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 1999



September 7-10,1999     24th Annual Joint Tomato Conference and Florida Tomato Committee Meeting
                                        Ritz Carlton, Naples.
                                        Contact Charlie Vavrina for program information at 941-658-3400.
                                        For hotel information contact the Florida Tomato Committee at 407-894-3071.

September 14, 1999      Vegetable Meeting - Vegetable Insect Control with Confirm Insecticide
.                                       SW Florida Research and  Education Center/Immokalee - 6 p.m
                                        Contact:  Gene McAvoy or Sheila Griffith  at 863-674-4092

September 15, 1999      Best Management Practices for Agricultural Producers
                                        Burt McKee-United Agricultrual Products
                                        SW Florida Research and Education Center/Immokalee
                                        Two sessions will be offered at 11 a.m. or 6 p.m.
                                        Contact:  Gene McAvoy or Sheila Griffith at 863-674-4092

September 23-26,1999    57th Annual Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association Convention
                                        Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida
                                        Contact FFVA’s Marketing & Membership Division at 407-894-1351.

September 26-30, 1999   Silicon in Agriculture
                                        Lago Mar Resort and Club, Fort Lauderdale.
                                        Contact:  Lawrence Datnoff, 561-996-3062 Ext. 148

September 28-29, 1999   Florida Agricultural Conference and Trade Show (FACTS)
                                        Lakeland Center, Lakeland, Florida
                                        Contact Kathy Murphy, PO Box 2247, Goldenrod, FL  32733
                                        Phone 407-678-5337, fax 407-678-6494

October 22-26, 1999      Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit International Convention and Exposition
                                       Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA.
                                       Contact 302-738-7100

Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 1999    Florida State Horticultural Society Annual Meeting
                                      Indian River Plantation Marriott Resort, Stuart, FL.
                                      Contact Kathy Murphy at FSHS at 407-673-7595
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Note from Gene 
Gene McAvoy
Vegetable Extension Agent II
Hendry County Extension Office
PO Box 68
LaBelle, Florida, 33975

Vegetable farming has never been an easy proposition but in recent years it has become increasingly more difficult.  Modern growers face tremendous competition from foreign and domestic sources.  The arrival of  new pests and diseases from off shore seems to occur on a regular basis.  Pressure from environmental groups and others has created an adverse regulatory climate that threatens to deny growers access to many of the pest and disease control tools previously at their disposal. Survival in this dynamic environment has not been easy.

The number of vegetable growers in southwest Florida has fallen precipitously over the past decade to a point where the number of vegetable growers still in business in our area is now approximately the same as the number of Florida panthers estimated to be surviving in the wild. Unlike the panther however there has been little public sympathy for their plight and none of the multi-millions of government and private dollars that have allocated toward saving the big cat.

The Southwest Florida Vegetable Advisory Committee represents growers, suppliers, and IFAS personnel and is charged with providing guidance and direction for the research and extension in the five county area (Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, Lee).  A recent example of its efforts is the Pest and Disease Hotline.  The committee has been pondering this situation for the past year and seeking ways to alleviate the plight of area growers and help shift the competitive balance in their favor.  They recently heard from Reggie Brown, recently with the FFVA, who will soon be taking over the helm at the Florida Tomato Committee and Rick Roth, local Farm Bureau representative and vegetable grower from Belle Glade.

Both men advised the group that given the environment that currently exists, growers will have to band together to ensure their survival in the industry in much the same way that the citrus industry has done.  The strength and ultimately the future survival of not only the vegetable industry in southwest Florida but each and every vegetable grower depends on unity within the industry.

As a grower, Rick related a common frustration voiced by farmers, the frequent failure of research to address areas deemed to be of critical importance by the industry.  Reggie added that this frustration is heightened by the perception that public funds are often allocated by public agencies to perform research at government institutions that is not only often seemingly irrelevant but often seemingly aimed at justifying further government regulations on producers.

He went on to relate several instances throughout the state where growers came together to form groups to represent their own interests.  This allows growers to raise funds to target issues of concern and allocate monies to either public or private institutions for research that will either help growers solve problems or benefit them in some way.  Rick and Reggie spoke specifically about the establishment of the Everglades Lettuce Research Board, a grower organized and funded research body aimed at tackling problems faced by leafy vegetable growers in the Glades.

After much discussion and careful consideration of this issue,  the committee decided to explore the formation of a “SW Florida Vegetable Research Investment Fund.”  It is envisioned that the fund will be generated by a voluntary contribution from local growers of one dollar per crop acre (i.e., $2 per double cropped acre) to be placed in a Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association managed account.

The fund would be available as an emergency fund to tackle research priorities of importance to area growers, such as a practical economical production system to replace methyl bromide for instance or to address the next big pest or disease problem to face the area.  This will provide growers with a rapid and responsive mechanism to fund research of interest to them.  The beauty of this is that growers will hold the purse strings and will be free to choose from public or private researcher groups and hold researchers accountable for performance.

Shortly, one of your fellow growers will approach you to explore the level of support for the creation of a locally funded and administered “SW Florida Vegetable Research Investment Fund.”  You are strongly urged to consider this proposal favorably.   The strength and ultimately the future survival of not only the vegetable industry in southwest Florida but each and every vegetable grower depends on unity within the industry.

