Cooperative Extension Service 

  Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

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

Southwest Florida Vegetable Newsletter

May/June  2000



June 28-30, 2000                  Florida Seed Association 68th Annual Convention & Seed Seminar
Key Largo, Florida
Contact 850-594-4721

July 19-21, 2000                  Florida Fertilizer and Agrichemical Association Summer Business Meeting
Amelia Island, Florida
Contact 863-293-4827

July 23-25, 2000                  Florida State Horticultural Society Annual Meeting
Lake Buena Vista, Florida
Contact 407-673-7995 or

September 6-8, 2000          25th Annual Joint Tomato Conference and Tomato Committee Meeting
Ritz Carlton, Naples, Florida
Contact Charlie Vavrina for program information @ 941-658-3400

September 20-22, 2000      Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association Annual Meeting
Naples, Florida
Contact 407-894-1351

September 23-27, 2000     National Agricultural Plastics Congress
and International Congress for Plastics in Agriculture
Hershey Lodge & Convention Center, Hershey, Pennsylvania

September 26-27, 2000    Florida Agricultural Conference and Trade Show (FACTS)
Lakeland, Florida
Contact 850-995-1368 or 407-678-5337.

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Note from Gene

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

Hope this note finds you all well and that you are getting some well deserved rest after a particularly difficult year for most growers.  While a few crops saw decent prices, for most the market remained in the dumper for most of the year,  making this past year one that many would rather not remember.

In a recent growers poll,  soliciting ideas for areas of critical research, a large number of local growers indicated markets and marketing.  A number of suggestions were received  regarding exploring the possibility of labeling to call attention to the environmentally friendly regime of reduced pesticide applications employed by Florida growers compared to many of their foreign competitors.

There may be something to this idea that would merit further investigation.  Let’s face it,  many consumers are locked in a 1960’s “Silent Spring” mentality due to mis-information by environmental activists and others.  Their impression of our industry consists of fields awash in harsh chemical pesticides and they are completely unaware of the tremendous changes that have taken place in pest management over the past decades.  Look at the industry wide adoption of IPM principles, increased reliance on beneficial insects and the explosion of green chemistry currently available to growers.

These facts coupled with public sentiment for safer food may provide Florida growers with a unique opportunity to distinguish our products from the competition and gain valuable market share and/or premium prices.

The Southwest Florida Vegetable Research Investment Fund is up and running.  To date,  twenty nine growers and industry partners have joined the fund and have contributed nearly $24,000 dollars in membership.  This achievement marks a definite milestone and signals a new awareness and maturity in the local vegetable industry.

Growers have come to the realization that in order to survive the many challenges facing the industry they will have to become more pro-active and accept more responsibility for determining and shaping the future of the vegetable research in Florida.

The industry will undoubtedly face many unforeseen hurdles in the coming years, but the establishment of the research fund and the forging of closer ties between vegetable producers and researchers will certainly result in the industry being better prepared to solve future problems.

The fund is open to all growers and vegetable industry partners and it is anticipated that othersr will follow the example of  these early innovators and get on board.  I am optimistic that we will see great return on the investment in the research fund in coming years.

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New Telone Application Rig Provides Good Results
With the phase out of methyl bromide looming ever nearer, Florida growers have been wondering what they will use to replace this agricultural chemical that has defended them from many of the slings and arrows that nature pits against their crops. There is some good news at hand.  Sharp minds have been fine tuning machinery and a technique to deliver a mixture of Telone and chloropicrin, which will help fight many of the pests that haunt agricultural profits in the Sunshine State.

“As methyl bromide gets phased out, farmers are getting ready to make the transition to farming without methyl bromide,” said Jerry Nance, the Telone specialist for Dow AgroSciences in Winter Haven.  “Telone will help them in that process.”

Telone has some big shoes to fill.  Methyl bromide has been a near panacea for the things that fight the farmers’ bottom line, ranging from nematodes to weeds to soil-borne pathogens like phytopthora.

People from Dow, IFAS, Yetter Farm Equipment and Agro-Distribution have worked together to find the best way to apply Telone and chloropicrin to get the best protection.  Instead of applying it just in the beds where crops are grown, they found they get better results by broadcasting this soil fumigant.

“By doing it on a broadcast basis you extend the protection to the middle too,” Nance said.  “If you don’t have disease control in the middle it can infect your crops from standing water and splashing rain.”

Telone is registered for use on a wide array of crops grown in Florida, ranging from tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and strawberries all the way to ornamental flowers.

The cost?  If you apply 22 gallons per acre it will cost you about the same as your existing program.  But if you apply 26 gallons per acre, to get better control than you have now, said Nance, it will cost you about $72 per acre.  While Telone works well on many crops, agriculturists had to come up with a new way to apply it, which involved adapting equipment and a technique.

“When we first started we took a normal methyl bromide rig and kind of copied the concept of the knives, but found that didn’t work because the material would vaporize out of the soil and come back out of the hole where we chiseled it in,” Said Jerry Dukes, with Agro-Distribution in Ellenton, a firm that specializes in agronomy.

“We played with the rates, and it evolved into a different type of equipment that injects the Telone into the ground.” Dukes said.

What they came up with was a 30 inch-diameter coulter with a knife and injector behind that, which is followed by two sealing disks.  The injector shoots the fumigant into the ground, and the wheels behind it seal the earth back up before the fumigant can evaporate.  The applicator is made in one-foot increments, and can be 18-feet wide.  A 12-foot wide unit cost approximately $16,000.

But applying Telone isn’t as simple as merely setting someone loose on a tractor.  The fumigant must be injected above the water table to keep it available to the soil.  “When Telone and water meet it actually locks it up and the water moves it out of the zone where we have it,” said Dukes.

So how do you keep it above the water table?  Use posthole diggers to dig down and see how deep you can go before hitting water.  Then set your coulter unit to inject the Telone above that.

