UNIVERSITY OF THE VIRGIN ISL
I1 : HIMI
7 Virgin Islands
and Food Fair
Editor- Carrol B. Fleming "'
Editorial Assistant- Clarice C. Clarke P
Advertising- Sarah Dahl-Smith
Cover Design- George Staley,
Typesetting Eloise Burr
Pasteup & Layout-Jan Quigley
"Agriculture: Yesterday's Strength,
Today's Sustenance, Tomorrow's Security"
Jointly Sponsored By
The V.I. Department of Economic Development and Agriculture
The University of the Virgin Islands
Cooperative Extension Service Agricultural Experiment Station
This year's book cover was inspired by one of last year's school
booths. A special thank you goes to everyone at Claude O. Markoe
School who was involved with this colorful creative display.
While many people have contributed to this book, a few deserve
special mention: Dr. Darshan Padda for his interest and involvement;
Fred Davenport of Custom Photos for film processing; Rudy O'Reilly for
help with photos and technical information; the entire staff at Antilles
Graphic Arts, especially Bill, Henson, Frank, and St. Clair Berry.
Reprinting of articles is permitted as long as the Agriculture and Food Fair bulletin is credited; mention of product
names in this book in no way implies endorsement by the authors or by the Agricultre and Food Fair Board of
Directors. All photos not credited were taken by the editor.
A Publication of the 19th Annual
Agriculture and Food Fair
Bulletin Number 4
Table of Contents
1989 Fair Board of Directors .............................................. ..... ... .. v
Governor Alexander A. Farrelly's Message .......................................... vi
Dr. Arthur A. Richards' Message .......................................... ........ vii
Commissioner Eric E. Dawson's Message .......................................... viii
From Programs to Issues New Directions in Agricultural Research and Extension ........ 1
Dr. Darshan S. Padda
An Integrated Systems Approach to Farming in the Virgin Islands ........................ 7
Farming is Ecosystem Management .............................................. 9
Roland H. Wauer
Regrowth After Land Clearing .................................................... 11
P. Joy Michaud and Michael W. Michaud
The Effects of Foreign Trade & Economic Development on Agriculture
in the U.S. Virgin Islands ......................................... ................. 13
Water: A Key to Agricultural Productivity ............................................ 17
Adriano A. Navarro
Growing Orchids from Your Garden Chair Or Orchids for the Mobile
and Not So M obile .............................. .............................. 19
Lignum Vitae ..................................................................... 23
Rudy G. O'Reilly, Jr.
Guavaberry Pleasures ................................. .......................... 25
Toni A. Thomas
Fat in the Fast Food Lane .................................... ................... 29
Nan M. Lenhart
Puberty in Livestock ............................................................ 31
Raising Pigs in the Virgin Islands .... ........................... ................... 32
The Virgin Islands Longline Fishery .................................... ........... 35
Mariculture Potential in the Caribbean ............................................. 37
James E. Rakocy
Endangered Plants of the Virgin Islands: A Growing Concern ........................... 41
Belt Binding Banana Plants ......................................................... 45
John B. Stout
Broom-Making with Wild Tyre Palm ............................................... 47
Plant Pressing Crafts ......................... ....... .. .......................49
P. Joy Michaud
Some Nutritional Facts About Tropical Fruits and Vegetables .......................... 53
The St. Croix Environmental Association .........................................57
Methods to Kill Soil Pests ................................... ..................... 59
Photos .............................. ....................................... 62
1989 Agriculture and Food Fair Entertainment Schedule ............................ 74-75
1989 Agriculture and Food Fair
Board of Directors
Commissioner Eric E. Dawson
Dr. Darshan S. Padda
Henry P. Schuster
Division of Agriculture
Eric L. Bough
Director of Food Exhibits
Director of Plant and Crop Exhibits
Director of Livestock Exhibits
Dr. Duke Deller
Director of Publications and Promotions
Carrol B. Fleming
Director of Youth Activities
Rudy G. O'Reilly, Jr.
Director of Rules and Awards
Dr.Arthur C. Petersen, Jr.
Director of Special Activities
Claire L. Roker
Director of UVI Exhibits
Message from Honorable Alexander A. Farrelly
Governor of the Virgin Islands
Once again it is a pleasure to congratulate
the Board of Directors of the Agricultural
Food Fair, Commissioner Dawson, Dr.
Darshan Padda, and employees of the Depart-
ment of Economic Development and Agri- "o
culture, the University of the Virgin Islands, the farmers and the exhibitors,
who have spent a great deal of time and effort to bring these educational
opportunities to our community.
This year, the 19th Annual Agriculture and Food Fair theme is "Agricul-
ture: Yesterday's Strength, Today's Sustenance, Tomorrow's Security." As I
stated last year "I am optimistic that with sound business principles, agri-
culture will not only survive but flourish. It will develop economically in the
Virgin Islands both in terms of finances and in terms of land use."
Agriculture is admittedly a complex business. Success depends upon
education and technology, as well as rainfall, soil fertility and of course, hard
work. Yet, we here in the Virgin Islands can succeed, and indeed, we have.
I urge all the people of our islands to avail themselves of the outstanding
educational and informative exhibits that reflect the potentials and oppor-
tunities that are available in the field of food and agriculture.
My best wishes to all for a very successful Fair.
Alexander A. Farrelly
Message from Dr. Arthur A. Richards
President, University of the Virgin Islands
Welcome to the 19th Annual Agriculture
and Food Fair. It is again time to reflect upon
our rich agricultural heritage within the appro-
priate contest of new technologies and limited
natural resources. Indeed, this year's theme,
"Agriculture: Yesterday's Strength, Today's Sustenance, Tomorrow's
Security," echoes this ongoing concern.
This year, the University of the Virgin Islands exhibits focus on sustainable
agriculture. Sustainable agriculture looks to the future and aims to protect
the environment in which it works. This is an extremely important concern
for us on small islands with limited natural resources. The problem of pesti-
cide residues and pesticide contaminated foods are real and pressing
problems of the agriculture industry. UVI, as always, is making every effort
to educate you, the public, in these important areas.
UVI's Research and Land-Grant Programs component the Agricultural
Experiment Station, the Cooperative Extension Service and the Caribbean
Research Institute continue to offer Virgin Islanders both technical and
practical information. Research-based information, in the areas of agricul-
ture, home economics, natural resources, 4-H youth development, com-
munity resource development, water resources, the environment, and the
social sciences, is disseminated by our institution.
As President of the University, I urge all Fairgoers to enjoy the Fair and
to learn from our research in order that agriculture and natural resources
here in the Virgin Islands would indeed provide tomorrow's economic
Arthur A. Richards
Message from Commissioner Eric E. Dawson
Department of Economic Development
Agrifest '89 is a wonderful opportunity for
the entire community to realize what a viable
business agriculture is to the Territory. This
year's theme is appropriate, "Agriculture:
Yesterday's Strength, Today's Sustenance,
Thanks to the Executive Committee and all of the exhibitors who have
put their many efforts and resources into making this, the 19th Annual Agri-
culture and Food Fair, a great success. I am privileged to have been an
active participant in the capacity of Commissioner of Economic Develop-
ment and Agriculture.
Hoping that everyone who enjoys the Fair will leave with a better appre-
ciation of this vital business.
Eric E. Dawson
From Programs To Issues -
New Directions In Agricultural
Research And Extension
Darshan S. Padda
Vice President for Research and Land-Grant Affairs
University of the Virgin Islands
After over 125 years of dealing with agricultural research
and education, the land-grant university system is broaden-
ing and refocusing its scope to encompass new needs and
technologies. The present land-grant system was created
through three significant pieces of legislation: the 1862
Morrill Act established the state colleges of agriculture to
provide instruction to students; the Hatch Act of 1887
added the research mission by establishing an agricultural
experiment station at each land-grant college; and the Smith
Lever Act of 1914 added the Extension Service. Thus,
teaching, research and extension became the three missions
of the land-grant colleges.
As times have changed, so have the structures of the land-
grant university system. The past century has seen in-
creasing consumer demands, emerging technologies, and
developing social and cultural pressures. The old system,
which met its mandate well, is now shifting to meet these new
Initially, the research work at the experiment stations of
the land-grant universities was conducted in broad areas of
agricultural chemistry, botany, zoology and economics.
However, with the expansion of agricultural industry and an
increase in the sophistication of consumer demands for food
and other agricultural commodities, these once-traditional
schools of agriculture went in the direction of extreme spe-
cialization. The emphasis now varies from specialty com-
modities like ornamental horticulture crops, to concerns of
consumer education, family well-being and human nutrition.
These expanded areas of research and education have
successfully served the needs of producers and consumers
The very success of agricultural production that has
resulted from new research, technology and education has
raised some major concerns.
Agriculture's natural resource base soil, water, forests
and biological diversity is at risk and endangers human, as
well as animal, health. Soil erosion, water contamination,
droughts, and lack of integrated agricultural systems are
major regional, national and international concerns.
The subject matter-based departments discourage inter-
disciplinary approaches to solve societal issues that need
multi-discipline expertise. Additionally, core sciences basic
to agriculture need special emphasis to ensure the steady
flow of basic knowledge to support mission-oriented work.
If research is to meet the changing needs of society, the
major transition that is occurring in the agricultural sciences
must evolve further. In consideration of this, a national ini-
tiative to focus research on national agricultural issues is
being proposed by the Board on Agriculture of the National
Research Council. This initiative places emphasis on the
opportunities to use the sciences basic to agriculture to
augment ongoing agricultural research.
The issues proposed under the initiative include:
1. Maintain and protect water quality and quantity
3. Genetic improvement of economically important
4. Sustaining soil productivity
5. Improved management of agricultural and forest crop
pests and diseases
6. Food processing, preservation and quality
7. New and expanded uses for agricultural and forest
8. Animal efficiency in food production
9. Animal health and disease
10. Interrelationships of food and the nutritional and
health status of people
It is hoped that the issues-based initiative will provide a
balanced approach to solving societal problems and will help
maintain and conserve our natural resources. The relation-
In the area of Extension education, similar developments
have taken place. The Cooperative Extension Service ini-
tially consisted of the agriculture and home economics
programs. However, over the years, the educational effort
was expanded to cover additional programs in 4-H youth
development, natural resources, and community and rural
development. The Cooperative Extension Service has a
proud history of delivering research-based information to the
general public and in assisting people to improve their quality
of life. Recognizing the success of the Cooperative Extension
system, the American people have asked that the focus of
this unique educational system should not be limited to agri-
culture and rural development only, but rather that Exten-
sion should work on broader national societal issues.
In response to public demand, the Cooperative Extension
system began the national initiatives process in 1986. The
purpose of the initiatives was to emphasize the efficiency,
accountability and clarity of the Extension's public mission,
and to move the Extension system into a more pro-active role
as an innovator. Through the identification of nine national
priority initiatives, the Cooperative Extension Service
signaled a change in the direction with the creation of a new
ship between the ongoing programs at the University of the
Virgin Islands/Agricultural Experiment Station and the pro-
posed national issues is presented in Figure I.
agenda which addresses the national issues essential to the
social and economic well-being of all citizens. The nine
1. Competitiveness and profitability of American
2. Alternative agricultural opportunities
3. Water quality
4. Conservation and management of natural resources
5. Revitalizing rural America
6. Improving nutrition, diet and health
7. Family and economic well-being
8. Building human capital
9. Youth at risk
The relationship between the five programs of Extension
that are ongoing in the Virgin Islands and the proposed new
national initiatives are presented in Figure II.