We hope you will see the benefit of the proposal and join in taking it to the next level.  So make your opinion known and thank you for your support.

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The Index Of Leading Environmental Indicators
The 1999 Index of Leading Environmental Indicators is a citizen’s guide on environmental quality in the U.S., which is demonstrating that contrary to popular belief, U. S. enviornmental quality is often improving, not worsening.  While individual problems should obviously be taken seriously, data from government sources show that technological innovation and economic growth throughout this century has led to continuous environmental improvement in many areas.  These improvements chronicicle what was termed the “wealth effect” of a growing economy on the environment.

As the U. S. economy grows, so does its ability to control pollution and protect its resources.  Economic growth also means improved technology and therefore, more efficient uses of raw materials and natural resources.  This growth, combined with a
growing consumer preference for a clean environment, has led to environmental improvements throughout the country.

Ironically, people today express a great deal of pessimism and anxiety about the environment.  Yet fears about environmental degradation in the U. S. can often be unfounded, as evidenced by the following Index facts:


Perception:  Toxic chemicals in/on our food and water supply pose a serious carcinogenic threat to humans.

Reality:  The release of toxic chemcials has declined by one-third since 1988, and the cancer risk they pose is minimal.  While 40% of news stories about cancer name man-made environmental factors as a primary cause, only 2% of all cancer cases are caused by man-made emvironmental factors.  A total of 75% of all cancers are caused by lifestyle factors such as diet, tobacco, and alcohol.


Perception:  Pollution is causing water quality to deteriorate and poses threats to human health.

Reality:  Water quality, although difficult to measure, is clean and is improving.  Consider the following: Industrial pollution is dropping.  “Point source” or industrial pollution has decreased over the last decade.  Discharges of toxic organics have declined by 99% and discharges of toxic metals by 98%.  The majority of U. S. waters are clean.  The EPA reports that less than 1% of U. S. rivers and streams, and less than 1% of U. S. lakes, meet their “not attainable” criterion that signifies poor water quality.


Perception:  We are destroying our natural resources faster than they can be replenished.

Reality:  Natural resources are not being depleted, and are in fact making a comeback.  Consider the following:  Forests are not disappearing.  Forests today cover nearly 30% of this country’s total land area.  Each year the U. S. plants more trees than it harvests.  Since 1950, the net growth of trees has exceeded net harvest of trees every year.  At least 2/3 of all U. S. deforestation occurred between 1850 and 1910.  In 1995, the U. S. planted 2.4 million acres of trees, up 1 million acres from 1970.

Wetlands conversion continues to decrease dramatically.  For every 60 acres of wetlands converted to cropland annually from 1954 to 1974, only 3 acres were converted annually from 1982 to 1992.  Since 1980, the U. S. has experienced no net loss of wetlands.


Perception:  Air quality is worsening due to a rise in pollution levels and poses serious threats to human health.

Reality:  Ambient air pollution levels have been decreasing steadily since the 1970s.  The air in most metropolitan areas is also improving.  the EPA’s “Pollutant Standards Index” (PSI), a composite measure of six crieteria pollutants, is the tool local meteorologists use to give warnings about “unhealthful” air quality.  Between 1988  and 1997, the total number of days with “unhealthful” PSI values decreased 66% across major U. S. cities.  Even in Southern California, known for its smog problems, unhealthy PSI values dropped 56%.  Also, reductions of lead have brought health benefits to U. S. children.  Due largely
to the introduction of unleaded gasolinge, the 97% reduction of lead in our air has generated a huge improvement in blood-lead levels, especially in children.  Between the periods of 1976-1980 and 1988-1991, the average blood levels in children between the ages of 1 and 5 dropped 76%, and children 6 to 19 experienced an 83% reduction.


The 1999 Index suggests that pessimism about our environmental future may be largely unfounded.

Chemically Speaking, June 1999
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The associate assistant EPA administrator, James Adiala told a U. S. House Agriculture subcommittee hearing there is no need for Congress to soften the Food Quality Protection act by calling for more study before a pesticide is suspended from use.  He said, “At this time, we see no need for amendments.  One of our principles was amassing enough information for a wise decision.”  Adiala and an Agriculture Department counterpart told the panel that reassessment of tolerance levels for residues in food of organophosphates should be compledted next year.

Conversely, Representative Ray LaHood (Illinois) was quoted as saying that, “People are scared to death out there,” referring to fears that organophosphates and other agricultural pesticides might be barred from use without alternatives being available.  Washington State’s Representative Richard Hastings warned  higher cost, less-effective chemicals would reduce U. S. competativeness while “imports of food grown with pesticides banned in this country will increase.”

Currently, there are several pieces of legistlation before Congress that if approved, would direct EPA to use sound science, actual data, and public input before suspending the use of a pesticide while implementing FQPA.  They also direct the Agency to consider the overall public interest when implementing FQPA, and to establish a program to measure the international
competitive strength of U. S. agriculture.  Many in Congress believe the EPA has implemented the legislation “very differently from what (they) intended.”

For further information, look on the Internet at

AVG; May 1999   Food Reg. Weekly;  May 17, 1999  Reuters; April 22, 1999

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Spray Tips

The Worker Protection Standard requires that all sprayer fill stations have a paved base which acts as a spill containment area to prevent spray rinsate and overflow from leaching into the ground. True or False?