The machine is now made by Yetter Farm Equipment in IL., and was developed by John Mirusso.  Mirusso now works as a field technician for Dow and has been working on the application of Telone.  “The driving of the tractor is not a major factor,” Mirusso said.  “The learning curve is having the soil at the right condition.  There is a bit more management as far as water control.  It’s not a very hard transition.  We know if it’s correctly applied it can be a very effective product.”

When people apply Telone they need to wear respirators and protective clothing.  The good news is one man can run the tractor that applies Telone.  After you apply Telone, you can re-enter the field within five days to make the beds for your crops.

University of Florida researcher Jim Gilreath, from UF’s Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Bradenton and Joe Noling of UF’s Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred, have been working hard to find replacements for methyl bromide.  Can Telone completely replace methyl bromide?

 “In those situations where you have an effective herbicide yes, it can replace it,” Gilreath said.  “Telone is an excellent nematicide, and combined with C-17 or C-35, the cocktail of those two works very well.  But it doesn’t get a lot of weeds.”

Gilreath said now is the time for growers to get busy trying to find alternatives to methyl bromide, since by 2001 farmers will be able to use only 50% as much of it as they used to.  And before too much longer it will be completely gone.  “When 2001 comes and we’re down to 50% reduction, things are going to get tight,” Gilreath said.  “Growers are going to need an option.  This gives them an option for now.”

Frank H. Adams
Citrus & Vegetable Magazine
April 2000

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Novartis Seeds is Sponsoring

 A 30-minute documentary promoting a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and the benefits of biotechnology that is airing on Fox TV’s Health Channel.  In 2001 it will go into syndication on PAX TV’s Health Network.  To order a free copy, call 800-380-6500.

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Get The Most From 
Vegetable Herbicides
There are many topics to consider in optimizing the use of herbicides in vegetable plantings.  These will vary depending on whether the herbicide is soil-applied or postemergence.  Important issues include herbicide selection, rate selection, application parameters, proper timing, and herbicide activation.

Soil-applied herbicides

Herbicides should be selected based on their ability to control the weeds which are present in the field.  Proper field scouting, usually during the summer or fall prior to planting, is essential to determine which weeds are problems.  Herbicide labels or recommendations are then needed to be sure a given herbicide is registered for the crop to be grown.   Selection of the proper herbicide rate is based on both soil type and soil organic matter percentage.  All herbicide labels will provide specifics on rate selection.  Generally, however, rate will increase as the soil clay content increases.  Also rate will increase as the soil organic
matter percentage increases.   Herbicides used in most vegetables and strawberry plantings are generally broadcast applied while herbicides used in plasticulture are generally banded.  Banding drastically reduces (50% or more) the total amount of herbicides needed in a field.

Directed sprays minimize crop contact, sometimes increasing crop safety.  Be careful not to overlap herbicide spray patterns in the crop row when spraying each row from both sides.  A high clearance boom set to spray both sides of the same row at the same time would be the preferred method of application.  It is important to apply soil-applied grass herbicides before grasses and small-seeded broadleaf weeds emerge.  There is no postemergence activity with these herbicides.  Most soil-applied broadleaf herbicides, however, will control many newly emerged broadleaf weeds.  If emerged weeds are a problem and the crop
has not yet emerged (vegetables), it may be possible to use a burndown type herbicide.

Check the labels and recommendations before application and be sure to avoid any contact with the crop.

Herbicide activation is essential to obtain good weed control.  Activation moves the herbicide from the soil surface to a depth where the herbicide is most active.  This also protects the herbicide from vapor loss or breakdown by sunlight.  For incorporated herbicides, the mechanical incorporation process activates the herbicide.  For surface-applied herbicides, rainfall or irrigation after application is usually required.  Be sure to check the label for activation requirements of each herbicide.

Postemergence herbicides

Postemergence herbicide selection is also based on weeds scouting and crop grown.  Scouting here is during the growing season usually just prior to application.  Additional factors which must be considered include the size of the crop and the time of the year.

Selection of the proper postemergence herbicide rate is based on the weed species and the weed size.  Some species require higher rates and larger weeds usually require higher rates.  All herbicide labels will provide specifics on rate selection.

Application parameters related to broadcast or banded applications are discussed above.  Some postemergence herbicides require shielding to protect the crop.  Especially in the case of glyphosate (Roundup) or sulfosate (Touchdown), any crop contact could result in severe crop injury or crop death.  Other herbicides such as metribuzin (Sencor or Lexone) or sethoxydim (Poast) have specific temperature or other environmental requirements.   Finally, always read and follow all label directions before using any

Richard Bonanno
The  Vegetable Grower News
March 2000

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23 Signs that you’ve had 
too much of the 90’s
          1. You just tried to enter your password on the microwave.

    2. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of three.

    3. You call your son’s beeper to let him know it’s time to eat.  He e-mails you back from his bedroom, “What’s for dinner?”

    4. Your daughter sells Girl Scout Cookies via her web site.

    5. You chat several times a day with a stranger from South Africa, but haven’t spoken with your next door neighbor yet this year.

    6. You check the ingredients on a can of chicken noodle soup to see if it contains Echinacea.

    7. You check your blow-dryer to see if it’s Y2K compliant.

    8. Your grandmother clogs up your e-mail inbox asking you to send her a JPEG file of your newborn so she can create a screen saver.

    9. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home.

    10. Every commercial on television has a wewb-site address at the bottom of the screen.

    11. You buy a computer and a week later it is out of date and now sells for half the price you paid.

    12. The concept of using real money, instead of credit or debit, to make a ppurchase is foriegn to you.

    13. Cleaning up the dining room means getting the fast food bags out of the back seat of your car.

    14. Your reason for not staying in touch with family is that they do not have e-mail addresses.

    15. You consider second-day air delivery painfully slow.

    16. Your dining room table is now your flat filing cabinet.

    17. Your idea of being organized is multiple-colored Post-it notes.

    18. You hear most of your jokes via e-mail instead of in person.

    19. You get an extra phone line so you can get phone calls.

    20. You turn off your Modem and get this awful feeling, as if you just pulled the plug on a loved one.

    21. You get up in the morning and go online before getting your coffee.

    22. You wake up at 2 am to go to the bathroom and check your e-mail on your way back to bed.

    23.You start tilting your head sideways to smile. :)

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Pre-season IPM Procedures Affect Quality and Yield
Just like priming your walls before you paint, there’s work to be done prior to the growing season when it comes to practicing good integrated pest management (IPM) procedures.

