for SpinTor 2SC Naturalyte® to control major pest in a variety of crops, including fruiting and leafy vegetables, brassica (cole) leafy vegetables, apples, citrus, and almonds.  The EPA granted the product an expedited review as a “reduced risk” pesticide.

Spinosad, the active ingredient, is derived from a naturally occurring soil organism.  According to the manufacturer, SpinTor 2SC offers “the best of popular sprayable technology by combining the broad-spectrum insect control of many synthetic insecticides with low toxicity and environmental characteristics of many biological products.”

The product, which works through both contact and ingestion, is effective on a wide range of vegetable pests, including flower thrips, thrips palmi, leafminers, armyworms, loopers, and many others.  Due to its unique mode of action, it is not cross-resistant with existing insect control technology, so it is effective for controlling resistant insect species such as diamondback moth.
Return to index:

New Varieties Released

GSS0966 is the first AttributeTM insect-protected sweet corn hybrid to offer growers substantial cost savings in integrated pest management by significantly reducing the need for chemical insecticides to control European corn borer, corn earworm, and fall armyworm.  GSS 0966 is a yellow supersweet (sh2) variety that has produced an eight-inch ear consistently filled to the tip with 16 to 18 rows of tender, sweet kernels.  Its handsome dark green husk and flags make an attractive crate display.  It is widely adapted and has shown resistance to common rust and tolerance to northern corn leaf blight and steward's wilt.  The insect-control protein found in Attribute insect protected hybrids is licensed from Monsanto Company under the YieldGardTM insect-protected corn trademark.  Seed of GSS0966 is only available through Novartis Seeds VIP dealers.  (Novartis)

Paladin (formerly RPP 3135-VP) is the first of a new line of RogersTM brand pepper hybrids with Phytophthora tolerance.  Maturing mid-season, this variety’s compact, vigorous plant has offered a continuous, semi-concentrated set of dark green, blocky to deep-blocky, extra-large fruit throughout the growing season.  Yield potential has been enhanced by its resistance to
tobacco mosaic virus, as well as tolerance to Phtophthora.  (Novartis)

Sentry is a large to extra-large hybrid bell pepper ideally suited to fall plantings in Florida - especially where BLS (races 1, 2, and 3) are a problem.  In about 73 to 77 days, this variety’s vigorous, erect plant delivers a continuous set of very blocky dark green fruit with firm walls.  Its disease package includes tolerance to stip, allowing it to be harvested for red markets.  Seed is available through Rogers’ VIP dealers.  (Novartis)
Return to index:
Water Quality 
in the Florida-Georgia Coastal Plain
Overall, water quality in the Florida-Georgia Coastal Plain is considered to be good for the most part.  However, the Coastal Plain waters have been adversely affected by agricultural and urban land uses in some areas, according to the results of a five-year investigation by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).  The study area encompasses a 62,000 square mile area in northern and central Florida and southern and central Georgia, and is one of 20 study areas nationwide which have recently been investigated for water quality as part of a comprehensive U.S. Geological Survey program.

Adverse effects the study found include:

A new 34-page color report summarizes the results of the study, which included three years of intensive sampling and data analysis as part of the USGS National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program.  Through the NAWQA program, the USGS provides policy makers and citizens with information about current conditions and trends in water quality and an assessment of the factors that affect water quality across the United States.

Copies of the report, “Water Quality in the Georgia-Florida Coastal Plain, Georgia and Florida, 1992-96,” published as USGS Circular 1151, are available free of charge from the:

USGS Branch of Information Services
Box 25286
Denver Federal Center
Denver, CO  80225

or by contacting the USGS Water Resources Division District Office in Tallahassee at (850)942-9500.  A copy of this report may be viewed on the World Wide Web at the follow the World Wide Web at the following url:

Return to index:

Earn CEUs with Core Tutorial

The University of Florida has just released new versions of the “Core2:  Pesticide Labeling,” and “Core6: Harmful Effects and Emergency response” computer-verified training tutorials.  These tutorials are authorized for two (2) CEUs in Core for Florida pesticide applicator recertification.  The new versions of the Core Tutorials greatly simplify the test printing process over the first versions, and allow individuals who pass the test to print a personalized diploma.

The tutorials explain the concepts of Chapters 2 (Pesticide Labeling) and 6 (Harmful Effects and Emergency Response) of the USDA/EPA “Applying Pesticides Correctly” manual.  Individuals can work at their own pace through the tutorials, leaving bookmarks when they need to attend to other jobs and then return later to complete more of the tutorials.  Individuals can take a 20-question, computer-verified test at any time.  Individuals must achieve an 80% passing score, but the test may be taken any number of times. While an individual can use a specific tutorial only once to obtain CEUs, the tutorials may be used to attain
CEUs by any number of individuals.