FIGURE 1: RESEARCH PROGRAMS AND ISSUES
Maintain and protect water quality
x x x x
Biotechnology x x x x x
Genetic improvement of
economically important plants
Sustaining soil productivity x x x
Improved management of agricultural and x x
forest crop pests and diseases
Food processing, preservation and quality
New and expanded uses for agricultural and
Animal efficiency in food production x
Animal health and disease x x
Interrelationships of food and the nutritional x x x
and health status of people
The Virgin Islands Agricultural Experiment Station and the
Cooperative Extension Service, the research and public
service land-grant functions of the University of the Virgin
Islands since 1972, will actively participate in these national
initiatives. However, only the issues relevant to us here in the
Virgin Islands will receive emphasis in our work. Our Exten-
sion plans of work are developed locally, keeping in mind the
needs of the Virgin Islands community. Although these plans
are approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture before
funds are released, the focus on the relevance of the projects
to local needs is a priority.
The various approved agricultural research and extension
projects that are underway in the U.S. Virgin Islands are
presented in Table I.
TABLE I: AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND EXTENSION PROJECTS IN THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
Agricultural Experiment Station
* Develop agronomic techniques to
improve sward establishment in the
* Study and analyses of management
systems for native grasslands in
* Evaluation of reproductive potential
of tropical V.I. sheep
* Efficiency of hair sheep production
in the U.S. Virgin Islands
*Epidemiology and control of
parasitic gastroenteritis of sheep
on St. Croix
* Increasing prolificacy in sheep and
its impact on nutritional needs
SCage culture of tilapia
*Commercial scale recirculating
systems for vegetable hydroponics
and intensive tilapia culture
Performance of yam, cassava and
sweet potato in the U.S. Virgin
Water use for small farming systems
in the tropics
Trickle irrigation in humid regions
*Improving field production of herbs
*Vegetable varietal evaluation for
adaptation and horticultural
Improvement of fruit production in
Iron sources application evaluations
and propagation analyses on
selected pineapple varieties
Study of mango flowering to reduce
* Influences of agricultural marketing
and farm operations in the U.S V I.
FIGURE II: EXTENSION PROGRAMS AND ISSUES /
NATIONAL ISSUES O
Competitiveness and profitability of
American agriculture x x
Alternative agricultural opportunities x x x
Water quality x x
Conservation and management of natural
Revitalizing rural America x x x
Improving nutrition, diet and health x
Family and economic well-being x
Building human capital x x
Youth at risk x x
Cooperative Extension Service
* Small livestock production
* Food crop production management
SHome garden programs
SFruit and ornamental propagation
* Soil testing and mapping
* Beef and dairy cattle production
*New crops production
SForage and feed grain production
SPesticide applicator training
* Effects of drip irrigation
* Economic study of small-scale
Improving agricultural marketing
0 Farm management systems
Feasibility of three tropical crops
Extension publications and
SSummer camp program
Food and nutrition program
Ibfc~-i llIf r
It is interesting to note that the majority of national re-
search and Extension issues are very relevant to our
situation here, and we look forward to serving the Virgin
Islands community by addressing the local issues. The
University of the Virgin Islands is a public institution of
higher education, and we urge all the Virgin Islands resi-
dents to utilize the services available.
An Extension Service team weighs local cattle regularly. Dr. Darshan S. Padda (right) looks on.
* Family resource management
* Family strengths personal growth
*Expanded food and nutrition
* Food nutrition and health
* Insect natural history youth
*Natural resources information
*Pasture range improvement and
* Terrestial flora and forest resources
Pesticide information program
General pest management outreach
Integrated pest management in
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A// interested producers with Senepol Cattle are strongly encouraged to
become members and register their cattle with the Senepol Association.
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An Integrated Systems Approach
To Farming In The Virgin Islands
Recently, a great deal of emphasis has been placed on the
farm as a system (French et al, 1984; Pemberton, 1987;
Ruthenberg, H. 1980). It has been noted that the farm is a
complex system that is dependent on all the component
parts for proper functioning. For example, in the human
body, individual parts co-exist and interrelate to perform dif-
ficult tasks or functions. Likewise, on the farm, normally
several components co-exist and interrelate. These elements
need to be coordinated before the farm can function properly.
In view of this need, the systems approach has been suggested
as one of the most appropriate strategies for upgrading
agriculture in the Virgin Islands.
What are the major components of a farming system? Is
this approach beneficial to farmers in the Virgin Islands? The
three major components of a farming system are the farm,
the home of the farmer, and the external factors that affect
the farmer (Figure 1).
The major system is the farm, which consists of the
resources (land, labor and capital) that the farmer has under
his or her control to carry out enterprises (farm ventures).
The enterprises form a number of sub-systems (crop and live-
stock), described as the enterprises sub-systems, of which
one is usually dominant and the others subsidiary. There may
be several subsidiary enterprises such as poultry, goat and
fruit crops. The second major component of a farming
system is the home. The home sub-system interacts with the
farm in that it may provide all or most of the labor for the
farm. In addition, non-farm income may be invested in the
farm to finance farm operations. Income from farm oper-
ations is also used in the home to purchase household goods.
Thus, the demands of the farm and the home may come into
conflict in the use of income and therefore, must be properly
Figure 1. The Farming System
Farm External sub-system
System (weather, govt policy,
(land, labor theft, physical nfra-
The external sub-system is comprised of factors outside
the control of the farmer that affect activities in farming.
Some of these factors are weather, physical infrastructure
Although farmers have no control over the external factors
relating to the farm, they must obtain the information or skills
in forecasting changes in these factors, and take appropriate
action to prevent catastrophic effects.
The systems approach to farming in the Virgin Islands will
be beneficial to farmers as well as in research and extension
work because it is designed to rapidly identify specific prob-
lems faced by the farmer; develop alternative and systematic
solutions to these problems; test, demonstrate and evaluate
the alternative solutions under farm conditions, and dis-
seminate the appropriate technology to farmers through
show-and-tell educational activities.
In the Virgin Islands, most farmers tend to think that agri-
culture is production alone. But, to develop a farm on a
sustained basis, production, management, and marketing
must be considered as equally important and interdependent
functions (Padda, D.S. 1987). We have seen a number of
farmers go out of business in the Virgin Islands largely
because production was emphasized without sufficient con-
sideration to marketing or the overall management of the
Another problem is that, until recently, extension workers
generally have taken a component, disciplinary approach in
disseminating information to farmers. The farmers then have
the decision-making problem of selecting the appropriate
techniques as they relate to production, management and
marketing. This is particularly true when farmers attempt to
incorporate new technological practices into their produc-
tion systems. Beginning in the summer of 1988, the UVI-CES
and VIEDA agreed to cooperate in carrying out a pilot-scale
IFS project which will emphasize the coordination of farmers
production, management and marketing, using appropriate
technology, with the goal of contributing significantly to the
strengthening of agriculture in the Territory.
Technical back-up is being provided' by the University of
the Virgin Islands Agriculture Experiment Station (UVI-AES).
Other cooperators include U.S. Department of Agriculture
Soil Conservation Service (SCS), and Agriculture Stabiliza-
tion and Conservation Service (ASCS), Farmers Home
Administration (FmHA), and Small Business Development
Agency (SBDA). This project is designed to facilitate the
coordination of multi-disciplinary efforts promoting com-
petitive and profitable farming in the Virgin Islands.
A recent survey by the VIDA shows that there are about
300 farms in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Cultivation practices are
traditional and farming is predominantly small scale. Sixty-
two percent (62%) of these farms are under ten acres and 90%
of the farmers are black and hispanic, over 49 years of age,
and operate on a part-time basis with limited resources. In
addition, agricultural production costs are high, the average
annual rainfall of 40 inches is unevenly distributed and insuf-
ficient to maximize economic yield, and a number of tropical
pests and diseases reduce crop yield by 35 45%.
After assessing the situation thoroughly, the interdisci-
plinary team came up with tour main objectives. They are to:
1) Work with existing and new farmers to development
several demonstration farms in crop and livestock produc-
tion, emphasizing adaptation of low-input farming and other
appropriate techniques. 2) Significantly increase productivity
and profitability on the selected farms. 3) Develop an appro-
priate marketing system for the orderly disposal of the
produce. 4) Use the selected farms to demonstrate the effec-
tiveness of integrated farming systems to educate the rest of
the farming community.
Preliminary Progress Report
Six farmers have been initially selected to participate in the
project based on carefully planned criteria established by
members of the inter-disciplinary team. This team consists of
specialists from various disciplines including Horticulture,
Animal Science, Soil Science, Economics, Pest Manage-
ment, Agricultural Engineering, and Marketing. Informal
surveys were conducted to develop an understanding of each
producer's farming system. Farm plans were completed for
the participating producers with technical assistance from
SCS and ASCS. Farmers Home Administration and SBDA
were instrumental in providing low interest operational loans
to farmers who needed such loans.
Commitments were solicited from both the farmers and
four major wholesale food outlets to produce and purchase
an agreed amount of produce (tomatoes and cucumbers) for
a three month trial basis. Both parties have agreed to con-
tinue doing business in the future providing that each party
satisfactorily fulfilled his/her initial commitment. To ensure
success of the project, the inter-disciplinary teams are
providing continuous training and technical assistance to the
farmers, utilizing available resources and low-input and other
appropriate agricultural techniques in the areas of crops,
livestock, soil, drip irrigation, pest management, record
keeping and marketing.
Production schedules have been developed for selected
crops, which include a timetable of operations from seedling
production to harvesting, total expected yield per area, and
distribution curve of expected yield per week. Low cost-
efficient drip irrigation systems were designed, selected and
installed on the farmers' fields with technical assistance from
appropriate AES specialists. Based on the farmers past
experience with so-called traditional methods of watering
The integrated systems approach to farming includes sub-
systems like the home and livestock.
and information provided by appropriate team specialists on
the advantages of drip irrigation systems, all the participating
farmers agreed that the low cost-efficient drip irrigation tech-
nology was appropriate to their farming systems.
Through informal interviews and observations, the team
was able to learn more about each farmer's values, opinions
and knowledge of farming. We came to understand how
important and integral a part of the system the home is since
the home possesses the resources of labor, management
skills and investment money. The informal interviews served
as a valuable tool in understanding the reasons underlying
certain management strategies by the farmer. Each farmer's
situation was analyzed as a separate case. This strategy
directed our attention to the individual farmer's system, as
closer contacts were made with the farm-family. This,
hopefully, will impact positively in helping in the decision-
making processes of the total system and thus will impact
positively in increasing productivity and total farm income at
the farm-home level.
1. French, E.C.; E. Martinez, D.L. Schmidt, 1984. Farming Sys-
tems: An effective methodology for rapid agricultural change.
Proc. 20th CFCS 107-110.
2. Pemberton, C.A. 1988. A systems approach to technology in
agriculture. The University of the West Indies Extension News-
letter. Vol. 19 No. 1: 8-10.
3. Padda, D.S. 1987. Complexities of Agricultural Development in
the Caribbean. V.I. Agriculture & Food Fair Bulletin 2: 11-12.
4. Ruthenberg, H. 1980. Farming systems in the tropics. Claredon
Press, Oxford. 424.
Farming Is Ecosystem Management
Roland H. Wauer
National Park Service
Little fish have bigger fish
That feed on them and bite 'em
And big fish have still bigger fish -.-_-_---
And so, ad infinitum.
When Jonathan Swift, best known as the author of
"Gulliver's Travels," penned the above lines, he probably was
not thinking about ecosystems management. But his little
fish poem relates very well to one important ecological prin-
ciple that people too often ignore in their everyday lives:
"Everything we do is connected to everything else."