Answer:  FALSE

Regulations covering the management of excess pesticides and rinsate, mixing/loading and spill procedures are found in Section 19 of FIFRA (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act).  However, our latest research shows that these are still in the formative stage and presently limit the applicators to preventing the contamination of the ground, groundwaters, lakes and streams by pesticide rinsates spilling on the ground during mixing/loading and application operations.

Some labels as well as some states have verbage indicating this.  (Florida 487.031.1 (11) ) but as of yet there is no specific requirement as to the actual containment facility.  Some growers have built concrete pads with small sumps that will collect any rinsate that overflows from the spray tank.  Others have adopted portable containment ‘basins” that look like extra large ‘kiddie pools”.  As long as you can assure that the spill will not leach into the ground, you are safe for the time being, but please make an effort to prevent this leaching.

Symptoms of pesticide poisoning are quite similar to the symptoms of heat stress. True or False?


Exposure to pesticides and heat stress share these common symptoms:  Tiredness or dizziness. Headaches or blurred vision.  Excessive sweating.  Chest pains or trouble breathing.  Nausea, stomach cramps or diarrhea.  Skin rashes and eye irritation are more typical of contact with pesticides, (especially from herbicides, fungicides and EC’s - Emulsifiable Concentrates).

In warm weather and especially in closed areas such as greenhouses and shadehouses, heat stress is more probable than pesticide poisoning.

Note: Pesticide poisoning generally causes excessive activity of the mucous membranes a symptom not exhibited in heat strke victims.

In any event, if the worker does not feel well, if something is not right, get him/her out of the work area, into the shade or cool area and if symptoms persist, get medical help.  (don’t forget to take a copy of the label to the first aid provider.
Spray Tips Subscriptions

Find the complete library of articles published by “Sprayer Technology News Magazine”:

If you wish to subscribe to Spray Tips at no charge e-mail to the following address:

Spray Tips 6/19/99
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Dow AgroSciences has announced federal registration of SpinTor on potato and sweet corn.  State registration should be completed soon.  SpinTor contains the active ingredient spinosad.  Target pests are caterpillars and Colorado potato beetle.  Other crops already registered for SpinTor since April 1998 are cole crops, fruiting veg crops (tomato, pepper, etc), and leafy vegetables.

VegNet #13-99

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Recognition and Management of Pesticide Poisonings, 1999 - J. Routt Reigart, M.D. and James R. Roberts, M.D., M.P.H.

Information for health professionals treating acute pesticide poisonings.  Covers toxicology, symptoms of poisoning, treatment, and chemical structure of insecticides, herbicides and other pesticides.  Includes guidelines for determining exposure history and dosage for antidotes, plus tables on screening questions, interview guidelines, steps in investigating a disease outbreak and more.  236 pp. Free.

Contact:      Certificaton and Worker Protection Branch, Field and External Affairs Division, Office of Pesticide Programs,
                   U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
                   401 M Street SW (7506C)
                   Washington, DC  20460
                   Phone (703)305-7666; (703)308-2962.

Electronic copies available at

Pesticide Safety:  A Reference Manual for Private Applicators, 1998 - Patrick J. O’Conner-Marer.

Outlines safety procedures for pesticide application.  Includes questionnaires to determine farm profile and needs.  Discusses pesticide labels, mixing and application, ways to recognize and reduce pesticide hazards, and procedures for coping with pesticide emergencies.  120 pp.  US $7.

Contact:       University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources- Publications
                    6701 San Pablo Ave.
                    Oakland, CA 94608-1239
                    Phone (800)994-8849 or (510)645-2431; fax (510)643-5470
                    e-mail  Request publication 3383.

A guide to Heat stress in Agriculture, 1993 - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Provides guidelines for pesticide applicators and agricultural employers to protect workers from heat illness.  Emphasizes special precautions necessary for agricultural pilots, pesticide handlers and “early entry” workers who are required to wear protective gear.  Includes some first aid information.  44 pp. Free.  Refer to Document #055-000-00474-9.

Contact:       Occupational Safety Branch (7506C)
                    Office of Pesticide Programs,
                    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
                    401 M Street SW
                    Washington, DC 20460
                    Phone (703)305-7666.

Controlling Heat Stress Made Simple/Maneras Sencillas de Controlar la Fatiga Causada por el Calor, 1995 - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Poster.  English/Spanish.  Covers basic steps for controlling heat stress; symptoms of and treatment for heat illnesses; and symptom comparison between heat exhaustion and organophosphate/carbamate poisoning.  US $1.25. Laminated pocket cards summaring heat stress precautions also available.  US $3.25 for 25 English cards, US $4.75 for 25 Spanish cards.
Refer to document #055-000-00544-3 for poster, #055-000-00557-5 for English cards, #055-000-558-3 for Spanish Cards.

Contact:       U. S. Government Printing Office
                    Superintendent of Documents
                    Washington, DC 20402
                    Phone (202)512-1800.

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New Label for Gramoxone
Fallow Land :  Prior to planting of any crops.  Preplant Broadcast to Fallow Land - 1.3 - 2.7 Pints, Ground - 10 gallons,
Air -  5 gallons.

Fallow land may be between operations such as disking, ripping, plowing, leveling, irrigating or listing for ground preparation purposes.