Following proper IPM procedures before the growing season contributes to healthy plants, high yields and high quality during the growing season, according to Loretta Ortiz-Ribbing, visiting Extension educator in IPM for the University of Illinios Champaign Extension Center.  She advises growers to evaluate the success of last year’s pest management effort to help plan next year’s pest management programs.

“Growers should think about problems of the previous year and consider using resistant varieties as one method of control.  An integrated program for pest management is one using a variety of control methods that are economical, ecologically acceptable and practical,” said Ortiz-Ribbing.

Sanitation is an effective method of control for many pests, according to Ortiz-Ribbing.

Removing crop debris and rotting fruit eliminates the over summering sites of many insects and pathogens such as the causal agent of bacterial canker on tomatoes.

Crop debris should be plowed under to favor microbial decomposition.  Cull piles should not be located near fields because the bacteria can survive in rotting fruit and infect healthy plants.  Cleaning and sanitizing stakes, bins,  benches, and tools between crops in the field and in the greenhouse are other good sanitation practices that reduce pathogen survival and subsequent infections.

Weed control is important in part, because weeds compete with crops for nutrients, moisture, light and space.  Weeds in and around the field provide a refuge for pathogens, insects, and nematodes during the winter or fallow season and during the growing season.  Pest populations can increase in number in weed hosts and then re-infect crops.  For example solanaceous weed species such as black nightshade can provide a refuge for disease organisms such as the bacteria that cause bacterial canker, speck, and spot.

Purchasing disease resistant cultivars and varieties is another good IPM practice.  Seed catalogs typically provide information on disease resistance.  Resistant varieties or cultivars are available in cabbage for black rot, tomato for bacterial wilt, sweet corn for Stewart’s wilt, and cucurbits for some viral diseases.  Disesase resistance is available in many other crops as well.

An effective IPM program must also include proper planting strategies.  Healthy plants are the best defense against pests.  Select and purchase healthy, clean, disease-free seed that is adapted to your area, Oritiz-Ribbing said.  Control of such bacterial diseases such as bacterial canker and angular leaf spot starts with purchasing clean, disease-free seed.  Plan your crop rotation schedule and planting sites based on the disease history in your fields.

Many disease organisms need at least a two- to three-year rotation with a non-host crop.  Plant seeds or transplants when soil temperatures are adequate for good growth.  Planting too early or planting into poorly drained (wet) soils can encourage infection of roots and seedlings by soil-borne pathogens, that can inhibit plant growth by causing decay or rot of seeds, roots and seedlings.  Use soil test results to plan fertility programs, Oritiz-Ribbing said.

During the growing season Ortiz-Ribbing said many growers want a chemical cure-all, when a lot of preventive control can be achieved using a program of cultural, mechanical and chemical control strategies throughout the season.  Although growers may want some kind of pesticide to take care of all of their problems, pesticides should be used in combination with effective preventative IPM practices such as using resistant varieties, clean, disease-free seed and transplants, proper planting times, balanced fertility, crop rotation, and weed control.

Mike Hoffmann, Director of the New York State IPM program through Cornell University, agrees that growers should consider resistant varieties and look at crop rotation.  “If a field has had disease in it, you don’t want to plant back into the same field,” Hoffmann said.  He advises growers to look at seed selection and in some cases, the purchase of certified seed.  “You
may want to buy seed treated with a pesticide to prevent disease,” he said.

Regarding sanitation issues, Hoffmann advises growers to be careful when moving equipment as movement of fungus and soil can also spread disease.  “From a pest management standpoint, growers need to calibrate their equipment,” said Hoffmann.  He said it’s important to calibrate sprayers to optimize or minimize the amount of pesticide that needs to be used.

It’s also the time of year to plan what fields to plant and whether mulches, like plastic mulches on certain crops will be used to manage weeds.

“One of the best ways to manage many diseases is through tolerant and resistant varieties when
available,” said Hoffmann.

Karen Gentry
The Vegetable Growers News
March 2000

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Drought Patterns Indicate Potential for Increasing Damage
The New York Times, Apr. 25, 2000.  While tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods may grab more headlines, drought may be the most severe and persisent threat to the economy every year.

Dr. Donald A. Wilhite, Director of the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska, said the Center’s figures indicate that drought costs the nation $6 billion to $8 billion per year on average, compared with $2.4 billion for floods and $1.2 billion to $4.8 billion for hurricanes.  This year is no exception.  Heavy financial losses in agriculture and recreation may result from the combination of severe deficiencies of soil moisture in the Iowa–Nebraska–Illinois breadbasket and great Lakes water levels that are approaching all–time lows.

While soil management and tillage practices have improved since the Dust Bowl days, Dr. Wilhite said that there is a potential for depletion of aquifers and dropping of water levels in reservoirs, lakes, rivers, and streams.  Also a 1998 federal study of past droughts indicate severe and widespread droughts similar to the drought of the 1930's Dust Bowl have occurred once or twice every century, and decade-long droughts occur about once every 500 years.  Dr. Wilhite suggested that damages might be reduced if water conservation measures were planned before droughts and if farmers were to switch to drought-resistant crops.

CSA News
June 2000

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Cornell Develops a Potato Resistant to Late Blight
The fungus that causes late blight–Phytophthora infestans–might have met its match in a potato developed at Cornell University, the New York 121.  This small, mild-mannered white potato is able to fend off late blight as well as other pests such as golden nematodes, scab and potato virus Y (PVY) in a single bound.

 “This is another in a short line of potatoes resistant to late blight,” says Robert Plaisted, Cornell professor emeritus of plant breeding.  “Resistance to late blight is one of the hardest things to breed for in potatoes.”

