Tag Archive: Growers

New Insect and Mite Control Guide for Florida Cotton Growers

New Insect and Mite Control Guide for Florida Cotton Growers

Joe Funderburk, Professor of Entomology, NFREC Quincy

A UF/IFAS EDIS fact sheet is now available entitled “Insect and Mite Integrated Pest Management in Florida Cotton” by Joe Funderburk, Nicole Casuso, Norman Leppla, and Michael Donahue. The guide provides growers with up-to-date information on scouting and managing insects and mites in their fields.

The guide contains a link to a cotton insect identification guide. It also contains links to information on individual insect identification and their damage, including tobacco thrips, tobacco budworm, cotton bollworm, true armyworm, beet armyworm, fall armyworm, cutworms, loopers, boll weevil, plant bugs and stink bugs, cotton aphid, broad mite, two-spotted spider mite, and silverleaf whitefly.

The guide provides scouting information and damage thresholds which are important to avoid unnecessary pesticide application and to conserve important natural enemies. Conversely, cotton fields require frequent scouting from emergence to harvest as damaging pest populations can develop quickly. The guide details the recommended period of sampling and methods of sampling that are appropriate for individual pests. The average number of the pests in the samples then is used to determine if a management tactic is needed to prevent the pest from reaching a damage threshold.

For example, sweep netting is frequently used to estimate the number of plant bug adults once squaring begins in a cotton field (Figure 1). Take several 25-sweep samples in a field to determine if populations are approaching damage thresholds in a field.

Figure 1. Sweep netting is a way to monitor several cotton insect pests, including plant bugs and stink bugs. Credit: Joe Funderburk

For cotton boll weevils, pheromone traps are an efficient way to monitor (Figure 2). One trap is recommended for every 20 acres in a field.

Figure 2. Pheromone traps are used to monitor for boll weevils. Credit: Joe Funderburk

The guide serves as a reference for management tactics with links to other EDIS articles and external sources of information on arthropod management in cotton. These include cultural controls, mechanical controls, biological controls, and chemical controls. The article serves as a guide for Bt and non-BT cotton.

A pesticide table is included from the National Pesticide Informational Retrieval System that lists the major arthropod pests of cotton in Florida, the active ingredients and example products registered for controlling them, and the Insecticide Resistance Action Committee (IRAC) classification system for use in rotating active ingredients to prevent resistance in target pests. The table includes special information on precautions and recommendations for maximizing control in Florida.

This EDIS publication website allows UF/IFAS extension researchers, extension specialists, and extension agents to regularly update fact sheets to include the most current information.

Download and print out the pdf, printer friendly version of this new fact sheet:

Insect and Mite Integrated Pest Management in Florida Cotton



Author: Joe Funderburk – jef@ufl.edu


Joe Funderburk

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/09/08/new-insect-and-mite-control-guide-for-florida-cotton-growers/

Support Your Local Growers’ Markets

Support Your Local Growers’ Markets

Carrots and squash at the Lake Ella Growers' Market. Photo by Jennifer Taylor.

Carrots and squash at the Lake Ella Growers’ Market. Photo by Jennifer Taylor.

When you think of farmers’ markets, what is that comes to mind? Is it the customers perusing the tables, the vendors organizing their displays, the variety of colors of the fruits and vegetables, the aromas of many types of baked breads, the pop-up tents forming a loose circle…? Or is it all of these things wrapped up in a sense of community?

Lake Ella Growers Market - honey 1

Honey from Mac’s Honey and Bee Farm. Photo by Molly Jameson.

If you have not experienced a farmers’ market that evokes such senses, then you should stop by one of the farmers’ markets where vendors selling the produce actually grew it themselves. These markets are often referred to as growers’ markets.

Still not convinced? What is it that you are looking for? Liven up your summer dinner table with fresh blueberries grown in Monticello, sweet corn that hardly needs cooking, flavorful heirloom tomatoes, freshly dug potatoes, lime-green field peas, cucumbers with a crunch, sweet yellow onions, multi-colored oblong peppers, juicy garlic, yellow crook-neck squash, dark green zucchini, shitake mushrooms harvested off oak logs, herbs just picked that morning, edible flowers….

The adjectives used to describe the produce may seem like an exaggeration until you really dive into these flavors and learn about how they were grown, where they were grown, and why the farmer decided to concentrate his or her efforts on the particular varieties. And when you are at a growers’ market, don’t be shy! Ask the farmers what they are growing and the methods they use for farming. What has gone well, what has not. They very well may tell you it’s all in building the soil, conserving the water, and supporting diversity.

Jack from Crescent Moon, selling fresh baked bread. Photo by Molly Jameson.

Jack from Crescent Moon, selling fresh baked bread. Photo by Molly Jameson.

And don’t just come for the produce. At many growers’ markets, there are so many types of fresh-baked breads and cookies, local wildflower honey, local eggs, grass-fed meats, fruit preserves, hand-made soaps, and dried vegetables and powders.