Use for the control of weeds such as bluegrass, chickweed, henbit downy brome ryegrass, cheatgrass, dog-fennel, tansy mustard, London rocket, sowthistle, rescue borme, wild oats, volunteer cereals and other winter annuals and for suppression of perennial weeds or sedges.

Use the higher rate for weeds approaching the maximum size of 6”.

Do not make more than two applications during the fallow period.

Allow maximum weed emergence prior to applicaton to maximize the benefit of this use.

Adhere to the preharvest intervals and other crop specific restrictions for planted crops as specified on the container label.

Farmers Supply Inc., Immokalee

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On Being Human

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, design a building, write a sonnet, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, solve equations, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, and die galantly.

Specializaton is for insects.

Robert A. Heinlein

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FACTS 99 Program 
Vegetable Sessions 
Learning Zone

Tuesday morning, September 28

Session Title: Cultural Approaches to Stimulation of Plant Growth and Pest Management
Session Coordinators/Moderators: Charlie Vavrina and Ken Pernezny

9:00 AM       Cultural Methods of Managing Pest Populations in Vegetables - Dr. Phil Stansly,
                       University of Florida, Southwest Florida Research Education Center, Immokalee
9:30 AM       Cultural Methods for Management of Nematodes in Florida - Dr. Bob McSorley,
                       Department of Entomology and Nematology, University of Florida, Gainesville
10:00 AM      Integrating Non-chemical Methods to Enhance Weed Management - Dr. Bill Stall,
                       Department of Horticultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville
10:30 AM      Biological, Chemical and Environmental Stimulation of Plant Growth of Vegetables in Florida
                       Dr. Charles Vavrina, University of Florida, Southwest Florida Research and Education Center, Immokalee
11:00 AM      Discussion
11:30 AM      Adjourn

Tuesday afternoon, September 28

Session Title:  Methyl Bromide Alternatives in the New Millennium
Session Coordinator/Moderator: Jim Gilreath

1 :00 PM       Introduction and Overview - Jim Gilreath, Weed Scientist & Horticulturist, UF/Gulf Coast
                      Research & Education Center, Bradenton.
1:10  PM      Historical Perspectives on Soil Fumigation - Amegda J. Overman, Professor Emeritus & Nematologist
                       UF/Gulf Coast Research & Education Center, Bradenton.
1:30  PM      The Politics of Methyl Bromide and Applicator Safety Concerns with Alternatives - Joe Noling
                       Nematologist, UF, Citrus Research & Education Center, Lake Alfred.
1:50 PM       Results of Research in Tomato and Pepper and Double Cropped Cucurbits, Weed Control
                       Considerations with Alternatives@ -  Jim Gilreath, Weed Scientist & Horticulturist, UF/Gulf Coast
                       Research & Education Center, Bradenton.
2:10 PM       Results of Research in Strawberry with Fumigant Alternatives - Sal Locascio, Horticulturist
                       UF/Horticultural Sciences Department, Gainesville.
2:30 PM       Soil Solarization - Where Might  It Fit, Where Will It Not - Carlene Chase, Horticulturist,
                       UF/ Horticultural Sciences Department, Gainesville.
2:50 PM       The Importance of Fumigant Depth of Placement and Nematode Movement in the Soil
                       Don Dickson, Nematologist, UF/Department of Entomology & Nematology, Gainesville.
3:10 PM       Grower Panel to Discuss Experiences with Telone C-17 and Herbicides from a Real World
                       Perspective - A Question and Answer Session with Audience Participation.
                       Galen Mooso, Deseret Farms, RuskinJoe Mobley, Artesian Farms, Ruskin Wes Roan, 6 L's Farm, Naples
                       Marvin Brown, BBB Produce, Plant City.
3:30 PM       Adjourn

Wednesday morning, September 29

Session Title: AVegetables: Fresh and Safe from Florida
Session Coordinator/Moderator: Steve Sargent

9:00 AM       Introduction - Steven Sargent, Extension Postharvest Specialist, Horticultural Sciences Department,
                      University of Florida, Gainesville
9:05 AM       Recent Outbreaks of Foodborne Illnesses from Fresh Produce - Roberta Hammond, Biological
                      Administrator, Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Environmental Epidemiology, Tallahassee
9:35 AM       Minimizing Microbial Food Safety Hazards - Jerry Bartz, Associate Professor, Plant Pathology Department
                      University of Florida, Gainesville
10:05 AM      Food Safety in the Marketplace -, Reggie Brown, Director, Marketing and Membership Division,
                      Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, Orlando
10:20 AM      Implementing a Food Safety Program - Sue Harrell, District Manager, Driscoll's of Florida, Inc., Dover
10:35 AM      Panel Discussion - Question and Answer
11:00 AM      Adjourn

Educational sessions offer CEUs for Pesticide Applicators and CCAs.

The Learning Zone - This year the Learning Zone has been expanded to more than 10 zones to offer even more opportunities for testing your knowledge while having fun AND earning CEUs.

The Water Management/Water Quality zone will emphasize groundwater and surface water contamination using soil profile models to demonstrate how contamination occurs.  Learn what BMPs can be implemented to minimize or prevent problems.

Four separate zones will provide growers with a chance to identify various insect and disease pests that attack citrus and vegetable crops.