Good farming, like good ecosystem management is an art,
requiring applied talent, dedication, sensitivity, responsibility,
ambition, pride, and a genuine concern for the future; qual-
ities that seem to be fading in our present society. Ties with
the land are also being broken by specialization, tendencies
to divorce work from pleasure and to measure happiness
monetarily, and depreciation of creativeness through loss of
Many of our most successful farmers have learned to
utilize nature's laws in their daily lives. These principles apply
to anyone who depends upon nature for his livelihood. As
early as 1770, d'Holbach stated it differently, "The unhappi-
ness of man is due to his ignorance of nature."
When human beings began to farm the land in neolithic
times, they began a practice where success depended upon
how well the practice conformed to ecological principles. The
success of the old-style general farm was a well-managed
ecosystem. The manure of horses and oxen used for power
was left on the pasture where it fell, or the farmer hauled it out
of the barn and spread it across the landscape. Other animal
wastes, from cows, sheep and hogs, for instance, were simi-
larly recycled. Honeybees kept in the orchard or field
improved the yield of crops that will not bear fruit unless polli-
nated by insects and, at the same time, furnished sweets for
the household. Hedgerows and the adjacent brush furnished
cover for birds that helped keep down the pest populations.
Today's modern commercial farm may score far higher in
economic efficiency than the old-style farm, but for low levels
of unwanted side effects the general farm of the past would be
hard to beat. The challenge facing farmers today is to find a
way of managing agricultural ecosystems in such a way that
will simultaneously achieve, as far as possible, both the low
levels of pollution generated by the old-style farm and the
greatest possible efficiency of modern agriculture. The
format of that success can only take effect when the land is
managed as nearly as possible as a natural ecosystem.
Too many farms today are taking more money and energy
than can be gained from the crops produced. Expenditures
for fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, and sophisticated
machinery are exceeding the amounts of energy and the
profits derived from the crops produced. When that is
coupled with increasing costs of obtaining water, skyrocket-
ing costs of land, and higher costs of farm loans, it leads to
disaster as evidenced by the high rate of bankruptcy among
All of this leads to the first rule of ecosystem management:
"one must not put unlimited, unending, and unreal demands
on the environment which will degrade the landbase beyond
its natural ability to restore itself." The use of the numerous,
"fabulous" chemicals available today is likely to create even
more long-term hazards.
Another important ecological principle is that "nature will
win in the end." This concept relates to the need to comply
with nature in every way possible, rather than trying to go
against it. Nature has predictable patterns that we must
utilize for our success. Weather is one good example. The
success or failure of a crop depends upon those natural
patterns. Certain limiting factors repeatedly prevent certain
development. To go against those factors is not only unwise
but all results eventually will fail. Nature always will win in the
An ecological concept that farmers should understand is
that of retaining or encouraging resource diversity. The rela-
tive stability of a community increases with the total amount
of life, variations of organisms and ages, and the variety and
kind of successful stages present. Another way of stating the
same principle is, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket."
Pests, diseases and drought are less likely to effect a variety
of crops than they are a single crop. Monocultures (single
species dominating) and simple vegetation types (low diver-
sity) are more commonly subject to natural catastrophes.
Native plant growth that has become established in a given
region through time is the best adapted vegetation for that
location. If the native vegetation which flourishes without
human assistance is replaced with cultivated or non-native
plants, maximum efforts and energy are usually required to
maintain minimum productivity, stability, and continuance.
The purposeful or unintentional destruction of the native
OPEN Mon. Fri. 8:00 5:30
Saturday 8:00 4:30
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vegetation is often an irreversible loss and a lasting commit-
ment of maintenance. The most successful farm crops, in the
long-term, are those that are similar or as closely related to
native plants as possible.
Aldo Leopold, in writing about a conservative land use,
stated, "A land ethic., reflects the existence of an ecological
conscience, and this in turn reflects a conviction of the indi-
vidual responsibility for the health of the land. Health is the
capacity of the land for self-renewal. Conservation is our
effort to understand and preserve this capacity."
rate t/ SpziKt
Regrowth After Land Clearing
P. Joy Michaud and Michael W. Michaud
UVI-CES and UVI-AES
In the past few years it has become a common sight in
St.Croix to see scrubland being cleared. The majority of
this land is destined for commercial or housing develop-
ment, though some is for agricultural purposes. Whatever
the proposed use, the plant regrowth that follows is an
important consideration in the subsequent management of
The species of plants that occupied the land before clear-
ing determine the composition of regrowth. On St.Croix,
the most common type of scrubland is composed of tan tan
(Leucaena leucocephala) and/or casha (Acacia spp.)
shrubs with guinea grass, a shade tolerant grass, domi-
nating the understory. All three are copious seed producers
and, if left undisturbed for a few years, will develop a sub-
stantial reservoir of seed in the soil.
Land clearing is typically carried out by a bulldozer. The
trees are knocked over and left in large piles to dry for
burning at a later date. During the process, the guinea grass
plants are destroyed and the soil surface is scraped leaving
the ground bare except for some stumps of tan tan.
The ground, however, does not remain bare for long. The
seed reservoir soon produces a new stand of young guinea
grass, tan tan, and casha plants as well as varying amounts
of other weeds. To study this regeneration, newly germi-
nated plants were counted a few weeks after a typical scrub-
land was cleared. Guinea grass seedlings were found to be
present at this site at an average population of 2.6 plants per
square foot (112,167 plants/acre), while the average tan tan
and casha populations were 11.3 and 1.0 plants per square
foot (493,317 and 44,649/acre) respectively.
At these rates of population complete ground cover is
easily accomplished within three months, depending on
rainfall. The recorded guinea grass seedling population of
2.6 plants per square foot (which is low compared to many
regrowth areas) ensures that the regrowth will be domi-
nated by the grass. Despite their numbers, the woody tan
tan and casha shrubs initially have difficulty competing with
the vigorous growth of guinea grass and judicious cuts with
careful management can ensure a long-term, almost shrub-
free, vegetative cover. Without some form of check on their
growth, though, the tan tan and casha would eventually
regain their former dominance and scrubland similar to the
original one would develop.
The plants that regenerate from seed in the first few
weeks after clearing, however, represent only part of the
seed found in the soil. Large numbers of seeds remain un-
germinated due, in part, to their physiological make-up. For
example, fresh guinea grass seed needs a year to reach
physiological maturity before it can germinate, while tan tan
and casha seeds have a hard coat that normally prevents
them from germinating for many years.
In the same regeneration study described earlier, un-
germinated tan tan and casha seeds were separated from
soil samples taken from the cleared area. The seed
numbers, which were 950 and 400 per square foot
(41,382,000 and 17,424,000/acre) respectively, clearly indi-
cate the tremendous populations that remain in the soil
which are likely to cause problems for years in the future.
Due to their small size, the number of ungerminated grass
seeds remaining in the soil, which could be considerably
greater than the tan tan or casha, could not be determined.
It is, therefore, clear that in most land clearing situations
in St. Croix guinea grass can be expected to initially be the
dominant species in the immediate regrowth. Woody
shrubs, which are also likely to be present in large numbers,
germinate less vigorously and may never dominate the
vegetation if management repeatedly checks their growth
reducing their competitiveness with the guinea grass still
Whether the inevitable guinea grass regrowth is desirable
or troublesome depends on the intended use of the cleared
land. If it is for pastures then a highly productive pasture can
be established with a minimum of effort and money (exclud-
ing the cost of clearing). Indeed, it would be strongly recom-
mended not to sow any grass seed on the bare ground after
clearing because the commercial seed would not be able to
compete with the vigorous local guinea grass. However, if
the land is intended for cultivated crops, or, as is most
common now, for development then the regrowth vegeta-
tion will be a nuisance and steps must be taken to eliminate
the guinea grass, tan tan and casha before any contempla-
tion of planting a lawn or garden is realistic.
CORN HILL FARM.....
MON BIJOU FARM.....
MOUNTAIN MINT FARM
SIGHT FARM ........
.. .. HENRY NELTHROPP
... RICHARD RIDGW- A
.... .CHARLES SCHUSTER
....... ST. CROIX DAIRY
VIRGIN ISLANDS DAIRYMEN'S ASSOC.
"The Best is Fresh
Effects Of Foreign Trade
& Economic Development On
Agriculture In The U.S. Virgin Islands
In centrally planned economies and in most developing
countries, government intervention in import function is very
stringent. No other commodity is monitored as closely as
agricultural products. Many countries deliberately regulate
the flow of agricultural imports in order to maintain a stable
internal price level and to protect their domestic producers
from competition against lower priced imports. These con-
trolling instruments include tariffs, quotas, sanctions, mini-
mum import taxes, and mixing regulations.
The U.S.Virgin Islands is one of the few developing coun-
tries that does not engage in agriculture trade barriers. Thus,
it is not surprising that a region which was once dubbed the
"The Garden of the West Indies," is currently categorized as
one of the most open economies in the world and imports
over 90% of its foods. A recent compilation of trade statistics
by the V.I. Department of Economic Development and
Agriculture shows that in 1986 the V.I. imported $1.2 billion
from seventy-one (71) foreign countries, and $1.4 billion
from the United States. These foreign imports consisted of
crude oil and a wide variety of supplies from countries as far
away as Iceland, Chile, USSR, and South Africa. That same
year, food imports which came mainly from the U.S.
amounted to $120 million.
This outward orientation for the supply of food com-
modities has counteracting effects between consumers and
agricultural producers, but the practice does provide equili-
brium at the microeconomics level. In general, the outward-
orientation strategy purports improvement of consumer
welfare by (1) providing a greater variety of consumable
products; (2) lowering cost of living on the assumption that
import prices are lower than domestic prices; and (3), pro-
viding continuous food supplies in the event of crop failures
at the domestic farms.
Domestic producers are not so optimistic. The concept of
outward orientation is refuted on the pretext that it (1) pro-
motes social and economic burdens by creating unemploy-
ment in the agricultural sector; (2) it destroys traditional
norms and values; and (3) it amplifies the problem of food
security in the event of war or a natural catastrophe.
In defending its outward orientation food supply strategy,
the U.S.V.I. must be envied by many developing nations.
Firstly, the V.I. population increased from 75,151 in 1970 to
109,500 in 1986, and income per capital increased contin-
uously from $322 to to $7,811 during the same period (Fig. 1).
Figure. INCOME PER CAPITAL
U.S VIRGIN ISLANDS
'970 17' 1986
One observation about income per capital is, as a society
becomes more affluent, consumption pattern changes
towards more intake of proteins, fiber, canned and preserved
products, and there is also a general trend towards consump-
tion for enjoyment as well as for nutrition. This fact, coupled
with a rapid population increase would have forced any
country to seek external sources to supplement domestic
production. In the Virgin Islands where production is already
sub-marginal, food importation is inevitable. During the
period 1970 1986 food imports increased from M$37 to
M$120 and consumption per capital increased from $497 to
Secondly, in its new perspective, the V.I. is also described
as one of the most cosmopolitan regions in the world, and this
of itself has created a built-in demand for a variety of foods.
Third, the importation of these foods from the U.S. is facili-
tated by U.S. federal laws which prohibits the levying of
(barrier) taxes and dues on inter-state commerce.
Fourth, the V.I. food security is embraced within that of the
U.S. Ironically, while the U.S. Food Security Act of 1985
advocates an export-oriented thrust, the V.I. imports 95%b of
its needs. But given the close proximity of the V.I. to the U.S.,
and given that the national security of the V.I. is also bound
to that of the U.S., the issue of food security in the V.I. is of
negligible concern. Unlike many developing countries, the
V.I. is rather fortunate by the fact that it does not have
to contend with the problem of foreign exchange to cover
Figure 2. COMPARATIVE LABOR E VPLO'Vl'ENT
U.S. V!PGIN ISLANDS '917 1985
0-____________________________^'*-~---------- B~.~----_^ |
917 1953 1 950 1 96C '970 980 1 95
0 Agr. + ulkuf. 0 Se r. M TmcaA r ln r
While these arguments continue, one fundamental point of
the inward-oriented proponent must be underscored that
beyond national security one of the greatest prides of a
country is its ability to produce its own food.