Some growers’ markets in the Tallahassee area include the Lake Ella Growers’ Market, the Red Hills Online Market, the Frenchtown Heritage Marketplace, and the Sunshine Growers’ Market. If you do not live in the Tallahassee area, visit the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Community Farmers Markets locator to find farmers’ markets near you. Take some time to explore your farmers’ markets to see who is growing their own and what markets are growers’ markets. In this way, you can help support local farmers!


Author: Molly Jameson – mjameson@ufl.edu

Molly Jameson

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/07/19/support-your-local-growers-markets/

2014 Farm Bill Provides Greater Protection for Specialty Crop Growers

2014 Farm Bill Provides Greater Protection for Specialty Crop Growers

USDA FSA BulletinSource: USDA Farm Service Agency

Greater protection is now available from the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP)  for crops that traditionally have been ineligible for federal crop insurance. The new options, created by the 2014 Farm Bill, provide greater coverage for losses when natural disasters affect specialty crops such as vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, floriculture, ornamental nursery, aquaculture, turf grass, ginseng, honey, syrup, and energy crops.

Previously, the program offered coverage at 55 percent of the average market price for crop losses that exceed 50 percent of expected production. Producers can now choose higher levels of coverage, up to 65 percent of their expected production at 100 percent of the average market price. 

The expanded protection will be especially helpful to beginning and traditionally underserved producers, as well as farmers with limited resources, who will receive fee waivers and premium reductions for expanded coverage. More crops are now eligible for the program, including expanded aquaculture production practices, and sweet and biomass sorghum. For the first time, a range of crops used to produce bioenergy will be eligible as well.  

To help producers learn more about the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program and how it can help them, USDA, in partnership with Michigan State University and the University of Illinois, created an online resource. The Web tool, available at www.fsa.usda.gov/nap, allows producers to determine whether their crops are eligible for coverage. It also gives them an opportunity to explore a variety of options and levels to determine the best protection level for their operation.

If the application deadline for an eligible crop has already passed, producers will have until Jan. 14, 2015, to choose expanded coverage through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. To learn more, visit the Farm Service Agency (FSA) website at www.fsa.usda.gov/nap or contact your local FSA office at offices.usda.gov. The Farm Service Agency (FSA), which administers the program, also wants to hear from producers and other interested stakeholders who may have suggestions or recommendations on the program. Written comments will be accepted until Feb. 13, 2015 and can be submitted through www.regulations.gov.

For Questions?
Please contact your local FSA Office.


Author: admin – webmaster@ifas.ufl.edu


Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2014/12/20/2014-farm-bill-provides-greater-protection-for-specialty-crop-growers/

Mehlich 3: Improved Soil Testing for Florida Growers


Soil testing is a critical component of modern agriculture.  Photo by Judy Ludlow

There has been a change in the testing procedure at the UF/IFAS Lab which analyzes the nutrient profile of Florida’s soils. The Extension Soil Testing Laboratory (ESTL) has replaced the Mehlich 1 (M1) test with the Mehlich 3 (M3) test, but the question from many is why and what does this mean to the user of these services?

Soil testing is a critical component of modern agriculture. Proper use of the results will affect plant health, the farm or ranch’s financial position, and water quality in the area.

This multistage procedure starts with sample collection in the field or pasture then moves to the laboratory for assessment. At the lab a three-step process begins with nutrient extraction from the soil sample and analysis, next is the interpretation of test results, and finally nutrient recommendations for the grower.

During the 1970s, Florida along with several other southeastern US states, adopted M1 as the official extractant for acidic soils. This adoption was a result of the continued search for improved methods, accuracy, low cost and quick turnaround, but there were limits.


Producers rely on accurate soil analyses upon which to base their fertilizer application decisions.  Photo by Judy Ludlow

When exposed to a neutral or alkaline pH soil, M1 rapidly loses effectiveness because the dilute acids used for the test are  neutralized. M1 is also rendered ineffective in soils with high cation exchange capacity (CEC), high aluminum (Al) and iron (Fe) accumulation, and with more than five percent organic matter.

To overcome the limitations of M1, Dr. Adolph Mehlich improved the chemistry and developed the Mehlich-3 (M3) extraction solution. In the M3 test, the two dilute double acids used in M1 have been replaced with improved extractants.

State Extension laboratories in several southern US states, including Florida, have moved to the M3 extraction procedure because of its improved efficiency, especially for micronutrients, and its broad range of applicability. Additionally, the M3 procedure has been the only soil test extraction method validated through interlaboratory studies for extraction of plant-available phosphorus and used as a reference method for testing soil materials for extractable phosphorus.

The bottom line to the producer is the M3 test provides more accurate information for more precise fertilizer application recommendations. To learn more about this improved test, read: Extraction of Soil Nutrients Using Mehlich-3 Reagent for Acid-Mineral Soils of Florida.