 The new potato, says Plaisted, is the best clone available that is resistant to both races of golden nematode.  “Its additional resistance to late blight, scab and PVY is a rare combination.”

Plaisted and his colleagues, Bill Brodie and William Fry, professors in Cornell's plant pathology department, introduced the new potato at the New York State Vegetable Conference in Liverpool, N.Y., in February.  This potato is a mid-season potato that will be good for boiling, perhaps even baking.  This is not a good potato, though for making French fries or chips.

“We need more accurately to measure its yielding ability and the practical value of this blight resistance in terms of reduced sprays.  Growers impacted by golden nematodes should be particularly interested in this potato,” says Plaisted.

The seed for New York 121 could be available as early as next season from the New York Foundation Seed Farm at Lake Placid, N.Y., operated by Cornell's plant pathology department.

Cornell also is introducing two other potato varieties, Keuka Gold and Eva.  Keuka Gold is a yellow-flesh, potato, good for boiling and will be known for its flavor and high yields. It is also resistant to scab and golden nematodes.  Eva has a bright white skin, also good for boiling, and is resistant to mosaic virus, golden nematode and scab.  It has an unusually long tuber dormancy, which means the potato can be stored, longer.

The Grower
April 2000

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Adding Microbes
Tomato and pepper growers can now add microbes along with their transplant mix to the arsenal of production practices used to reduce yield loss caused by soilborne pathogens-including root-knot nematodes.

The microbe-amended transplant mix is being developed by Agricultural Research Service scientists at the U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory in Fort Pierce, Fla., led by Nancy K. Burelle, in cooperation with Gustafson L.L.C. of Plano, Texas.  The transplant mix called BioYield 213, is amended with two naturally occurring soil microorganisms-Paenobacillus macerans and Bacillus amyloliquefacien.

The mix provides the microorganisms with the environment they need to grow on the root surface of seedlings.  Once this occurs, the microbes stimulate vigorous growth and improve the health of the transplant by triggering the plant's resistance mechanisms.  This research is part of an ongoing ARS effort to provide growers with alternatives to the use of methyl bromide.

Benefits continue to be observed in transplants out in the field.  Greenhouse producers can expect to grow transplants in a shorter time period, and growers can anticipate 5 to 20 percent yield increases in tomatoes, bell peppers and even strawberries.  The mix will be made commercially available to transplant producers in the fall.

This research is helping scientists gauge the effectiveness of alternatives to methyl bromide.  When this technology is combined with soil treatments such as Telone II and PlantPro 45, levels of crop roductivity approach those achieved with methyl bromide.

As the phasing out of methyl bromide proceeds, this technology will provide growers with an effective, economical and sustainable alternative component to use with existing methods.

Citrus & Vegetable Magazine
April 2000

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Watch for New Melon Diseases
Two, newly discovered viral melon diseases spread by the silverleaf whitefly have the potential to cause additional headaches for U.S. producers.  How serious the problems may become is still unknown because of the newness of the findings, says Bob Gilbertson a University of California Extension plant pathologist.  Nevertheless, he urges growers to be on the lookout for the newcomers.

The cucurbit leaf crumple geminivirus was first seen in melons in 1998 in the Imperial Valley, California.  It has since been identified in Arizona melon fields.

During 1999, Imperial Valley producers of fall melons blamed the geminivirus for plant unthriftiness and fruit not netting over well.  Gilbertson says it's difficult to determine how much was attributable to the new geminivirus and how much was due to other problems, such as Monosporascus vine decline.

The virus and symptoms were found in muskmelons, cantaloup and water melon but not honeydew.

Once infected, young leaves on the runners begin to crumple or blister and curl or cup downward.  Older leaves closer to the plant's center also take on a general yellowing while retaining their crumpling, Gilbertson says.

At first, Gilbertson and UC Cooperative Extension Imperial County Farm Advisor Eric Natwick thought the disorder was caused by the squash leaf curl geminivirus, a once prevalent disease that disappeared when the sweet potato whitefly vanished from Southern California in 1989 or 1990.  DNA testing confirmed the leaf crumpling was being caused by a new geminivirus.

“We always thought that squash leaf curl disappeared because the silverleaf whitefIy wasn’t a good virus vector, Gilbertson says, “Now the possibility exists that this geminivirus is efficiently transmitted by the silverleaf whitefly.  That would be very important from the standpoint of melon production and biology. Why has the virus adapted to being transmitted by this whitefIy?"

The other disease, cucurbit yellow stunt disorder, was identified last season in Rio Grande Valley, Texas, melon fields and marked the first time the geminvirus was reported in the United States.

Vicky Boyd, Editor
The Grower

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New Fungi Fighter
SafeScience Inc. has been issued a patent on the company's Elexa-Plant Defense Booster.  The patent covers the composition of matter and methods of use of Elexa as a fungicide in plants.

The product is a complex carbohydrate designed to inhibit fungal infections in a variety of plants.  Unlike other fungicides, which often contain toxic active ingredients that kill plant parasitic fungi by poisoning them, Elexa complex carbohydrate formula contains no toxins.  It has been shown to be especially effective in eliciting plant defenses in grapes and strawberries in diseases such as powdery mildew, downy mildew and gray mold.  It continues to be tested as a defense booster in melons, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, lettuce and roses.

The product provides equal fungal disease protection compared with commonly used chemical fungicides when tested in a variety of research trials.  SafeScience Inc., web site

Citrus & Vegetable Magazine
March 2000

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Organic Farming Gains Momentum
The amount of U.S. farm acres producing organic vegetables, fruit, herbs, and livestock gained nearly 50% from 1995 to 1997, according to a USDA study.

The study stated that farmers went organic partly because of the higher prices received for organic products, often double the going rate for conventional crops.

Florida Grower
May 2000

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National Sweet-Corn 
Promotion Order In The Works
The Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association (FFVA) has launched a nationwide effort on behalf of the sweet-corn industry to create a national sweet-corn promotion order.  The Fresh Sweet Corn Promotion, Research, and Information Order would fund a variety of programs on behalf of the fresh sweet-corn industry.  Similar promotion programs already exist for other agricultural products including milk, potatoes, beef, pork, cotton, and watermelon.