Each tutorial costs $35 (plus tax for Florida residents).  Call toll-free (800)226-1764 weekdays between 8-5 and use your MasterCard or VISA.  This 800 number is only for orders of $10 or more.  For information about UF/IFAS Educational resources, or your order, call (352)392-1764.

Additional information about these tutorials, including samples of the tutorials and other available software on pesticides and insects developed by the University of Florida, is on the UF Buggy Software WWW site at:

Return to index:

Help, I Need CEUs!!

Have you waited until the last minute?  Is your Restricted-Use Pesticide License about to run out? Do you have all of your C EUs?  If you don’t, shame on you.

Well, you are in luck if time is running short.  Listing of approved continuing education unit programs for pesticide applicators licensed by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is available on the World Wide Web.  The address is  This listing is updated at least once a week.

When searching for CEUs, remember that not all programs are approved for all CEU categories. You may need to call the agent responsible for the program to assure that CEUs are indeed being offered in your particular category.  Remember also that you need to have enough CEUs in each category that you hold on your license if you hold multiple categories.
Return to index:

Pesticides Registrations and Actions

            *  bis sulfon
            *  bromacil (Buctril
            *  diflubenzuron (Dimilin)
            *  MBT
            *  mepiquat chloride (Pix)
            *  metribuzin (Sencor/Lexone)
            *  paranitrophenol
            *  paraquat dichloride (Gramoxone)
            *  propoxur (Baygon)
            *  terbacil (Sinbar)
            *  IPBC, and
            *  vanicude.

      Written comments on these decisions must be submitted by June 29.

Return to index:


PACKING FACILITY -  A packing facility is available for rent at the Immokalee State Farmers’ Market.   Unit #10 is a 26,214 sq. ft. warehouse and includes 7,200 sq. ft. loft, 5,067 sq. ft. dock, 1,889 sq. ft. of offices and restrooms and 5,346 sq. ft. of canopy.  Any inquiries call Jerry Hubbart, Senior Market Manager, at 941-658-3505.

Production Guides for Tomatoes and Peppers - two economically important Florida crops—now are available from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.  Tomato Production Guide for Florida (SP214) and Pepper Production Guide for Florida (SP215) are comprehensive guides that cover all aspects of production.  Chapters in both guides cover varieties, fertilization, cultural practices, crop establishment, management of pest, nematode, insect, weed, and disease control and harvesting and handling are discussed by various crop specialists at the UF/IFAS.

Both guides are edited by Dr. George Hochmuth, professor of vegetable crop nutrition.  Each guide sells for $7., plus appropriate state sales tax and $3. shipping and handling.  Orders shipped to Florida addresses must include appropriate county sales tax (6%, 6.5%, 7%, or 7.5%).  Order the publication from UF/IFAS Publications, PO Box 110011, Gainesville, FL  32611-0011.
Checks should be made payable to the University of Florida.  For credit card orders call 1-800-226-1764.
Return to index:


David received a parrot for his birthday.  This parrot was fully-grown with a bad attitude and terrible vocabulary.  Every other word was an expletive. Those that weren’t expletives were, to say the least, rude.  David tried hard to change the bird’s attitude.  he was constantly saying polite words and playing soft music; he did anything he could think of.  Nothing Worked.

When he yelled at the bird, the bird got worse.  If he shook the bird, the bird got madder and ruder. Finally in a moment of desperation, David put the parrot in the freezer.  For a few moments he heard the bird squawking, kicking and screaming and then suddenly, there was quiet.

David was frightened that he might have actually hurt the bird and quickly opened the freezer door.  The parrot calmly stepped out onto David’s extended arm and said:  “I’m sorry that I might have offended you with my language and actions, so I ask for your forgiveness.  I will endeavor to correct my behavior.”

David was astounded at the bird’s change in attitude and was about to ask what had changed him...when the parrot continued:  “May I ask what the chicken did?”

Grist for the mill

**Work this out as you read.  **Don’t read the bottom until you have worked it out!!!  DON’T READ IT !!!!!

Follow these 6 steps and this will amaze you...
1.  First of all, pick the number of days a week that you would like to go out (or eat pizza, whatever).
2.  Multiply this number by 2
3.  Add 5
4.  Multiply it by 50
5.  If you have already had your birthday this year, add 1748.  If you haven’t add 1747.
6.  Last step:  Subtract the four digit year that you were born.


You should now have a three digit number: The first digit of this was your original number (i.e. how many times you want to go out each week). The second two digits are your age!!!  It really works.

This is the only year (1998) it will ever work, so spread the fun around by mailing this to everyone you know.

Return to index:                        Sponsors                               SWFLVegNews                                   Home