In two zones, growers will be able to test their ability to differentiate between nutritional, physiological and herbicide disorders of citrus and vegetable crops.  Diagnose various post harvest disorders on fruits and vegetables with a hands-on approach to controlling these problems before they happen.

Observe nematode specimens and learn to identify damage to crops, plus learn what control or management strategies are available and how they are properly used and why.

Live weed specimens at different growth stages from seedling to mature will be available for growers to test their ability to identify common weeds found in citrus and vegetable production.

Growers will also learn how to access various knowledge bases on CD and on the Internet, such as the Whitefly knowledge base, Citrus CD, Production Guides, etc.,  in order to answer specific questions related to citrus and vegetable production.

For each zone successfully completed, participants can earn 0.5 CEUs for renewing Pesticide or CCA Licenses.

The Learning Zone Topics
Water Management/Water Quality
Citrus Insects
Citrus Diseases
Vegetable Insects
Vegetable Diseases
Nutritional/Physiological/Herbicide Disorders
Postharvest Disorders
Weed ID
Computer Applications

Credits for CCA and CEU will be offered at each zone
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Corn and Potato 
Registrations Granted 
Dow AgroSciences has received Section 3 supplement labeling for SpinTor 2SC Naturalyte (Spinosad, marketed as “Success” in the west) insecticide on sweet corn and tuberous and corm vegetables, such as potatoes, sweetpotatoes, yams, and artichokes.  The chemical received expedited review by EPA for registration under the reduced Risk Pesticide Program.  At presstime, registration for Success in California was pending.

Spinosad works through contact, ingestion, and as an ovicid.  It is effective on a range of pest, including Colorado potato beetle, European corn borer, corn earworm, armyworms, and loopers.  Its mode of action is not cross-resistant with existing insecticides, making it useful in manageing resistance.

Dow AgroSciences received the 1999 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge award for Spinosad.  The award recognizes technologies that incorporate the principals of green chemistry into chemical design, manufacture, and use.
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Confirm for Use on Vegetables
Rohm and Haas has received EPA registrations for the use of Confirm (tebufenozide) insecticide on leafy vegetables, cole crops, and fruiting vegetables for the control of many lepidopterous pests.

The new registration encompass all leafy vegetables, such as lettuce, celery, and spinach; all cole crops, such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and brussels sprouts; and fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant.

Registrations for these crop uses in California, Arizona and Florida are pending, in the meantime, Section 18s permit confirm’s use in California and Arizona.

Confirm targets larvae by initiating a fatal, premature molt.  larvae controlled with Confirm include cabbage looper, imported cabbage worm, beet armyworm, and other armyworms, alfalfa looper, black cutworm, European corn borer, tobacco hornworm, and tomato hornworm.  The insecticide is not harmful to beneficial insects or other arthropods, and does not damage honeybees.  it is only active against lepidoptera.

EPA has classified Confirm as a reduced-risk pesticide.  In 1998, Rohm and Haas received a Green Chemistry Challenge Award from the EPA for the development of Confirm and related insecticides with low environmental impact.

Vegetable Grower
August 1999

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Ritz Carlton, Naples 
Steptember 8, 1999 
9:00 a.m.   Opening remarks - Dr. Mike Martin, VP, IFAS

9:10 a.m.    TYLCV Incidence in West Central Florida Tomatoes in 1998/99 - Jane Polston, Virologist -
                  GCREC, Bradenton

9:30 a.m.    Applying Insect Growth Regulators on Demand for Managing the Silverleaf Whitefly and Irregular
                  Ripening - David Schuster, Entomologist, GCREC, Bradenton

9:50  a.m.   Telone C-17 Application Broadcast vs. In Bed as a Means of Mitigating the PPE and other Issues
                  Jim Gilreath Weed Scientist, GCREC, Bradenton

10:10 a.m.  Methyl Bromide issues, Formulations, Availability, and Alternative Practicies - Joe Noling,
                  Nematolgist, CREC, Lake Alfred

10:30 a.m.   Cover Crops, Bio-mass, and Nitrogen Accumulation; Weed and Nematode Control;
                   Tomato Yield and Fruit Quality Responses - Herb Bryan, Horticulturist, TREC, Homestead

10:50 a.m.   FQPA - Dan Botts, Environmental & Pest Management Division, FFVA
11:10 a.m.   Food Safety Issues:  The Industry Perspective - Wes Roan, Six-L’s Farms, Naples

11:30-1:00  Lunch

1:00 p.m.    Industry Updates - Industry Representatives

1:30 p.m.    IPM Adoption Evaluated:  A Strong Foundaton for a Safe, Profitable Tomato Crop - Galen Frantz,
                   Glades Crop Care, West Palm Beach

1:50 p.m.   Impact and Management of TYLCV in Southwest Florida - Phil Stansly, Entomologist SWFREC, Immokalee

2:10 p.m.   Phytophthora capsici on Tomato:  Survival, Severity, Age, and Variety - Pamela Roberts, Plant Pathologist
                  SWFREC, Immokalee

2:30 p.m.    Tomato Little Leaf Revisited - Steve Olson, Horticulturist, NFREC Quincy

2:50 p.m.    The Critical Period of Nutsedge Interference in Tomato - Bill Stall, Weed Specialist, Hort. Science Dept.,

3:10 p.m.    Farmworker Income - Fritz Roka, Economist, SWFREC, Immokalee

3:30 p.m.    NAFTA, FTAA, Agenda 2000 and GATT - International Trade and Competitiveness Issues for
                   Florida tomato growers - John VanSickle, Economists, Food and Resource Economics Dept., Gainesville

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Why It’s Great to Be A Guy! 