Economic development has also had its impact on agri-
culture in the Virgin Islands. Historically, agriculture has
often been instrumental in initiating economic growth, and
eventually this leading role shifts to other sectors of the
economy. During a typical transformation from agriculture to
manufacturing, agriculture makes several contributions such
as providing food for the urban population; raw material for
industry; markets for some of the industrial products; rev-
It can be argued then, that as the number of (people)
employed in agriculture declined, food production also
decreased. This statement however, is not a foregoing con-
clusion. In 1940, for example, the United States had 6.35
million farms and each farmer produced food and fiber for
18.5 people. By 1986, the number of farms reduced to 2.17
million but the average farmer produced enough food and
fiber for 112 people. Scholars described the change as a shift
in agriculture from being a sector of low productivity growth
to a sector of highest growth of labor productivity.
Meanwhile, during the last decade in the Virgin Islands, the
growth of light industries, the expansion of the tourist trade,
increase demand for commercial, civic and social infrastruc-
tures, and more recently, real estate development and con-
struction of hotels, condominiums, and luxury villas have put
very high premium on the value of land. As a result, the
opportunity, cost of labor, land, and capital have become too
competitive for the agriculture industry and investment re-
sources are reallocated to more productive and lucrative
enue for the state; and foreign exchange to cover import
requirement of industrialization.
The V.I. experience is an exception to the above princi-
ples. With the closing of the last sugar factory in 1965,
massive off-shore capital was injected into the V.I. economy
towards petroleum and alumina processing and this resulted
in a transformation of employment from agriculture to indus-
tries and services as shown in Fig. 3. Of significant impor-
tance also is the labor distribution pattern shown in Fig. 4 a
reduction in the agriculture labor force is offset by equal
increases in total employment in the other economic factors.
Successful continuation of agriculture in the territory is still
possible and practical, but farmers need new initiative along
with the application of appropriate technologies, and their
efforts must be supported by committed public policy.
Chenery, Hollis; Sherman Robinson; and Moshe Syrquin. Indus-
trialization and Growth. World Band Publication, Oxford Univer-
sity Press, 1986.
Burfisher, Mary. How the Dollar's Value Affects U.S. Farm
Exports to Developing Countries. USDA Foreign Agricultural Eco-
nomic Report, No. 237.
Middaugh, Alan R. Successful Selling Abroad: The Agricultural
Development Program. USDA 1987 Annual Agricultural Outlook
USDA. Agriculture Yesterday & Today. U.S. Government
Printing Office, 1987.
U.S. Department of Commerce. USVI 1982 Census of Agricul-
ture. UVI/CES-CRD. CES Date Base.
COMPARATIVE LABOR EMPLOYMENT
US.VIRGIN ISLANDS 1917 1985
1917 19.0 1950 1960 1970 1980 1985
0 Agri. + Tot' l Cther Emp.
4-G Sion Farm
Island Dairies Milk is 100% pure milk,
directly from the cows.
(/z pints, quarts, /2 gallons, 6 gallon)
('2 pint, 10 oz., '/ gallon)
Ice Lemon Tea
ICE CREAM (4 oz., pint, quart, V2 gallon, 2 gallon)
Vanilla Butter Almond
Rum Raisin Frozen Fruit
Pistachio Cherry Vanilla
Coffee Chocolate Chip
Butter Pecan Banana
Fruitiki Super Star Fudge
Richwich Ice Cream Sandwich
Deluxe Ice Cream Bar
Water: A Key To Agricultural
Adriano A. Navarro
UVI-AES Olericulture Program Leader
Water, a good quality water suitable for agricultural use, is
one of the most important constraints in expanding agricul-
tural production in the U.S. Virgin Islands. At the present
time, most farmers are unable to raise crops profitably and
expand their production because of the lack of good water.
There are also thousands of acres of land in St.Croix which
could be brought into the production of fruits and vegetables
if proper water were available.
An actively growing plant contains more water than solids.
Water serves plants in many ways. In addition to being a con-
stituent of a plant's chemical and physical structures, it
performs the vital function of protecting plants from the heat
of the sun. If the supply of water is depleted, a plant will even-
tually wilt and die. Although plants are able to tolerate
periods of drought (some species of plants are more drought
resistant than others), it is not without cost to the plants.
Shortage of water is reflected by growth retardation and in
the case of economic plants like vegetables and fruits, short-
age of water could mean decreased yields and, in most cases,
yields of poor quality.
Water is not an abundant resource in the U.S. Virgin
Islands. We have an average rainfall estimated at approxi-
mately 40 inches a year in St. Croix, which is roughly equiva-
lent to 150 million gallons per day. At first glance, this amount
of rainfall or amount of water may seem astronomical. But
because of our hot climate and an almost constant wind
movement over the islands, most of this water is lost back to
the atmosphere by evaporation from land or water surface
and through transpiration by existing vegetation. It is esti-
mated that of the total rainfall, only about 1 to 3% or 1.5 to 4.5
million gallons per day are absorbed by the soil and replenish
our underground aquifer. It is further estimated that another
1% or approximately 1.5 million gallons per day flow overland
back to the ocean. Another factor that contributes to our
water shortage problem is the uneven distribution of rainfall.
There are times when rainfall lasts for 3 to 4 months, and dry
periods prevail the rest of the year.
Most of our underground or ground water has high salt
content which makes it unsuitable for irrigation. Water that
has more than 2,100 parts per million of salts of various
minerals can injure most crops. Continued use of salty or
brackish water without proper precautions, can result in
serious soil damage due to salt build up.
Salt spray from ocean water and the dissolution of salt-
forming minerals are the two main causes of salty ground
water. Encroachment of sea water into the aquifer, which is
Drip irrigation works well in the Virgin Islands.
usually brought about by overpumping of wells, is another
Water supply for agriculture cannot be met by desalinating
brackish or sea water. This process is too expensive for our
agricultural system. One possible solution is to build up our
underground water resource. It may be recalled in the pre-
ceding discussions that approximately 1.5 million gallons per
day flow overland back to the ocean. If part of this water is
trapped by means of dams and other types of catchments, so
that the rain water, instead of flowing back to the ocean, will
be stored for immediate use or to replenish our underground
aquifer, it would mean a considerable amount of available
water. Assuming that 50% of this water, a conservative esti-
mate, could be recovered, it would mean an additional supply
of approximately 750,000 gallons per day.
In an irrigation study conducted at the Agricultural Exper-
iment Station of the University of the Virgin Islands, it was
found that 5 millimeters of water per week or approximately
64,000 gallons of water would be sufficient to raise an acre of a
good crop of tomatoes. With 750,000 gallons of water per
day, it is possible to raise approximately a thousand acres of
tomatoes. For shorter-season crops like cucumbers or
lettuce, the acreage that could be planted and irrigated could
be increased to more than twice as much.
Building dams is an expensive proposition. It would require
government leadership to undertake such a project. But in
the long run, it may be the most logical solution to our agri-
culture as well as our domestic water supply problem.
Another solution is the construction of closed catchments
similar to home cisterns. Here again, costs and financing are
the problems. A 200,000-gallon cistern may cost upwards of
$50,000 to build. This is beyond the reach of most farmers.
Government loans and assistance will be required if this alter-
native is to be considered.
There is also a need for governmental policies and regu-
lations, which are aimed at conserving and protecting our
ground water resource. Pumping of wells should be regulated
to minimize waste, and avoid overpumping that could result
in the encroachment of sea water into the aquifer.
Lastly, there is a need for more research geared at eval-
uating and developing irrigation systems and water conser-
vation practice. There is also a need to search for alternative
economic crops that are drought resistant and salt tolerant.
At the Agricultural Experiment Station of the University of
the Virgin Islands, research efforts have been directed at
finding ways and means of conserving irrigation water and
developing production practices that are water efficient.
Studies are covering areas such as evaluation of various
methods of irrigation, types of mulching materials, place-
Ville La Reine
Business Phone: 773-3119
FAX No.: 7734032
ments of drip irrigation emitters, drought and salt tolerance,
irrigation rates and other water saving practices.
Various irrigation water monitoring devices ranging from
neutron probe, tensiometers and automatic and program-
mable timers are being used to determine the most water effi-
cient methods of irrigation. Lysimeter studies (direct mea-
surements of evapotranspiration) are being undertaken to
further understand the needs of vegetable plants for water.
Some of the more practical research findings at the UVI Agri-
cultural Experiment Station are now being utilized by our
local farmers. Research staff at UVI can take part of the
credit for the popularity of the drip method of irrigation
among our local farmers. The drip method of irrigation is by
far the most water efficient method of applying water to crops
know today. Research efforts at UVI have also targeted other
practices that conserve water or utilize water more efficiently
such as mulching, monitoring of water application and com-
bining irrigation with fertilizers.
In the future, our irrigation research at UVI will give more
emphasis to the development of practices that would make it
possible to use salty or brackish water for irrigation, with little
or no appreciable damage to crops and, to the development
of methods of preventing salt build-up in the soil. Research
emphasis will also be directed towards the search and evalua-
tion of species and varieties of vegetables and fruits with high
FROZEN MEATS AND
FRESH FRUITS AND
CANNED FRUITS AND
FROZEN AND DRY
ALL PAPER PRODUCTS
7-D Peter's Rest St. Croix
Growing Orchids From Your
Garden Chair Or Orchids For The
Mobile And Not So Mobile
President, St. Croix Orchid Society & Certified Judge, American Orchid Society
Orchid growing is an easy-does-it hobby for the elderly, the
not limber and the wheel chair bound. Any gardening hobby
is wonderful and rewarding, but many forms of gardening
require a bit of physical activities hoeing, bending, digging,
etc. and though these activities are in general considered
good exercise, they may be more than many of the elderly
and some handicapped individuals are able to cope with.
Orchid care, however, does not require any fatiguing
Orchids are light in weight and the materials they grow in
or on, can be as light or as heavy as one's own ability to
handle them. Orchids can grow in plastic or clay pots, they
can grow in tree fern fiber, redwood bark, local charcoal,
spagnum moss, wine bottle corks, and also "peanut foam"
pieces the ones used as packing material. These are all
lightweight materials. Orchids can also be attached to trees
- they do very well on our local Ginger Thomas, frangipani,
calabash, palms and other trees; one local species of orchids
will grow best on cacti. Orchids can also be attached to cut
pieces of trees or other pieces of wood, or to pieces of cork
slabs. Most love to attach their roots to the local limestone
stones and they will grow in or on conch shells.
What else do orchids need that makes orchid growing
lightweight work? Well, their most important needs are lots of
warmth and good quality light or sunshine. We do have lots of
those in the Virgin Islands. They need good air movement, we
also have lots of that in the Virgin Islands, and neither of these
needs require any physical activities on the part of the
grower. What else do orchids need? They need humidity.
More than they need water, orchids need a humid environ-
ment. Our warm temperatures, bright sunshine and strong
breezes make short shrift of the water vapors in our island
environment. If you grow orchids outside or on your porch,
S Sy Cyrtopodium punctatum cow horn orchid by Emily S. Sie
grow them surrounded by other plants. This type of environ-
mental micro-climate conserves water and humidity. If you
do not have other plants to surround your orchids, grow
them by setting the pots in trays filled with stones and water
(aluminum foil trays are fine), the pots should rest on the
damp stones and keep the stones wet, not the orchids. You
can also fill the tray with damp builder's sand not beach
sand, the salt will kill the plant or use any other practical,
ingenious way you may come up with to provide humidity
around your plants.