FFVA is seeking input from growers on fine-tuning the structure of the new promotion order.  The proposal, which requires majority vote of the nation's sweet-corn growers producing more than 25 acres of sweet corn per year, will be submitted to the USDA this summer/fall season for approval.

Florida Grower
May 2000

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Pesticide Information
Novartis products receive new registrations

The Environmental Protection Agency has received federal registration for Ridomil Gold EC from Novartis Crop Protection as an at planting fungicide to control pink rot and Pythium leak in potatoes.  The product should be applied to the soil furrow in a band at planting using application kits.  Research has shown that the product also helps prevent storage rot, reduce shrink loss and provide more flexibility to store or process potatoes.

Flint foliar fungicide, also from Novartis, was registered for use on cucurbit vegetables, grapes and pome fruit in California and Arizona.  Registration is pending in New York.  Flint is registered for controlling powdery mildew on cucurbits, controlling powdery mildew and black rot on grapes, and suppressing downy mildew on cucurbits and grapes.  On pome fruit, Flint offers preventive control of fruit and foliar scab;  preventive control of powdery mildew, sooty blotch and flyspeck; and suppression of bitter
rot and white rot.  Trifloxystrobin is the active ingredient.  (Note: Novartis has announced it intent to sell off Flint) GM

Agtrol introduces fungicide/bactericide

Agtrol International introduced Champ DP Dry Prill, a new dry formulation fungicide/bactericide to control powdery mildew, downy mildew and late blight in vegetables; brown rot and shot hole in nuts and treefruit; and melanose, scab and greasy spot in citrus.

The product is a new advanced formulation of cupric hydroxide using a Dry Prill manufacturing process that is unique in pesticide production.  It mixes quickly, easily and leaves no residue in spray tanks.

Taensa receives registration for Bacillus subtilis

Taensa, Inc. of Fairfield, Conn., received U.S. registrations Bacillus subtilis Strain FZB24 water dispersible granule and technical products from the Biopesticide and Pollution Prevention Division of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  Uses for the strain include plant strengthening and growth enhancement.  Application is by drenching and dipping of growing plants, transplants, cuttings and plugs.

The Grower
April 2000

Improved Packaging

Abbott Laboratories has introduced improved packaging for XenTari biological insecticide.  The product is now being sold in convenient 1- and 5-pound gold-foil metallized pouches.

“Growers, PCAs and consultants told us they wanted an easy-to-carry, easy-to-store and easy-to-dispose of container for the product,” said Ryan Solbert, product manager for Abbott’s biological insecticides.  “The new pouch with finger holes at the top meets these requests.  In addition, the packaging is completely burnable where allowed and creates less solid waste in landfills.”

This product, the only insecticide based on a pure aizawai strain of Bacillus thuringiensis, provides effective control of armyworm and diamondback moth larvae on a wide variety of vegetable crops.  The pure aizawai strain in XenTari maximizes the amount of protein toxins for the most effective control of these pests, according to Abbott.

Citrus & Vegetable Magazine
March 2000

Pesticide Roundup

The EPA has issued a Section 18 specific exemption in Florida for the use of Admire 2 Flowable Insecticide (imidacloprid) to control Silverleaf Whitefly (SLWF) on legume vegetables (Crop Group 6). The exemption will expire Oct. 31, 2000

Knack (pyriproxyfen) from Valent has received EPA registration for use on tomatoes and peppers to control whiteflies.

Poast (sethoxydim) from BASF has added usage on leafy, root and tuberous vegetables, caneberries and artichokes.

Aventis CropScience, the new merged company of Rhone-Poulenc Ag Co. and AgrEvo, has announced changes to the Carzol R SP Miticide/Insecticide product label in response to recent requirements by EPA.  The revised label discontinues the use of Carzol in Florida.

Citrus & Vegetable Magazine
April 2000

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Tests Reveal 
Low Residue on Produce
 The government’s pesticide testing of fresh produce in the marketing chain continues to show low but acceptable levels of residues.

According to new figures from the Pesticide Data Program operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service, 40% of fresh items show no detectable chemical residues.Last year, the agency tested single-serving-size fresh apples for residues, particularly the organophosphate compounds that are under close government scrutiny.  “We did not find ‘hot apples’ with multiple or high residues of organophosphates,” says MarthaLamont, Chief of AMS’ residue branch.

She says the data has been turned over to the Environmental Protection Agency, where they are being used in pesticide registration.

This year, the agency is testing single peaches, cucumbers, bell peppers, cantaloupe, oranges, lettuce, grapes and green beans.  Domestic and imported items are tested for as many as 160 chemicals and metabolites, including insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and growth regulators.

The program has become increasingly important in applying the new pesticide law, the Food Quality Protection Act.

The data is important because the sampling accounts for what happens to residues in marketing and selling.  Without this data, the regulators fall back on worst-case assumptions that overstate use and residues.

Full data is now available from the 1998 testing program, when 7,017 samples for fruits and vegetables were tested.

About 61% of the samples turned up some detectable residue.  About 3.7% of the samples contained residues for which no tolerance has been set.  Only 0.15% contained residues exceeding legal tolerances.

The most widely detected pesticides on tested produce were permethrin; edosulfan; azinphos methyl; carbaryl; captan; and the fungicide, thiabendazole.

The Grower
 June-July 2000

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House Introduces Guest Worker Reform Bill
Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., introduced a bill to the House of Representatives recently that was almost identical to legislation introduced to the Senate last year.

Dubbed “The Agricultural Jobs Opportunity, Benefits and Security Act,” or AgJOBS for short, House Resloution 4056 would reform the H-2A temporary foreign agricultural worker program and provide experienced undocumented agricultural workers the opportunity to earn permanent legal work status in the United States.

To qualify, they would have to work five of seven years in the agricultural industry.

The legislation would also create a registry for better job-worker matching, streamline the H-2A application process and reduce grower costs with a modified prevailing wage rate standard.