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News for Pesticide Applicators
Attention Pesticide Applicators!!!!  This is information to update you on laws, rules, and practices
that may affect your pesticide operations.

Pesticide Recordkeeping:

Reminder:  Licensed pesticide applicators are required by USDA and FDACS regulations to keep records of all restricted use pesticide applications.  You may develop your own form as long as the required information is kept.  The information may be kept using computer software.

Rule Changes Affecting Private Applicators

Beginning January 1, 2000, private applicators renewing by CEUs (continuing education units) must earn at least 2 CEUs approved for Core (general standards) credit and at least 4 CEUs approved for one of the agricultural categories.  The remainig 2 CEUs must be approved for either Core or one of the agricultural categories.  Total:  8 CEUs.

The Following categories are considered agricultural categories:  Private Applicator Agriculture, Agricultural Animal, Agricultural Row Crop, Agricultural Tree Crop, Aquatic, Forestry, Ornamental & Turf, Raw Agricultrual Commodity Fumigation, Seed Treatment, Soil & Greenhouse Fumigation, and Wood Treatment.

If you have questions, call the Pesticide Certification Office at:  850-488-3314
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Managing Stress in 
Vegetable Crops
No, we’re not talking about how to deal with Y2K problems, a volatile stock market or even the uncertainty of farming in the new millennium.  We’re talking about plant stress in vegetable crops, more specifically stress triggered by salts and hot weather.  This time last year - May 1998 -  we were dealing with too much water and (among other things) salt problems associated with solubilization of excess fertilizer salts in the bed.  Here we are, a year later, and we’re still dealing with salt problems, but for a slightly different reason - not too much water, but too little!

With almost perfect growing weather from a disease standpoint, most area crops  have flourished, with excellent fruit set.  There have been instances in a number of fields around the state, however, where salts have been a problem, both in non-mulched crops such as beans, and in mulched crops such as tomatoes and watermelons.

Plants vary in their sensitivity or tolerance to soluble salts in the soil solution.  Crops which are the most sensitive include beans, carrots, strawberries and onions (threshold EC values around 1.0 dS/m).  Moderately sensitive crops include pepper, corn, potatoes, cabbage, cucumber, and tomato (threshold EC 1.2-3.2).  Moderately tolerant plants include beets and zucchini squash (threshold EC 4.0-4.7).  (Knott’s Handbook for Vegetable Growers, 4th edition).

Usually it is not the salts themselves that are toxic, but the reduction in water uptake.  As the soluble salt concentration in the soil increases, plants have a harder time extracting water from the soil solution.  Variables such as plant age, soil type and environmental conditions also affect salt sensitivity; thus, soluble salts  become more critical under the hot, dry and windy conditions we have seen this past spring.

Excess salts in irrigation water can contribute to the total salt problem, especially wells in coastal areas, or very deep wells which can be affected by saltwater intrusion under unusually dry conditions.  Where poor quality irrigation water is used or where there is a field history of salt problems, low-salt index fertilizers are less likely to aggravate the problem.

Fertilizer rate and placement can affect soluble salt problems which are then magnified under drought conditions.  Following recommended fertilizer guidelines and paying careful attention to placement can minimize problems.

In the absence of rainfall to either dilute or leach fertilizer salts down past the root system,  what can be done?  Typically, soluble salts are less of a problem with drip irrigation systems  because lower amounts of in-bed fertilizer are used due to the ability to fertigate.  In addition, with drip irrigation the movement of soluble salt laden water is down and away from the plant.

In seep or subsurface systems, the movement of water is upward, towards the highest point of the bed which is typically the plant hole.  As water is evaporated from the soil surface around the plant, salts become more concentrated around the plant root system.  For this reason, lowering the water table by pulling deeper ditches can be a doubledged sword.  While some salts may move with the water as it drops lower in the bed or below, the salts that are left will concentrate as the soil dries.

Conversely, raising the water table may also defeat the purpose as additional fertilizer salts will be solubilized.  A related problem that is often associated with high soluble salt levels is blossom end rot.

Blossom end rot occur when there is a lack of calcium in fruit tissue.  Because calcium moves with water in the transpiration stream, anything which stresses roots and impedes water uptake will also limit calcium uptake, including too much water, too little water or high soluble salts.

Another problem we’ve seen on tomatoes in West Central Florida this past season which is also related to the weather is a phenomenon termed physiological leaf roll.  Under conditions which maximize photosynthesis (i.e. warm, very sunny days), excess carbohydrates build up in leaf tissue and cause the plants to become somewhat leathery, and leaves roll upward.

Although normally seen on older, lower leaves, in a few cases leaf roll has been severe with the entire plant affected.  This condition can be exacerbated by excess fertilizer, high N rates and also seems to be worse in plants that have undergone heavy pruning.  Usually, it does not cause too much problem with yield and quality.  One exception might be some sunburning of
exposed fruit on severely affected plants.