To tend to the needs of your orchids, you do not need to
stand up. You can sit at a table, or at your "orchid bench" and
pot, repot, groom, water, feed and talk to your plants. If your
growing area has a hard surface floor cement, wood, etc. -
you can zip from the cattleyas to the phalaenopsis on a bar
stool type seat, or typist chair, or any kind of chair with
wheels on it. You can sit on your garden bench, or garden
chair, or garden wall and direct a fine mist of water from the
mister at the end of your garden hose. Easy-does-it, no hot
sun, no perspiration running down your back, no aching
If you live in St. Croix and you are home bound and want to
learn more about this wonderful hobby, call the U.V.I. Exten-
sion Service 778-0246 and they will direct you to a member
of the St. Croix Orchid Society who will come to your home
and provide you with information and suggestions regarding
your particular situation and location.
If you are not home bound, join your local orchid society
and learn of the joyful moments blooming one's own orchids
can bring. Learn also how painless orchid growing can be on
your sometime aching limbs.
C AA R. IB E
CA^Rl^^&H& ^ ^BE
c~.C'ist~ S ~ s; 55 ~ x
HOME CENTER, INC.I
the Miendly ones
National Manufacturing Company
THE MIRACLE IN MORTAR
AMESoINC & .1
LAWN and GARDEN TOOLS
ESTATE CASTLE COAKLEY P.O. BOX 856
CHRISTIANSTED SAINT CROIX
U. S. VIRGIN ISLANDS 00820
Carlos Robles, UVI Extension Agent
A landscape is a natural environment. Landscaping is the
deliberate changing of existing natural features in order to
make the environment or our surroundings more attractive.
And, like beauty, landscaping is usually defined by the
beholder. Adding features usually means adding plants,
rocks, wood and other natural man-made materials.
No matter how you define it, there are some key expres-
sions that are automatically associated with the agricultural
art of landscaping. They are beauty, improvement, enhance-
ment and order. This combination of visual characteristics
helps to make an unorganized park or roadside into some-
thing that could be captured on canvas or be used as a post
card or still photo.
Part of our success as a tourist destination is due to our
beautiful overall natural landscape. However, natural beauty
can be enhanced even further by selective landscaping. A
well-designed plan might include such things as flowering or
bedding plants like marigolds, pansies, zinnias or petunias, as
well as native and imported ornamentals. It can also include
plants and shrubs that are seasonal show pieces such as
snow on the mountain, poinsettia and kalanchoe. Fragrance
might also be considered. Such plants as the jasmine, false
gardenia, and frangipani will serve that purpose well.
As we continue to grow and develop here in the Virgin
Islands we would do well to consider good landscape plan-
ning to preserve our natural resources. We lose millions of
tons of soil and water each year into the sea. Contouring
irrigation ditches, terracing with rocks, or walls or even old
WAPA utility poles, erosion mates and ground covers should
be considered in the overall plan.
Our road ways and median can also be spruced up with a
good selection of trees and or low growing shrubs. Even
neighborhood roads and entrances can be transformed into
something that resembles the well-landscaped driveways of
royalty. If anyone has seen the Avenues of the Palms in Fort
Myers, Florida or the Bordeaux housing community on the
western end of St. Thomas you will know what I mean. In St.
Croix you have the entrance to the University of the Virgin
Islands and St. George Villiage Botanical Garden, just to
name a few.
SI I i 1a tao
1. ITrER oPfn
This includes the building of houses as well. Landscaping a
new or existing home can really add some weight to the
phrase, "A man's home is his castle." Coming home after a
stressful day at the office or in traffic to the smell of roses or
the sight of flowering gold colored hibiscus or brushing
against a balsam (sweet basil) plant and its aroma makes you
feel like you're in plant heaven, will do well to ease some of the
stress and tension that you came home with. A tree planted in
a certain location can help in climate control for your home
and saving you money in the long run on your WAPA bill.
Since we are talking about saving money and health, a home
landscape might include a vegetable and fruit tree garden as
well. Imagine after putting a couple of weeks or months of
good healthy exercise (the work you put into landscaping
your home) lying down on a hammock between two lignum
vitae trees; on the one side of you, there are your nice neat
rows of cabbage and tomatoes dotted with a few flowering
marigold plants, a path made of cement tiles or red brick that
leads to your banana patch and sugar apple grove. Then to
TEL (809) 772-0365
Goyal 'Frederik Stores, 'Inc.
1 STRAND STREET P.O. BOX 213
FREDERIKSTED, ST. CROIX
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS 00841
Liquor and Gift Shop- Best prices in the Virgin Islands
FICO. & JEANNIE GARCIA
the other side you have your well kept Bermuda grass lawn,
with maybe a small pond with gold fish in it at the center; and
an edible hedge of surinam cherry or sea grape lining the
drive or walkway that leads to the veranda filled with lovely
hanging baskets or asparagus ferns, pothos (elephant ear)
and jump up and kiss me's (moss rose and portulaca). Boy,
doesn't that look good!!!
These are some of the many benefits that landscaping can
bring to our particular environment. It's an alternative tha
pays great dividends in the long run.
A. H. IMMERT %eadco.
If You're in a Growing Business, Let Us Help You Grow"
Before you buy, call Arthur Petersen, our Caribbean
Expert for a Quote
WHOLESALE DISTRIBUTORS FOR:
Lawn & Garden Supplies Greenhouses Auto-watering Equipment
Plant Containers Fungicides Fertilizers & Fertilizer Injectors
Insecticides Ornamental Plants & Cuttings Soil Conditioner &
Growing Mediums Flower & Vegetable Seeds
Regional Sales Office
P.O. Box 484, Frederiksted
St. Croix, V.I. 00841-0484
Home Sales Office
2746 Chouteau Ave.
WUW TELEX OFFICE WATTS St. Louis, Missouri 63103-0646
856496 HUMMERT SEED 800-325-3055 (314) 771-0646
FAX No. 314-771-5203 or 809-772-9289
Call or write for a free copy of the A.H. Hummert Seed Co. Catalog of Horticultural Supplies.
Serving the Horticultural Community for Over 54 Years
P O. Box 1908
Frederiksted, St. Croix
U.S. Virgin Islands 00841
Rudy G. O'Reilly, Jr.
UVI Extension Agent Natural Resources
In the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico there are many plant
species that exist nowhere else in the world. These are
endemic plants. Other plants may occur throughout the
tropics, but for some reason are rare in our area. All of these
plants are considered endangered. Their local populations
range from threatened to extinct and are categorized as
endemic or nonendemic.
The lignum vitae, Guaiacum officinale, is a threatened,
nonendemic species. Although the plant is found throughout
the tropics, it is indigenous to Central and South America. Its
genus name, Guaiacum, comes from guayacan, the common
name in these areas, while officinale means of practical or
official use to people.
The flowers are the most spectacular aspect of the lignum
vitae. In full bloom, the tree is completely covered in light-blue
or purplish flowers soon followed by flat, yellow-orange,
heart-shaped fruits. When these burst open the dark brown
or black seeds are covered by a bright red skin or aril. As a
result, these trees are much prized as ornamental plants.
The lignum vitae is considered threatened because few
naturally established trees exist in the wild, usually in dry
coastal areas. Fortunately, many plants do exist through
cultivation and some of these have been reintroduced in the
wild. A case in point is Buck Island, which, incidentally, gets
its name from a Dutch word for lignum vitae, Pokholt or Pok-
hout. The original name Pocken-Eyland, was changed to
Bokken (Bocken) Island and now to Buck Island.
After once being overgrown with lignum vitae, Buck Island
now has very few trees. These were transplanted by the
National Park Service in 1983. Today many of these plants
are doing well, but are growing slowly. Even under optimum
natural conditions seedlings tend to grow slowly. In cultiva-
tion however, with constant watering and fertilizing, seedlings
grow a little faster. One seedling is known to have grown
three feet in canopy diameter in two years.
For those who may be unfamiliar with the lignum vitae or
who know it by other names, there are a few characteristics
that distinguish it from other trees. The bark is light to dark
gray and is found peeling off in flakes at times. The young
twigs are jointed or swollen at the nodes. The leaves are dark
shiny green and are divided into two, sometimes three pairs
The fact that these trees are slow growers may be one
reason for their decline in nature. When two plants have to
compete with each other for light, the slowest growing of the
two usually does poorest. This would be the case for the
lignum vitae. Another, and probably the most prominent
reason for its decline is its commercial value. One cubic foot
of the heartwood weighs 76 pounds according to one source.
Being a very dense and heavy wood, which actually sinks in
water, it has been used to make such things as steamboat
propeller shaft bearings as well as furniture and bowling balls.
The bark, resin, wood, flowers, in fact all parts of the tree,
have been used for medicinal purposes. Different concoc-
tions are said to relieve such ailments as high blood pressure,
asthma, diabetes and skin diseases. All these uses give the
tree its common name of lignum vitae, meaning tree of life.
As far back as 1929 two botanists named Britton and
Wilson noted in their Scientific Survey of Puerto Rico and the
Virgin Islands that the lignum vitae was virtually "extermi-
nated except where planted." We've managed to keep it
around in ample numbers to insure the survival of the
species, by using it as an ornamental. This is an example we
should follow to insure the continued existence of many of
our native plants as well as those that are truly in danger of
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One dollar per cup... ten dollars per half gallon! This is
how much a 7 ounce cup and 1/2 gallon ice cream container
full of yellow or black guavaberries will fetch these days.
These sweet-tart Virgin Island specialties seem to be more
than just a fruit. They remind Virgin Islanders of good times,
holiday spirit, and the warmth of family and friendship.
This small reddish-black or orange-yellow berry is born on
ornamental and graceful evergreen hardwood trees with
abundant foliage. They grow wild in the Virgin Islands. One
very obvious characteristic of the tree is its mottled gray and
beige bark covering peach-colored inner bark which peels off
the trunk in irregular strips may actually be an adaptation of
the plant to prevent epiphytes (air plants) from attaching to it.
Another strong feature, the plant's distinctive fragrance, links
the guavaberry to other aromatic members in the same
family. Guava, like cinnamon, bay rum, and nutmeg are
grouped as Myrtaceae.
Oscar E. Henry, former Commissioner of Agriculture from
St.Croix, has observed that guavaberries seem most often to
be found and grow best on the hillsides where half the day is in
the sun and the other half in the shade. Mostly found growing
wild in the lower elevations in various areas throughout the
Caribbean area, it is locally common in the Virgin Islands and
is often left standing when land is cleared.
Flowering in the V.I. during May and June, guavaberries
ripen in the fall (Oct. Nov.) around the time of the rainy
season. Junior Schlesinger, of the St. Thomas Department of
Agriculture, notes that black berries develop on the trees
before the yellow berries, but yellow berries ripen sooner.
Seasonal rain, time and amount, seems to affect the way the
fruit set; without enough rain, young berries drop according
to local observers. Francesca Griffo, doctoral candidate at
Cornell University, is studying this family, and speculates
that the abundant rainfall this year may have triggered both
the large amount of fruit and the sporadic fruiting of the trees.
Traditionally, the harvesting of the guavaberry represents
the beginning of the holiday season. Virgin Islanders speak of
the gathering of the berries almost as if it were a celebration
itself. "Chico" George, of St. Thomas Cooperative Extension
Service, remembers how family and friends would go to the
bush together to gather berries. Everyone wanted to share in
the enjoyment of the treats made from the berries. "Finding
the sweetest berries" became the goal, and all the berry
hunters would fan out to test different trees until the best and
sweetest berries were found. Then they laid old bed sheets
under the trees to collect the berries which easily fell off the
trees when they were shaken.
Illustrations by Toni A. Thomas
Despite the popularity and cultural importance of this fruit,
it is not commonly cultivated or commercially used locally.