The Grower
June-July  2000

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Silicon Gets the Respect 
It Deserves
When it comes to plant nutrients, silicon is finally getting the respect it deserves, thanks to a group of University of Florida scientists whose breakthrough research has demonstrated the importance of this element in world agriculture.

“Until now, this element has always befuddled people because plant nutritionists have never considered it essential,” said Lawrence Darnoff, professor of plant pathology with the Uf’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS).

He said new findings by a group of scientists at the Everglades Research and Education Center (EREC in Belle Glade) show this element can boost crop yields, reduce the need for expensive fungicides and improve plant resistance to some diseases.  Datnoff said silicon has been used successfully in Florida on rice and sugarcane for many years and has been reported to improve production on other crops ranging from citrus and strawberries to tomatoes and cucurbits.

“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 fungicide applications, reduce the number of applications or maybe eliminate them altogether.”

Datnoff and other researchers at the Everglades REC have demonstrated that the residual effects of this element one year later provide effective disease control comparable to the application of fungicides.  “We also found this element could enhance control of the two most important rice diseases in the world - blast (Magnaporthae griesa) and sheath blight (Thanatephorus cucumeris),” he said.  “In the case of rice cultivars that are partially resistant to these diseases, the use of silicon makes them almost completely resistant.”

Other faculty at the Everglades REC working with Datnoff are George Snyder, distinguished professor of soil science, Jose Alvarez, professor of agricultural economics; and Christopher Deren, professor of agronomy/breeding.  Thomas Kucharek, professor of plant pathology at UF in Gainesville, is also working with the research group.  The UF group, which recently won the prestigious UF/IFAS Interdisciplinary Research Award, is currently engaged in collaborative work with soil scientists and plant pathologists from Brazil, Colombia, India and Russia.

Out of the UF group effort has come a calibrated soil test for silicon, now one of the most requested tests conducted by the Everglades REC.  A rapid method for assessing the silicon content of plant tissue also has been developed, and it is now being used by a number of private laboratories.

Datnoff said the UF research group revealed that silicon has great potential for being incorporated into an integrated pest management program for managing diseases such as blast.  The group also demonstrated that yields may be increased without further genetic improvements.  These yield increases are associated with silicon increasing grain set (sexual fertility) more than any other biomass component.

“We have found that silicon can benefit plant growth through greater yields in rice while improving the sugar content in sugarcane,” Datnoff said.  “Silicon can be very useful, especially when these plants are under stress.  Silicon may enhance soil fertility, improve soil physical properties, improve disease and pest resistance, increase photosynthesis, regulate evapotranspiration, increase tolerance to toxic elements such as aluminum and manganese and reduce frost damage.”

Because of UF research, many institutions in the United States (University of Arkansas, University of Georgia, Louisiana State University, North Carolina State University, Rutgers University) and other countries (Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, Venezuela, Vietnam) are now implementing this approach or studying its feasibility in rice and other crops, including fescue, rye, sugarcane and wheat.  Consequently, this UF research has not only helped local and national rice growers,
but has helped rice and other types of growers around the world.

The UF researchers summarized the per-hectare benefits (gross revenues) of using Silicon minus costs from increased rice yields, controlling blast and other diseases, potential grain discoloration, insect management, reduced phosphorus applications and liming costs.  Total extra net returns from the silicon application, using the yield-cost-price structure assumed for South Florida, amounts to a total of $349.39 per hectare.  This figure encompasses a comprehensive -although conservative -total benefit that resulted from silicon research conducted in different ecosystems in Florida, Colombia and other parts of the world.

These and other research findings were discussed by 90 scientists and industry personnel from around the world at the Silicon in Agriculture Conference in September 1999 in Fort Lauderdale.  The program included speakers from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa and the United States.

The conference was organized by Datnoff, Snyder and Gaspar Korndorfer, professor of soil science at the Universidade Federal de Uberlandia in Brazil.  Sponsors included the UF and U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Contact Lawrence Datnoff  at

Chuck Woods
UF/IFAS Impact

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Farm Bureau Offers 
Grants to Teachers
Florida Farm Bureau is offering elementary and middle-school teachers up to $250 each to help them incorporate agriculture into their classroom instruction during the 2000-01 school year.  Any Florida teacher of grade levels 4-8 is invited to apply.  Contact the Farm Bureau at 352-378-8100, ext. 1030, or visit the
Web site at

Florida Grower
June 2000

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Crimson Tomato is Better
The redder the better, when it comes to tomatoes, said a University of Florida researcher.  Horticulturist Jay Scott is breeding new varieties of tomatoes that contain a crimson gene, which gives tomatoes a deeper red color.  More importantly, however, the gene also increases tomatoes’ levels of lycopene, a substance recently shown to have health benefits.

Scott has been working on tomatoes since 1975 and with the crimson gene since 1981, releasing a homegarden crimson tomato in 1985.  Most of Scott’s efforts have focused on breeding tomatoes for disease resistance, taste and long shelf life.

But in 1990, after early studies showed health benefits in lycopene, Scott began to use the crimson gene to develop high-lycopene tomatoes for commercial growers.  “The crimson gene has been around a long time, but commercially, there is no acreage planted in crimson tomatoes,” said Scott, who grows his tomatoes in Bradenton at UF’s Gulf Coast Research and Education Center.  “For years, the crimson gene has been a side issue.”

“Now, recent studies show that lycopene is a potent anti-oxidant, and tomatoes are the major source of lycopene,” Scott said.

A crimson tomato is 50% higher in lycopene than a a regular tomato, Scott said.  Breeding for higher lycopene by using the crimson gene decreases beta carotene levels.  But clinical dietitian Mary Branagan, of Shands Hospital at UF, points out that there are many sources of beta carotene in the diet but lycopene is only available from three foods:  pink grapefruit, watermelon and tomatoes.

Branagan said crimson tomatoes fall into a new category of foods called functional foods, which provide health benefits.  She said studies are finding the lycopene in tomatoes is beneficial in reducing risks of heart disease and some cancers.  High-lycopene tomatoes also have anti-oxidant properties.