Author: Les Harrison – harrisog@ufl.edu

Les Harrison is the UF/IFAS Wakulla County Extension Director, Agriculture and Natural Resources. He works with small and medium sized producers in the Big Bend region of north Florida on a wide range of topics. He has a Master’s of Science Degree in Agricultural Economics from Auburn University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Journalism from the University of Florida.

Les Harrison

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2014/10/09/mehlich-3-improved-soil-testing-for-florida-growers/

Excessive Rain Creates Many Problems for Growers

Flooded cotton field

In recent days, farms in several central and western panhandle counties have received exceptional amounts of rainfall. Some areas reported as much as 25 inches of rain in the last week.  Excessive rain and the accompanying flooding will cause a variety of problems for producers.

Extreme cases of flooding can cause crops to become submerged in water resulting in potentially devastating losses. The foliage of submerged plants will quickly begin to die because submerged leaves are not able to exchange atmospheric gases (mainly carbon dioxide and oxygen).  More commonly, producers will be faced with flooded or persistently saturated soil which has a negative impact on root ability to absorb nutrients. If the soil stays completely saturated for extended periods, root loss can occur.  Root cells in saturated soils are unable to exchange gases which can cause them to die.  Root loss amounts can vary depending on the length of time the soil is completely saturated.  Total root loss would result in plant death and total crop failure.  Partial root loss would result in lower plant performance and lower crop yields.

Excessively wet conditions can negatively affect crop production in other ways. Abnormally high amounts of rain can leach nutrients, especially nitrogen, from the soil. Nitrogen added to the soil in the form of granular fertilizer is especially vulnerable to leaching. If this occurs, farmers either have to incur the additional cost of reapplying fertilizer or experience the reduction in crop yield associated with nutrient deficiency.

Flooded or wet conditions can prevent farmers from accessing their fields with necessary equipment. Crop yields will fall dramatically if required crop care cannot be provided. Herbicides, pesticides and fungicides must all be sprayed at the correct time to maximize crop productivity and yield. Even if it is possible to spray crops later in the season after soil moisture reduces, the damage to crop yields will likely be done. Also, wet conditions and warm temperatures prevalent associated with summer flooding are perfect for fungal growth creating an even greater demand for effective crop care. It is important for growers with flood damaged crops to scout their fields for weed and disease problems so that a cost-benefit analysis can be taken as soon as fields are accessible.  The results of this analysis will determine if corrective action is economically feasible.

Flooded field in Washington County




Author: Mark Mauldin – mdm83@ufl.edu

Mark Mauldin

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2013/07/12/excessive-rain-creates-many-problems-for-growers/

Cold La Niña Surprises Meteorologists and Growers

Clyde Fraisse
Assistant Professor
University of Florida Agricultural and Biological Engineering

According to the NOAA National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), December 2010 was the 3rd coldest winter on record in the Southeast U.S. and the coldest on record in Florida and Georgia. The statewide temperature for December in Florida was more than 9oF (5oC) F below the 20th century average. In addition; several cities including Miami, West Palm Beach, Ft Lauderdale, Daytona, Orlando, Tampa, and Tallahassee had their coldest December on record. We had expected above average temps due to La Niña.

December temperature departure from normal – NOAA National Climatic Data Center. December 2010 was the third coldest December on record in the Southeast U.S. and the coldest on record in Florida and Georgia

A federal disaster declaration has been issued for two-thirds of Florida’s counties due to losses caused by frosts and freezes that occurred between Nov. 5 and Dec.17, most counties listed are located in central Florida. Farmers have eight months to apply for loans. Revenue assistance applications will be accepted later this year when the 2010 farm data are available.

The pattern that brought us the cold weather last winter in early January and February is the same one affecting us this year: the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). The NAO is a measure of surface pressure differences between the North Atlantic Ocean over Iceland and the tropical Atlantic near the Azores.  The NAO has been consistently in what scientists call its “negative” or “cold” phase, causing Arctic air to surge farther south into the Central and Eastern USA.  Circulation patterns over the higher latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere are also tracked with another index known as the Arctic Oscillation (AO), which has also been strongly and consistently negative.  When the NAO index is strongly negative like we have seen in the last two months, it can overwhelm the effects of the more well known El Niño/La Niña climate patterns.

You may be asking why no one predicted this. Unfortunately, NAO is more an indicator of the jet stream pattern over the Eastern U.S. and the North Atlantic, not a direct physical driver like El Niño/La Niña and temperatures of the Pacific Ocean.  Unlike El Niño and La Niña events, which can be predicted 6 months in advance, the NAO changes are not yet predictable on seasonal time scales. This causes problems with seasonal forecasts in general and in particular for the winter-season temperature forecast.  Medium-range weather prediction models are forecasting a break from this negative NOA pattern which would allow the strong La Niña to re-establish its influence over the weather patterns in the Southeast. Researchers are actively working on models that may eventually better predict the NAO shifts.

Panhandle Agriculture

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2012/02/03/cold-la-nina-surprises-meteorologists-and-growers/