Although businesses like the Daylight Bakery on St. Thomas
produce locally grown guavaberry products, supply falls
short of demand. The potential for greater commercial use of
the plant for its fruit and as an ornamental is hampered by
number of problems:
1. The Guavaberry is a somewhat mysterious plant, not
much is known about it. Its genetic profile has not been
studied. It seems that different varieties stay distinct accord-
ing to Francesca Griffo, but what keeps them distinct is not
presently known. Even its nutritional analysis is apparently
unknown. Hopefully, in the future this information will be
available through the combined efforts of Cooperative
Extension Service and Cornell University.
Many suspect that guavaberry is high in vitamin C. In
fact, a closely related plant of the same genus, Myrciaria
dubia, grown primarily in Brazil, yields fruit juice extremely
high in ascorbic acid and is used commercially to produce
vitamin C. In Cuba, guavaberry syrup or decoction is used to
treat "liver complaints."
2. Germinating and transplanting this plant tend to be diffi-
cult to do. Several farmers and nursery owners have given up
trying to germinate the seeds. Francesca Griffo speculates
that successful germination may depend upon using the
fresh/moist seed and soil from under the parent plant. She
suggests that the protective seed coating is fragile and does
not withstand the stress of drying. The seed must be kept
constantly moist until it has sprouted. Using soil from under
the tree that contains fungi, which interacts with plant roots
enabling them to absorb nutrients, may make the difference
between success and failure.
Oscar Henry who can boast of an unusual 90% success
in germination, plants seeds as he is removing (bursting) the
seeds to prepare the berries for use. He has planted his seeds
many ways, and attributes special care or love for the plants
and planting them together "for company" as practical and
unexplained reasons why his plants do well.
3. Harvesting is tedious and time-consuming especially if
berries have to picked one by one. Trees in the wild are often
on rough and rocky terrains and do not lend themselves to
the "shake and gather in a sheet" method. Many trees are too
tall to be conveniently picked. Pruning trees into lower bushy
shapes helps. Both experimenting with the pruning and graft-
ing of young guavaberry trees with older fruiting stock, if
possible, may make the guavaberry easier to harvest.
Myrciania floribunda, "Guavaberry, Crumberry"
4. Guavaberries are known as slow-growers, first bearing
fruit from 3-10 years according to local observers. Planting
seedlings on slopes and providing optimal conditions for
growth such as ample moisture, plenty of ventilation, and
proper soil may speed maturity.
Again, grafting may be a possibility. Growth hormones
make the guavaberry mature earlier, but the safety of this is
5. In addition, guavaberry yields may be unpredictably
diminished by high winds which can damage sensitive imma-
ture berries or cause ripe berries to fall, and occasional fruit
fly infestation which leaves the berries wormy and spotted.
Keeping areas under trees cleared of debris and rotting vege-
tation or fruit discourages fruit fly infestation.
Whether or not the guavaberry is more commercially cul-
tivated in the V.I., it will undoubtedly keep its place as one of
the most unique local treats such as the traditional Thanks-
giving and Christmas guavaberry liquor and guavaberry
preserves used in tarts.
Guavaberry liquor is kept and renewed in the same bottle
year after year. It is actually best to leave some liquor in the
bottle as a starter for next year's batch. The best bottles for
making liquor are green or brown tinted "Jimmy-John"
bottles, also known as "Demi-John" or "Jim-Jan" and prob-
ably derived from the French "Dame Jeanne." Clear glass
allows too much light which interferes with fermentation.
These bottles have bulbous bodies with narrow necks, and
the bottoms are often encased in baskets. Bottles can be
obtained from local liquor stores; bigger ones ( to 5 gallons)
are better for making batches that can be renewed all year by
adding more diluted liquor to the fruit base.
Blanche's Guavaberry Preserves
Wash berries well.
Add berries and sugar to taste to the pot with enough
water to cover.
Bring to a boil, then simmer on medium heat.
Add cinnamon, cloves, vanilla extract.
Add more water if liquid thickens too much.
Or add more sugar to thicken to make preserves for tarts.
Junior Schlesinger's Traditional Guavaberry Liquor
Stew about 5 pounds seeded berries. Seed berries by
holding a handful of berries and pressing seeds out (bursting)
one by one between thumb and forefinger. Pop seeds into a
bowl. Rinse these seeds with water and add this juice to the
Cool berries. Add 5 fifths of Cruzan Rum (150 proof).
Pour into bottless.
Add desired amounts of cinnamon, prunes, raisins, whole
vanilla beans (if available) or extract, and pieces of sugar
Add 5 fifths of water.
Cork it up, and put it in a dark closet. The longer it sits
(years), the better it is.
Once the original batch is cured, fresh ingredients may be
added to the aged ingredients to make new batches year after
The liquor fruit can be eaten or used in fruit cakes along
with the liquor.
Blanche Mill's Traditional Guavaberry Liquor
This expert cook from the St. Thomas CES, makes a
Use a 5-gallon "Jimmy-John" bottle if possible, or divide
the batch into smaller bottles.
Put cinnamon stick, prunes, raisins, vanilla beans or
extract, sugar to taste, and about 5 pounds washed berries
(uncooked) into bottless.
Add assorted varieties of Manichewitz wines to bottles.
Determine the amount of wine to be used according to the
volume of berries.
Cork bottles and put in a dark place for a couple of years
SStrain liquid while pouring.
Jean Essanason's Non-Alcohol Guavaberry Juice
This St. Thomas Department of Education, Social Studies
Specialist provides guavaberries to users and thinks that it is
a good way to supplement one's income.
Stew guavaberries with sugar to taste.
Add water to taste.
Strain liquid, allowing some pulp to thicken the liquid.
Refrigerate. This will ferment after about one week.
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'~2A 3iT AN
A WAY OF
Fat In The Fast Food Lane
Nan M. Lenhart
UVI-CES Food and Nutrition Specialist
Fast foods are a part of today's lifestyle. The term "Fast
Food" can mean hamburgers, french fries or chicken served
at chain restaurants or the convenient packages of chips and
other snacks that become a meal to eat on the run.
Changes in the eating habits in the United States have
been reflected by increased fat consumption, decreased
intake of complex carbohydrates and increased use of simple
sugars. Composition of fast food meals parallels these
changes in food consumption and certainly contributes to it.
If chosen properly, fast food and convenience foods can
make positive contributions to the diet. To make wise selec-
tions, however, it is important to know their limitations.
Generally, typical fast-food meals and convenience foods
are high in calories, ranging from 900 to 1,300 per meal. Most
fast food meals provide calories, protein, carbohydrate, fat,
and various vitamins and minerals. On the other hand, they
often are low in fiber and vitamin A, and high in sodium and
fat. Convenience foods are also notoriously high in sodium
If you reduce the amount of cholesterol and total fat in your
diet, you can increase your chances of living a healthier life.
Here are three reasons why:
Lowering the amount of cholesterol, saturated fat and
total fat in your diet lowers your risk of heart disease-the
Virgin Islands #1 killer!
Lowering the amount of total fat in your diet lowers your
risk of certain cancers, such as colon and breast cancers.
Lowering the amount of total fat in your diet may help you
lose weight since fat has over twice as many calories as
protein or carbohydrate.
How much fat does your favorite snack food or fast food contain?
To use this chart, one U represents one fat pat which is equal to 4 grams of fat or 1 teaspoon of fat.
* = 4 grams = 1 teaspoon of fat
% OF TOTAL
Whole Milk 8 oz.
Lowfat Milk 8 oz.
Skim Milk 8 oz.
Lowfat Yogurt 8 oz.
Chicken McNuggets 6 pcs.
Roast Beef Sandwich
Cheese Pizza 2 slices, Large Pie
Baked Potato, Plain
Baked Potato, with Sour Cream
French Fries, 1 small bag
Baked Potato, with Cheese
Hot Fudge Sundae
Chocolate Chip Cookies 2 oz.box
Raisins 11/ oz. Package
Granola Bar, Chocolate Chip
M & M's 1.69 oz.
Peanuts 1 oz. Package
% OF TOTAL
Popcorn 1 small bag
Pretzels 1 small bag
Potato Chips 1 small bag
Corn Chips 1 small bag
Mayonnaise 1 Tbsp. or 1/2 oz. Packet
Low-Calorie Dressing 1 Tbsp.
Coping With Fat In The Fast Food Lane
Choose Roast Beef, not hamburger when you're hungry for
beef. The fattiest roast beef has less fat than the leanest
Pass Up Creamy Sauces like mayonnaise and tarter sauce.
They add about 100 calories of fat to each sandwich.
Limit Big Burgers with names like "Whopper", "Deluxe",
"Super", "Jumbo", "Double", or "Triple." The extra meat
and the special sauce give you two or three times the
calories and fat.
Go For Baked Or Broiled Fish And Chicken because
they contain substantially less fat and calories than their deep
fried counterparts. And don't be fooled ... deep fried fish
and chicken sandwiches contain as much or more fat and
calories as the burgers they compete with.
Skip The "Extra Crispy" Coatings on chicken and fish.
They add much more fat.
Order Your Baked Potato Plain Or Just With Vege-
tables because all the other toppings add lots of fat. A sour
cream topping alone is a slightly better choice than butter,
margarine, or cheese.
Use Low-Cal Dressing, Cottage Cheese, Or Vinegar
With Just A Little Oil To Top Your Salads from the salad
Order Just The Basics At The Drive-Up Window and
serve them at home with lowfat milk, vegetables, and fruit.
Make Your Own "Fast Food" Meals by selecting con-
venient, single-serving cans or boxes of fruit and vegetable
juice, cups of yogurt, low-fat presliced meats and cheeses,
whole grain breads, whole fruits, raw vegetables, small boxes
of raisins, etc. You can build a low-fat nutritious meal for
probably less than it costs for a meal from a fast food
Puberty In Livestock
UVI-CES Animal Science
Puberty is the stage of maturation in animals when they
first become capable of reproducing. The beginning of
sexual maturity is marked by accelerated growth and
maturing of genital organs and development of secondary
sex characteristics. From a practical standpoint, the animal
should be able to produce and release gametes (sperm for
males, eggs for females) and should exhibit complete sexual
behavior sequences. That is, the animal should have both
the ability and the desire to mate.
Females of most domestic species reach puberty at an
age earlier than males. It is manifested when the young
female first exhibits an estrus accompanied by a sponta-
neous ovulation. Estrus, also knows as "heat," is the period
of time when a female is sexually receptive to males and
permits copulation. Behavioral estrus is best determined by
the use of a painted, sterile male. Females in estrus are
observed by the paint marks on their backs. Ovulation (the
release of the egg from the ovary) can be confirmed by
analysis of blood serum progesterone levels. It can also be
determined by a minor surgery, laparoscopy. The use of
fiber optics enables scientists to observe the ovaries 5-10
days after estrus and look for the bright red corpus luteum
(CL) which indicates that an ovulation (or more) has
The endocrine patterns associated with the onset of
puberty vary from species to species and quite complex.
Basically, in the female, the ovary is controlled by the pitui-
tary gland and this is the staging center for reproduction. A
rise in the output of pituitary hormones leads to an increase
in the size and activity of the ovaries. There is a cyclic
pattern of stages. Maturing follicles produce estrogen and
cause the behavioral "heat" response. An increase in
luteinizing hormone (LH) causes the egg (s) to be released
from the follicle ovulation. Cells from the ruptured folli-
cle form the CL which produces progesterone.