Processing high-lycopene tomatoes for sauces and juices adds to their health benefits, unlike some vegetables that lose vitamins and minerals when cooked, Scott said.

“Processing boils off water, so a more concentrated product comes out with more lycopene per unit than with fresh-cut tomato,” Scott said.  “High-lycopene tomatoes are good if you eat fresh tomatoes and even better if you eat processed tomatoes.

Citrus & Vegetable Magazine
March 2000

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TYLCV Found in Mexico
Researchers are the Center of Investigation and Advanced Studies at Irapuato, Mexico have reported that Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus-1s has been found in Mexico.  An analysis of samples collected over the last few years showed that the virus was first detected in samples collected during the winter of 1996-97, about the same time the virus appeared in Florida and the Bahamas.

The virus is nearly identical to that found in the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Florida, and the Bahamas.  TYLCV-1s incidences at this time are low, possibly because tomatoes are produced in this region in small, widely dispersed farms, so spread from farm to farm would be minimal.

Citrus & Vegetable Magazine
March 2000

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Martha Stewart’s Tips for 

1.  Never take a beer to a job interview.
2.  Always identify people in your yard before shooting at them.
3.  It’s considered tacky to take a cooler to church.
4.  If you have to vacum the bed, it is time to change the sheets.
5.  Even if you’re certain that you are included in the will, it is still considered tacky to drive a U-Haul to the funeral home.


1.  When decanting wine, make sure that you tilt the paper cup, and pour slowly so as not to “bruise” the fruit of the vine.
2.  If drinking directly from the bottle, always hold it with your fingers covering the label.


1.  A centerpiece for the table should never be anything prepared by a taxidermist.
2.  Do not allow the dog to eat at the matter how good his manners are.


1.  While ears need to be cleaned regularly, this is a job that should be done in private using one’s OWN truck keys.
2.  Proper use of toiletries can forestall bathing for several days.  However, if you live alone, deodorant is a waste of good money.
3.  Dirt and grease under the fingernails is a social no-no, as they tend to detract from a woman’s jewelry and alter the taste of her fingerfoods.


1.  Always offer to bait your date’s hook, especially on the first date.
2.  Be aggressive.  Let her know you’re interested:  “I’ve been wanting to go out with you since I read that stuff on the bathroom wall two years ago.”.
3.  Establish with her parents what time she is expected back.  Some will say 10:00 pm;  Others might say “Monday.”  If the latter is the answer, it is the man’s responsibility to get her to school on time.


1.  Crying babies should be taken to the lobby and picked up immediately after the movie has ended.

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Getting the Message
For a team of researchers and a group of investors who have spent eight years and $38 million, the long wait is finally over.  On April 19, EPA granted federal registration to Eden Bioscience for its new biopesticide, Messenger, the first product from a new class of biopesticides using harpin protein technology.

The discovery of the protein by researchers at Cornell University in 1992 made the cover of Science magazine, ending a 30-year search by molecular biologists to explain how plants engage their natural defense systems.  Harpin is a collection of amino acids given off by the bacterium that causes fire blight of apples and pears.  Plant receptors recognize the protein and launch defenses.

Manipulating a plant’s natural defense mechanisms is a new and exciting area to crop protection known as systemic activated resistance (SAR).  Through foliar application, the product switches on a plant’s defense systems before an attack actually occurs, essentially “fooling” a plant into reacting as though a pathogen were present, much the way a vaccine elicits the production of antibodies in humans.  In doing so, Messenger provides broad spectrum control against a host of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, some of which have no current control mechanism.  The product looks to figure prominently in IPM programs (see graph) and as methyl bromide alternative.

Because of its unique mode of action, Messenger has no killing effect whatsoever.  It degrades rapidly and has demonstrated no toxicological effect on mammals or the environment, earning it a tolerance exeption from EPA.  It has been registered for use on all food commodities, fiber-producing crops, trees, turf, and ornamentals.

Growth Benefit A Surprise

What has the crop protection industry abuzz, however, is the marked growth enhancement property observed in plants treated with Messenger.  While being developed for its pesticidal properties, Messenger amazed researchers by promoting earliness and substantially increasing yields on many crops.

Photosynthesis and the root-to-shoot ratio of treated plants increases—a likely side-effect of the boosted defenses.

Messenger is consistently delivering yield increases ranging from 10% to 25% (sometimes more) and earliness ranging from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the crop.

Yield increases are a combinaition of increased biomass (both in number of fruit and fruit grade) as well as the plant’s ability to reduce damage brought on by pests.  Trials have indicated Messenger even provides resistance to some insects.   David Wright, an Eden cooperator from the University of Florida, says every season brings a new crop of “snake oil peddlers” to his door.  But when Eden personnel came asking for him to conduct Messenger trials, the company appeared to have the science in place to back up its claim.  He agreed to conduct cotton trials and observed a 35% increase in yield the first year, an increase he says is “seldom seen with any product.”  Subsequent cotton trials both in Florida and in the Delta have averaged increases between 15% and 18%.

Work with fruits and vegetables in the U.S. and all over the world has brought similar results.  Trials with tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, cucumbers, apples, cutrus, rice, peanuts, and tobacco all have demonstrated consistent yield increases, according to researchers.  Trialing in wheat has also been successful, though little work has yet been done on corn and soybeans.

In a South Florida citrus trial, for example, grapefruit trees in their first year of Messenger trials appeared markedly healthier than control trees.  Second-year trials touted leaves as much as 40% bigger than on control trees, with fruit development as much as two weeks ahead of untreated plots.

Application rates and timing vary not only with the crop being treated, but by what growers are trying to accomplish with the treatment.  In general, about a teaspoon of active ingredient is enough to treat an entire acre.  Monocots have been observed to respond to a single treatment, while dicots benefit from multiple applications spaced a few weeks apart.