Hot, dry seasons like this one past which can show just how efficient or inefficient your irrigation system is!  An easy, inexpensive way to check your system before it becomes critical is to sign up for the NRCS Mobile Irrigation Lab (MIL).  Following on-site evaluations of irrigation systems, MIL technicians work with owners or operators to develop irrigation water management plans tailored to their individual needs.  To find out if this free service is available in your area or to sign up, contact your local NRCS office.

P Gilreath, Vegetarian 5/99
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USDA Research Melons Need Calcium to Improve Market Life
Just as people need calcium for strong bones, aging melons need calcium to maintain a degree of firmness that protects against spoilage.  But in ripe melons, calcium steadily migrates from the rind to the seeds, depleting the rind of calcium needed for maintaining cellular functions.

Scientists at the Agriculutrual Research Service (ARS) Subtropical Agricultural Research Center in Weslaco, TX, and at the Children’s Nutrition Research Center in Houston, TX, have developed a way to extend the market life of melons.  The melons soak in a post-harvest calcium solution.

The dunking could allow growers to provide sweet and tasty, vine-ripended melons in greater quantities and to more distant markets.  In laboratory and preliminary field tests, the treatment prolonged market life by at least two weeks.  It also increased calcium levels in the melons, especially honeydews.

Vegetable Digest  August 1999
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Cleaning Up Whiteflies with
Soap and Oil
An explosion of silverleaf whitefly, first seen on poinsettias in west-central Florida, soon became the major pest of tomato and other fruiting vegetables throughout the state. Crops were covered by sooty mold from the insect’s sugary excretions, and new disorders appeared, such as irregular ripening of tomato and silver leaf of squash (source of the name silverleaf whitefly).

The worst was yet to come with plant virus diseases such as tomato mottle virus and the even moredevastating tomato yellow leaf curl virus.  To save their crops, growers were obliged to intensify spray programs with increased applicatons of more powerful insecticide mixtures, resulting in commensurateincreases in production costs and possible risk to users, consumers, and the environment.

In unsprayed weeds and isolated organic vegetables, however, predators and parasitic wasps were seen to control whiteflies to low levels.

Biorational Insecticides an Alternative?

Universtiy of Florida scientists, led by Phil Stansly, Dave Schuster and T. X. Liu, addressed the following questions:  How could biological control be integrated into conventional management systems?  And, if biorational insecticide such as oils and soaps compatible with beneficial insects were used, how effective and compatible would they be?

Spray oil and insecticidal soap were tested in the laboratory and greenhouse against all whitefly stages, with the following findings:

Tests Proved Detergent, Oil Effective

 We then tested detergent and oil in the field with the following results:

Negative Impact on Some Beneficial Insects

It remained to test soaps and detergents on natural enemies of whiteflies such as ladybird beetles, lacewings, and predaceous wasps.  The following results were obtained:

Insect growth regulators were tested with similar results:  negative effects occurred to some stages of some beneficial insects.  It would appear that no insecticide is totally biorational.  Beneficial populations always pay some price no matter what is sprayed.

On the other hand, impact on beneficial insects biorationals is considerably less than from broad-spectrum insecticides that kill all insects indiscriinately.

In Florida, Shift in Insecticides

Although insecticide costs have not decreased, the types of insecticides used with Florida vegetables has changed to those more compatible with biological control.  For instance, an average of 6.8 pounds per acre active ingredient of the two most frequently used insecticides (endodulfan and chlorpyrifos) was applied in 1994.

In 1996, 2.3 pounds per acre of these insecticides was applied, a decrease of 300%.During the same period, use of the biological insecticide Bacilus thuringiensis, which only affects caterpillars, has increased 91% (from 46% to 88% of tomato acreage).

Decreased use of broad-spectrum insecticides on vegetables in southwest Florida appears to be even more dramatic:  an on-farm chemical supply distributor in Immokalee indicated a 1,700% decrease in insecticide sales.  The change was due in part to improved whitefly control, but also to changed attitudesabout insecticide use.  The owner of this particular business said, “Growers that sprayed all the time are no longer with us, whereas those that adapted an integrated pest management approach survived.”

Use of the systemic insecticide imidacloprid since 1995 and clean fallow periods have largely eliminated the need to spray chemical insecticides on tomatoes for whitefly control in southwest Florida.  It would seem that, although soaps, oils, or even hard chemicals are no longer needed to control whiteflies in the Florida system, the lessons learned in the struggle with that pest have aided in the development of moresophisticated biorational pest management systems for vegetables.
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The Silicon Mystery 
What will be the future role of this element that acts like fertilizer and fungicide?   Even though Florida growers have been using silicon for years to increase rice and sugar cane yields, an international conference scheduled for Sept. 26-30 in Fort Lauderdale may prove that this chemical element can boost yields and control disease in a variety of crops ranging from citrus and strawberries to tomatoes and cucurbits.

The conference has been organized through the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Everglades Research and Education Center in Belle Glade.  Organizer Dr. Lawrence E. Datnoff said he has been impressed by silicon’s effectiveness.  “For me, as a plant pathologist, to see what silicon does for disease control is just phenomenal,” he
said.  “It doesn’t just control one disease, it controls several diseases.  You can better manage your fungicides, you can reduce the number of rates of applications - or maybe even eliminate them altogether.