In males, a functional puberty is manifested when they
first have the ability to produce sperm and copulate. Scien-
tifically, various measurements are employed. Electro-
ejaculation produces uniform semen samples which are
judged for motility, concentration and morphology. A mini-
mum of 5 million sperm with at least 10% motility demon-
strates production of sperm capable of fertilization. Other
physical changes associated with puberty are a rapid
increase in scrotal circumference and the release of the
penis. Before puberty, the penis is firmly adhered within the
sheath and cannot be extended. Only after the separation
of the penis can there be a full erection and successful
At the onset of puberty, spermatozoa are formed in the
testes by a series of highly specialized mitotic and meiotic
A young visitor gets acquainted with a lamb from the flock
at AES where reproductive research is underway.
divisions originating in the spermatagonia of the germinal
epithelium. This spermatogenesis occurs at a constant rate,
and takes quite a while (for example, 61 days in bulls).
Puberty is very relevant to the production of livestock.
The point at which animals can first mate is of considerable
practical importance. The time from birth to puberty is a
significant proportion of the lifespan and is unproductive in
terms of offspring, yet relatively expensive to maintain in
terms of sustaining growth and development. Net flock fer-
tility levels might be lowered if breeding animals, especially
males, are not properly selected for fertilizing capability.
Mating strategies should be designed for replacement
Genetic improvement in the lifetime productivity and
generation interval depend, in part on the age when replace-
ments reproduce. Age at first breeding has been shown to
have a marked effect on lifetime production. When one
hastens the onset of puberty or breeds animals as young as
possible, this contributes to a decrease in generation inter-
val. An estimated of generation interval can be made by
taking the average age of the parents when the offspring are
born. Minimizing the time between one generation and the
next increases the selection pressure. Selection is the
process of determining which individuals will be allowed to
mate and produce the next generation. More "pressure"
increases the frequency of the more desirable genes.
Knowing when your animals have reached puberty facili-
tates the early testing of offspring so the parents can be
evaluated as early as possible to increase the rate of turn-
over of selected breeding lines. Therefore the production of
offspring from animals at minimum ages makes it possible to
reduce the generation intervasl and thus increase rates of
It is also important to know the point at which puberty
has been reached to avoid unwanted matings. Uncastrated
young animals are often run in groups with their mothers
and siblings year-round. Males left intact may reach puberty
before market time and it is possible that undesirable
matings will occur. Crossbred lines will reach puberty
earlier, and one should avoid unwanted matings of relatives
(inbreeding). A producer won't necessarily want to breed at
the first estrus: often waiting for a few cycles increases the
number of ovulations. There is a chance that a female could
conceive before she's physically ready to deliver offspring.
Young animals may not be prepared for the nutritional
stress of pregnancy and lactation. To have control over
mating, one must castrate animals that are kept in the flock
but are not intended for mating. For the breeding animals,
age at puberty dictates the time when it is necessary to
separate animals of opposite sexes.
Knowledge of body weight and age at puberty has been
demonstrated to be very helpful in exploiting the maximum
prodcution potential of a species. Puberty can occur gen-
erally at 40-60% of mature size, and varies greatly from
species to species. It also varies from one breed to the next
within a species. For example, breeds of dairy cattle usually
reach puberty earlier than breeds of beef cattle. There is
also quite a bit of variation from one individual to the next.
Table 1 summarizes some of the published average ages
at puberty for various species of livestock.
TABLE 1. Average age at puberty for domestic live-
stock species, separated by sex.
AGE AT PUBERTY
20-24 months 15-18 months
5-7 months 4-6 months
5-8 months 4-7 months
6-8 months 5-7 months
8-10 months 6-8 months
12-14 months 10-12 months
11-13 months 9-11 months
Many factors affect the age of puberty: the breed chosen
(genetic factors), the disease and parasite infestation, the
level of nutrition and growth rate, the physical and social
environment, the season of birth, the ambient temperature
and day-length. Three main factors can be affected by
management. Effective management can help a flock or
herd to realize its genetic potential and thereby improve
The attainment of puberty is often more closely related to
body weight than to age. Nutritional levels modulate the age
at puberty. An improved plane of nutrition increases the
growth rate. Sexual development, and therefore the onset
of puberty is accelerated by a faster rate of gain. Conversely,
poor nutrition stunts growth and delays the time at which
mating can first occur. It also decreases mating rigor and
fertility. As a rule, the higher the level of nutrition, the
younger the age at puberty. The only caveat is that a fat
animal is not at its reproductive peak either, so common
sense must be used in feeding.
The social environment can also affect the age at puberty.
Young male animals are not as sexually aggressive and can
not compete with adult males. Separating them may help
them to mate earlier. Females kept in a group breed earlier
than isolated females. The new introduction of a male to a
group of females has some physiological effects on estrual
activity. The sight, sound and smell of a male may stimulate
breeding and hasten puberty.
The length of daylight (photoperiod) controls the
breeding season in some domestic animals (most notably
sheep and goats). Estrus and ovulation activity are stimu-
lated as the days get shorter. The peak breeding season is
from mid October to mid Decemberin the northern hemis-
phere. In these animals, the date and season of birth are
important. Fall and winter born animals are more likely to
reach puberty in the first year than late spring newborns
because these animals approach a season of anestrous (no
cycling) before reaching sexual maturity. Males can repro-
duce all year round but there is some variation in their
breeding activity level. Their sperm count and activity is
maximal in fall and gradually decreases in summer, as does
the quality of the semen (both viability and motility).
The variation in light to dark increases with increasing
distance from the equator. So, the fact that we are in the
tropics is significant to puberty. Animals whichare seasonal
in temperate climates are not as affected by season closer to
the equator. As a rule, although animals here can breed
year round, they mature later than their temperate counter-
parts, and therefore reach puberty later.
High reproductive efficiency is a result of many different
processes in both sexes. The number of progeny weaned
per female has the most influence on profit. The age at
sexual maturity is a major contributor to this efficiency. The
time of first breeding has a marked effect on lifetime produc-
tion. The time an animal reaches puberty can be predicted
and animals should be managed accordingly to get the
maximum potential from livestock.
___ ^^ T-
Raising Pigs In The Virgin Islands
UVI-CES Livestock Specialist
"Why is a pig in the living room like a house on fire?"
Answer: Because the sooner it is put out the better.
This is what many people think about pigs. But given the
proper attention pigs can successfully be raised in a small
area. With high meat prices these days, a family can benefit
by raising a few pigs to cut down on their meat bill. They
might even have a few pounds of meat to sell for extra
Pig raising, on a small scale, can be an interesting and fun
hobby and also a good learning experience. Pigs are relatively
intelligent and can even become pets. They grow quite
rapidly, from 3 pounds at birth to 225 pounds at about 6
months when they are ready for market.
Pigs are not dirty animals. They will be very clean if you
care for them properly. They do not need fancy facilities but
pigs should NEVER be allowed to live in a muddy swamp.
Source of Pigs
Although there are several breeds of pigs to choose from
on our islands, crossbred sows or gilts are recommended for
the small farmer. Crossbreds are usually better mothers than
the purebreds. They tend to farrow (birth) larger litters of
faster growing pigs that are more vigorous; that means lower
death loss. Also, crossbred sows are normally less expensive
than the purebreds.
Remember to purchase your feeder pigs from a reliable
source that raises pigs under sanitary conditions. The piglets
should be healthy, weaned and already started on feed.
Select pigs of uniform age and size that weigh between 35 and
50 pounds. Buy females giltss) or castrated males (barrows).
Care should be taken to avoid buying pigs that are lame,
are coughing or exhibit labored breathing, have diarrhea
(scours), have crooked noses or are bleeding from the nose.
Pigs should not be rubbing or scratching themselves exces-
sively. This may indicate a lice and/or mange problem. Also,
do not buy pigs that show any sign of abscesses or ruptures
wnen purchasing pigs Tor your bacKyara, they snoula oe
"feeder pigs." These are pigs that are about 4-6 weeks old. In The first 10 to 14 days after purchase are critical for the
the Virgin Islands, these pigs will cost between $40-$50, newly arrived feeder pigs and they should be checked several
depending on their size. You can feed these pigs for 5 to 7 times a day during this period. Stress on pigs can be mini-
months at which time they will weigh from 200-500 pounds mized by providing them with a dry, draft-free and shaded
and be ready for slaughter. facility.
Pigs need a clean, partially shaded living area.
Housing and Fencing
The place where the pigs are to be kept should be com-
pletely ready when the pigs are brought home. They need
some type of shelter, a shady spot, a good tight fence, a feed
trough and a waterer. A pig house (sty) does not need to be
fancy but it should be constructed in such a way that it will
keep out drafts and provide shade from the sun.
In the Virgin Islands, it is best to keep your pigs on a
concrete floor so that you can wash out the manure. The
manure can then be channelled to your garden for fertilizer.
To avoid complaints about unpleasant odors, do not locate
your pig facility within 50 feet of your home or neighboring
Pigs are good converters of feed to meat. Four pounds of
grain will make about one pound of pork. With the grain
prices in the Virgin Islands so high, though, it becomes
expensive and unprofitable to purchase all of the feed you
need. An alternative is to feed the edible garbage from your
home, your neighbors' homes, your garden or from the
supermarket to your pigs. Care must be taken so that the
garbage does not contain glass, tin cans or silverware! Pigs
will eat nearly any overmature or withered vegetables that
you give them including pumpkins, little potatoes, overripe
sweet corn and anything else. You can cut down on the cost
of raising them considerably by using these things. The pig
should be fed twice a day and should be given only what it will
clean up each time. Piles of garbage should not be left by the
pig pens for an extended period of time. If the garbage is not
consumed in a couple of days, it should be discarded because
it will start to mold and can then cause parasitic problems in
the pigs. It also emits a very unpleasant odor.
Pigs must have access to clean fresh water at all times.
Gilts normally reach the age of puberty between six and
eight months and under good feed conditions,they will be
ready to be bred at this time. When you notice the gilt in heat,
wait till the next day before taking her to the boar, because
EUGENE A. PETERSEN, D.V.M.
PAUL W. HESS, D.V.M.
773-7171 (After hour emergencies)
CRAGO ANIMAL CLINIC, PC.
ovulation does not occur until the second or third day of the
heat period. At this time, the gilt is most likely to conceive.
The heat period is easy to detect because during that time,
there is enlargement of the vulva and sometimes a discharge
from it. The gilt or sow will be restless, will grunt loudly, uri-
nate frequently and be mounted by other sows. This occurs
every 21 days unless the sow is pregnant.
The gestation (pregnancy) period normally last 116 days,
that is 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days. The pregnant sow
needs special care particularly with respect to feeding since
she has to provide for herself and her young. In addition to
extra feed the pregnant sow needs plenty of exercise and
protection from the hot weather. Before the sow farrows
(birth of young), a structure should be erected to prevent the
sow from lying on her piglets. If there is any complication
such as long labor, please call your local veterinarian for
Piglets will be on their mother's milk for about 8 weeks after
which they are weaned. If you have your piglets in confine-
ment, please make sure you give them iron injections to
Slaughtering and Processing
Pigs are not easy for ordinary folks to butcher so most
choose to have the actual slaughter done at the abattoir. You
can cut up and process your own pigs or can have the abat-
toir do it for you. It is a lot of work to process pigs to pickle
the hams, shoulders and bacon and to smoke them and to
make sausage. You can do it, but you'll have to work with
someone who has done it before or stop by the livestock
office at the Cooperative Extension Service for more infor-
mation on the processing of pigs.
You must take care of the pigs daily. If health problems
arise or if the pigs stop eating, contact your local veterinarian
for assistance immediately.
For additional information on raising pigs or any other type
of livestock in the Virgin Isladns, please stop by the Coopera-
tive Extension Service and we will be glad to assist you.