Eden reports there is still room for fine-tuning rates and timing because Messenger sailed through the registration process so quickly.  Companies use experimental use permits to conduct trials while ushering new products through the registraiton process.  But while most products take years to get through that process, Messenger took only nine months.

At presstime, Eden was completing requirements for the state registration process.  Messenger should be available in mid- to late June, or shortly thereafter in the southeastern U.S. Growers interested in purchasing the product should call their local distributors.

Vegetable Grower
June 2000

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Herbicide Options for Vegetables
Successful weed control is essential for economic production of vegetable crops in Florida. Control of weeds in vegetables involves good management practices in all phases of production. The use of herbicides, cultivation, crop rotation, cover cropping, using crop competition and/or mulching may have to be combined to suppress many weed species that are difficult to control.

Growers seeking herbicide options in the post methyl bromide era need to consider a number of factors.

At present there are only two herbicides labeled for use under plastic: Tillam and Devrinol.

PRE Dual under plastic is being investigate by IR-4, but it is uncertain if it will ever receive a label.

Round Up and Touchdown are being considered for row middle applications with a hooded sprayer in pepper, tomato, and strawberry.

Many herbicides that are safe on tomatoes, i.e., halosufuron and rimsulfuron are not safe on pepper and vice versa,  i.e., Command on tomato.

New materials coming along:

Matrix (Rimsulfuron) is labeled for potatoes (PRE & POST).

1.  The same material called ShadeOut may be labeled on tomato (PRE & POST).
2.  Good on Eclipta.
3.  Not good on Nutsedge at labeled rates.
4.  Requires at least 60 days before plant back.
5. DuPont pulled the label on tomatoes, but is considering re-issue.
6.  Causes heavy phyto in pepper.

Sempra or Permit (Halsulfuron) is labeled for sweet corn.

1.  Has a fallow label for vegetables, perhaps a good alternative and/or compliment to Round-up.
2.  Good Nutsedge material.
3.  Can go over top tomatoes.
4.  Could possibly have a Cucurbit label by next year.

Authority or Spartan (Sulfentrazone) ... no label in vegetables.

1.  Good nutsedge control.
2.  Being looked at for use under plastic in both tomato and pepper.
3.  Don’t expect a label any time soon.

Growers are encouraged to look into rotations with beans.   Eptam and/or Treflan  PPI about two weeks prior to planting followed by Prowl and/or Dual PRE at planting will control Eclipta, Pigweed, and Nutsedge.

Open ground cropping provides the grower with more herbicide options.

Don’t forget some of the labeled materials, ie Treflan/Trilin, Prefar, Goal, Dual etc.  Use of tank mixes may enable you to extend your weed control.

Pesticide registration and labeling can take a very long time.  In most cases, growers will have to learn to live with what is available now!   Most growers will have to overcome a fairly steep learning curve and consider multiple factors in adopting an herbicide program. Identifying the weed problems and selecting appropriate weed control methods are essential steps in designing or modifying a weed control program.

Knowing the weed species that infest the fields is also important in selecting the correct herbicide that is effective for specific weed problems.

For preplant and preemergence applications, the weed problem must be anticipated since weeds have not emerged at the time of application. This can be done by observing the field in the previous season and recording those weeds which are present and in what areas of the field they occur.  Weed maps can be very useful in the next season by refreshing your memory and helping you make decisions on which herbicides to purchase. Once your weed problems have been determined the following tables can be helpful in determining the herbicide which is most effective for those problems. 

Caution: Some of these materials may or may not be labeled on the crop that you are growing!

Herbicides can severely injure or kill the cultivated crop if misused.  Always remember to read and follow the specific instructions on the label.  Be sure to use pesticides safely.  The pesticide user is responsible for the proper use, storage and disposal, residues on crops and damage caused by drift.

The UF/IFAS publication - March 1999 Estimated Effectiveness of  Recommended Herbicides on Selected Common Weeds in Florida Vegetables provides a more comprehensive listing of herbicides and weeds controlled.

It can be found on the web at or contact your extension office for a copy.

There are mechanisms in place to help extend or change labeling in some instances.  These include the IR-4 program, Third Party Registration, SLN section 24 and Section 18 labeling.  All of these processes take time, often several years.  If you are interested in pursuing one of these options, contact the your chemical representative, the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association or your local extension office.

Information provided by Dr. Bill Stall and Dr Jim Gilreath, UF/IFAS.

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On The Lighter Side
A Scary Ride
A plane was taking off from Kennedy Airport.  After it reached a comfortable cruising altitude, the captain made an announcement over the intercom,

“Ladies and gentelmen, this is your captain speaking.  Welcome to Flight 293, nonstop from New York to Los Angeles.  The weather ahead is good and therefore we should have a smooth and uneventful flight.  Now, please sit back and relaz - OH MY GOD!”

Silence.  Then, the captain came back on the intercom and said,

“Ladies and Gentlemen, I am so sorry if I scared you earlier, but while I talking, the flight-attendant brought me a cup of coffee and spilled the hot coffee in my lap.  You should see the front of my pants!”

A passenger in Coach piped up, “That’s nothing.  You should see the back of mine!”

The Cross-Examination...
 A defense attorney was cross-examining a police officer during a felony trial - it went like this:

Q.  Officer, did you see my client fleeing the scene?
A.  No sir, but I subsequently observed a person matching the description of the offender running several blocks away.
Q.  Officer, who provided this description?
A.  The officer who responded to the scene.
Q.  A fellow officer provided the description of this so-called offender.  Do you trust your fellow officers?
A.  Yes sir, with my life.
Q.  With your life?  Let me ask you this then officer - do you have a locker room in the police station - a room where you change your clothes in preperation for your daily duties?
A.  Yes sir, we do.
Q.  And do you have a locker in that room?
A.  Yes sir, I do.
Q.  And do you have a lock on your locker?
A.  Yes sir.
Q.  Now why is it, officer, if you trust your fellow officers with your life, that you find it necessary to lock your locker in a room you share with those same officers?
A.  You see sir, we share the building with a court complex, and sometimes lawyers have been known to walk through that room.


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