Datnoff said scientific literature indicates that silicon can benefit crops including beans, citrus, cucumbers, grapes, strawberries, soybeans, tomato, and watermelon.  In Canada, researchers have seen excellent control of both root and foliar diseases in greenhouse cucumber production.  “If you look at the literature, this effect seems to occur across a lot of crops,” Datnoff said.
 Silicon is primarily used on sugar cane and rice, and it’s applied like a fertilizer and disced into the soil.  in Canada, it is used in the form of potassium silicate to grow cucumbers in a hydroponic system.

Japanese growers have used silicon in rice for many years because they found it promotes better yields, as well as helps control diseases.  It has been found that rice plant with partial disease resistance, when grown in soil amended with silicon, can achieve almost the same level as a cultivar which has complete genetic resistance to the same disease, Datnoff explained.

“Silicon has profound effects on diseases in rice,” said plant breeder Dr. Christopher W. Deren, an EREC scientist.  “At the same time,, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about what silicon really does.”  Dispite considerable research, it is still unknown how silicon affects plant physiology to provide disese resistance.

Researchers are trying to determine the mechanism of resistance involved in silicon, which is considered an anomaly by many plant scientist.  “This element has always befuddled people because plant nutritionists have never considered it essential,” Datnoff commented.

Some of the first work with Florida sugar cane was done in the 1970s by Dr. Gary Gascho, a researcher at EREC.  Now working at the University of Georgia Agricultural Experiment Station in Tifton, GA, he will speak at the conference on silicon sources for agriculture.

Dr. George Snyder, EREC soil scientist, has been studying the effect of silicon on rice production.  When Datnoff came to the center about 11 years ago, he was impressed with work Snyder had done showing its potential for disease control.  They were unable to get funding at the local or national level for further research on silicon, so they looked outside the U.S., and eventually worked with the Centro International Agricultura Tropical in Colombia, where growers had problems with rice blast in subtropical conditions.  Similar studies involving silicon are also under way in Brazil and Venezuela.  Funding came through for the Colombia study, and the efforts will provide benefits locally and worldwide, Datnoff said.

Datmoff said some of the research has focused on differences in the severity of brown spot, a common rice disease, in various varieties and its relationship to the ability of plants to accumulate silicon.  Protection against disease seems to correlate with ability of a plant to accumulate the element.  Plants are able to accumulate silicon dry matter at different rates, Datnoff explained.  Rice, a wetland grass, accumulates the highest percentage of the element.  Dry-land gramineous plants such as sugar cane and various grain and cereal crops accumulate silicon, but not nearly as well as rice.  Dicotyledons, such as legumes, accumulate at lower rates.

Florida Grower August 1999
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Pesticide Applicator's Phone List
CHEMTREC (for pesticide spills) 


County Agricultural Extension Offices

Belle Glade/Palm Beach 


Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) 

Pesticide Licensing Office 
Compliance Office 

Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Solid and Hazardous Wastes 
Waste Clean-up 
South West Florida Sub-District 

Environmental Protection Agency
Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission 
West Palm Beach Regional Office
Local Fire Department 
Local Police Department 
Local Hospital Emergency Room
Local Poison Control 
Florida Poison Control Center
National Pesticide Telecomm Network 
Sara Title III State Emergency Response  (for pesticide spills) 
Keep This Phone List by Your  Telephone 
Please be advised these numbers are current as of July 1999. 
Phone numbers are subject to change. 

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On The Lighter Side
An elderly man lay dying in his bed.  In death’s agony, he suddenly smelled the aroma of his favorite chocolate chip cookies wafting up the stairs.

He gathered his remainng strength, and lifted himself from the bed.  leaning against the wall, he slowly made his way out of the bedroom, and with even greater effort forced himself down the stairs, gripping the railing with both hands.  with labored breath, he leaned against the door-frame, gazing into the kitchen.  Were it not for death’s agony, he would have thought himself already in heaven;  there, spread out upon newspapers on the kitchen table were literally hundreds of his favorite chocolate chip cookies.

Was it eaven?  Or was it one final act of heroic love from his devoted wife, seeing to it that he left this world a happy man?

Mustering one great final effort, he threw himself toward the table, landing on his knees in a rumpled posture, his parched lips parted; the wondrous taste of the cookie was already in his mouth; seemingly bringing him back to life.  The aged and withered hand, shakingly made its way to a cookie at the edge of the table, when it was suddenly smacked with a spatula by his wife.

Stay out of those,” she said, “they’re for the funeral.”
Remember When....
An APPLICATION was for employment.
A PROGRAM  was a TV show.
A CURSOR used profanity and a KEYBOARD was on a piano....
MEMORY was something that you lost with age.
A CD was a bank account.
COMPRESS was something that you did with the garbage.
And if you UNZIPPED anything in public you would be in jail for a while....
LOG ON was adding wood to the fire.
HARD DRIVE was a long trip on the road.
A MOUSE PAD was where a mouse lived.
And a BACKUP happened to your commode.....
CUT you did with a pocket knife.
PASTE you did with glue.
A WEB was a spider’s home and a VIRUS was the flu.....
A COMPUTER was something on tv from a science fiction show.
A WINDOW was something you hated to clean and RAM was a male goat ...
MEG was the name of your girlfriend and GIG was your middle finger upright.
Now they all mean different things ...and that really MEGA BYTES.

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