P.O. BOX 3637, CHRISTIANSTED, ST. CROIX, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS 00820
A Quality House of
Fine Food Products
GEORGE W. RAWLINS
The Virgin Islands Longline Fishery
UVI AES Research Specialist Agriculture
For the last few years, small-scale and recreational fisher-
men of the Virgin Islands have expressed concern over the
presence of longline fishing boats in the territory; specific
incidents involving longliners have put them at odds with
these groups. There are many myths, rumors, and half truths
concerning longlining activities. The purpose of this article is
to describe the fishing techniques used by longliners, to de-
scribe the bioilogy of the swordfish, and to discuss some of
the issues which have fueled the controversy surrounding
The fish species of greatest interest to longliners is the
swordfish or broadbill, known to scientists as Xiphias
gladius. The fish has a stout body with large eyes and a mouth
with the upper jaw elongated into a flattened bill, or sword,
with which itis reported to kill larger prey. They can grow 300
pounds in 8 to 10 years, and swordfish as large as 1500
pounds have been captured. Swordfish are solitary, roaming
the open ocean in search of squid and other small fish, occa-
sionally falling prey to sharks and other open-ocean fish.
Female swordfish grow faster and reach a larger size than
males and will begin to spawn at about 4 1/2 years of age at a
size of 70 to 80 pounds (dressed weight). Swordfish spawn
during November to April in, among other places, the waters
of the Caribbean Sea. Like many other open-ocean fish, the
migrations of the swordfish are seasonal.
In 1986, 7.6 million pounds of swordfish were landed in the
U.S. In the Caribbean, landings have increased from 56
thousand pounds in 1984 to about 2 million pounds in 1986.
Approximately half of all landings of swordfish to the United
States now originate in Caribbean waters. From January
through March of 1986, a time of year which can be con-
sidered "peak season" not only for tourists, but swordfish as
well, up to nine longline boats landed 250 thousand pounds of
swordfish and tuna in St. Croix with an estimated value of
$800,000 to $1,000,000!
There are approximately 40 U.S.-based and 60 foreign
(primarily Korean, Taiwanese, Japanese, Cuban, and
Venezuelan) longliners operating in Caribbean waters. In the
U.S.V.I. there are three to five boats operating year round,
with up to fifteen during high season. These boats range from
50 to 85 feet long and cost approximately $500,000 each and
contain a whole range of sophisticated electronic equipment
which is used in the pursuit of swordfish.
On the deck of the longliner are various spools containing
the longline itself and the leaders which are clipped to it. The
mainline is monofilament nylon approximately 30 miles long
onto which leaders with hooks are attached. The line is sus-
pended from floats to a depth of 180 to 270 feet. Attached to
the mainline are leaders onto which are placed a Cylume
chemical light stick and a large (10/0) hook baited with squid.
Every three miles a radar reflector, called a "high flyer," and a
plastic float are attached to the mainline. These allow the
captain to track the gear on radar and will indicate its position
to passing ships as it drifts in the current.
The longline is set at dusk and drifts for the duration of the
night. The crew stands watch to keep track of the gear and
steer clear of seagoing traffic. Haulback of the line begins at
dawn. The mainline is attached to a spool which looks like a
giant fishing reel. The captain steers the boat along the line,
reeling it in as he goes. If a particular leader holds a hooked
swordfish or tuna, the fish is muscled onboard, unhooked
and "dressed" which means gutting and removing the head.
The fish is then sent into the hold to "chill out" before being
packed on ice. A good "set" of the longline will yield 1,000
pounds of swordfish, bigeye and yellowfin tuna averaging
about 70 pounds each, depending upon the season. During
the summer, approximately 75% of the swordfish catch are
"pups," weighing 15 to 20 pounds dressed.
And so the routine continues: baited hooks are paid out at
night, and hauled back in the morning. Days are long and the
work hard and dangerous. There is always a chance that one
of the crew will be snagged by the big hooks as they are
wound in or by a backlash of the mainline reel. For every "big
fish" story told by longliners there are as many to describe
embedded hooks, mechanical problems, or heavy weather.
A typical fishing trip will last seven to ten days, depending
largely on the phase of the moon, "luck" in fishing, shipping
schedules, and the proper functioning of mechanical equip-
ment. When the boat returns to port, the fish are loaded onto
commercial jets for air shipment to the U.S. mainland for
distribution and marketing. A good trip will bring in 10 to
15,000 pounds of fish, of which 3/4 are swordfish and 1/4
tunas, again largely depending on the season. "Markers," or
fish with a carcass weight greater than 100 pounds are sold
during the winter for $5.00 per pound and in the summer for
$2.00 $3.00 per pound. Tunas are sold for between $3.00 and
$5.00 per pound in the winter and $1.00 to $2.00 per pound in
the summer. Each trip to sea costs the longliner about
$13,000, much of which is spent locally for fuel and provisions.
Profits from the sale of fish are divided between the captain
and crew (60%) and the boat owner (40%).
A long line of hooks does not discriminate between sword-
fish, tuna, and other open-ocean fish. Other species of fish
including sharks will bite at the baited hooks on a longline.
This has been a source of contention between longline fish-
ermen and recreational fishermen, who are particularly
interested in blue marlin and other billfish, but will also pursue
tuna, wahoo, and dolphin-fish. Recreational fishermen claim
that longline by-catch of marlin has meant reduced landings
during billfish tournaments. This has not been the case
around Puerto Rico where more not fewer billfish have been
landed in recent tournaments.
Longliners are not interested in other billfish, primarily
because it is not worth putting a low-priced fish, such as
marlin, in the hold. These fish are therefore tagged and re-
leased, as are some small, undersized swordfish, dolphin-fish,
sharks and other billfish. Many longliners actively participate
in the tagging and release of by-catch in recognition of the
importance of long-term conservation of fish stocks and the
sustainable harvest of the swordfish resource. A tagging pro-
gram can provide valuable information about the population
structure and migratory patterns of various open-ocean fish
stocks. Longliners also support voluntary onboard observer
programs which monitor their catch. A biological monitoring
program utilizing catch data supplied by fishermen and
studies of the basic biology of the swordfish are of crucial
importance to the formulation of a rational management plan
The marketing of by-catch by longliners points up some of
the reasons why they are at odds with local fishermen. It is
claimed that longliners flood the market with by-catch,
undercutting the prices obtained by local fishermen, and
thereby taking away their traditional markets. Small-scale
fishermen are unable to compete with technologically-
sophisticated and efficient longliners, who catch larger fish,
larger numbers of fish, and can sell them for a cheaper price.
Restaurants and hotels require a regular supply of high-
quality fish, and for this reason, by-catch from longliners may
be preferred. Fish caught offshore by artisinal fishermen are
Located on St. John and St. Croix
O 1988 Wendy's All Right Rsrved
rarely transported on ice and quality deteriorates rapidly. It is
also claimed that longliners are harvesting a resource which
belongs to all Virgin Islanders, especially those who earn their
living from the sea.
For the future of these offshore fish stocks, the current
rate of exploitation may not be justified. Since 1980 there has
been an increase in the catch of smaller fish (under 50 pounds
dressed weight). These fish are less than two years old, and
have not had a chance to spawn. A reduction of the average
size of fish landed in the Virgin Islands from 80 pounds in 1984
to 70 pounds in 1986 suggests that overfishing of Caribbean
swordfish stocks may be taking place.
This trend begs the question: Will there still be fishery for
swordfish in five years? If history is any guide, the future
for the swordfish does not look promising. Around the world
there are countless examples of one fishery after another
going through a period of rapid growth followed by a steeply
declining crash. Historically, management measures
imposed on any fishery fail for lack of enforcement or are
implemented once the fishery has passed a critical period.
Effective management of the swordfish resource will depend
on common sense and discretion of fishing captains. It is not
clear whether longliners, as a group, have the self-restraint
and discipline to limit their own harvest, although there are
certainly fishing captains who are aware of the limitations of
the resource. The future of the swordfish-"gladiators of
sea"-is in their hands.
The assistance of Capt. John Stranz of the "Miss
Shannon" and Toby Tobias of the Division of Fish and Wild-
life, Department of Planning and Natural Resources in the
preparation of this article is gratefully acknowledged.
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In The Caribbean
James E. Rakocy
UVI-AES Associate Director and Research Aquaculturist
The United States and the island nations of theCaribbean
are heavily dependent on imported fish and fisheries
products. Roughly half of the seafood that Americans
consume is imported. In 1986, the U.S. imported 3 billion
pounds of edible fishery products valued at $4.8 billion.
Seafood imports represent more than 10% of the annual
trade deficit. In the Virgin Islands, nearly 80% of the seafood is
You may be surprised to learn that islands surrounded by
vast expanses of ocean are fish poor, but the Caribbean Sea
is not very productive compared to other oceans. The clear
waters contain very little planktonic algae, the primary
source of food that ultimately determines the size of fish
populations, which are no longer at their natural levels.
The high demand for seafood has led to overfishing of the
inshore (reef) fishery. The "luxury" species such as spiny
lobsters, conch, groupers and snappers have been virtually
depleted in many areas. With the removal of breeding stock,
these species will not recover unless strict regulations are
formulated and enforced. The recent voluntary ban on conch
fishing in the waters surrounding St. Thomas and St. John is
a step in the right direction.
Coastal development has also contributed to the depletion
of nearshore stocks. Heavy sediment loads inhibit the growth
of planktonic algae and thereby reduce the amount of food
available to the larval stages of fish and invertebrates. The
destruction of mangrove lagoons and other coastal habitats
rob juvenile fish of their food supplies and hiding places.
While the nearshore fishery is overexploited, the offshore
(pelagic) fishery, which accounts for more than 50% of total
landings on many islands, is still underutilized. Offshore
stocks, which have been harvested traditionally by handline
or rod and reel, are now captured in large commercial ven-
tures by a technique called "longlining." The target species,
swordfish and tunas, are exported to mainland markets, but
some of the bycatch (dolphin and wahoo) is sold locally. This
has had a positive short-term effect on local supplies, but the
long-term prospects for this fishery are uncertain and need to
be studied. This fishery is seasonal in nature, and therefore
supplies are variable.
Aquaculture, the culture and husbandry of aquatic orga-
nisms, offers a potential solution to the shortfall of seafood,
the uncertainties of supply, and the depletion of natural
stocks. World aquaculture production presently exceeds 22
billion pounds per year. This amount is expected to increase
by 8% annually until the year 2000. The U.S. share of this
Salt water cage culture has great potential in the Caribbean.
production, which currently stands at 500 million pounds,
may reach 1 billion pounds by 1990.
Mariculture, a branch of aquaculture, refers to aquatic
food which is raised in marine environments. In the Carib-
bean, there are several successful commercial projects in
fresh water (prawn farming in Martinique, Guadeloupe and
Puerto Rico; tilapia farming in Jamaica), but clearly the great-
est potential for aquatic food production lies in mariculture.
While fresh water is frequently limited, Caribbean islands are
surrounded by abundant supplies of clear, warm salt water
that is constantly renewed by gentle currents. These condi-
tions favor the growth of many marine food organisms,
especially when their diets are supplemented with high
Research is being conducted by a number of organizations
in the Caribbean to find species that are suitable for mari-
culture. Several species look very promising.
Studies on the culture of marine finfish (snappers, jacks,
pompano) are being conducted in Martinique by the Asso-
ciation for the Development of Aquaculture (ADAM) and the
French Institute of Research for the Exploitation of the Sea
(IFREMER). Juvenile fish are being captured from the wild
and raised in large cylindrical cages. Experiments are also
being done on the growth of European sea bass and red
Collecting immature fish from the wild is only a preliminary
step to assess the suitability of species for culture. Ultimately
the best species will have to be bred in captivity. A good can-
didate for this is the Nassau grouper. In mid-winter, sexually
ripe males and females congregate in the same areas to
spawn. Fish from these aggregations can be captured by
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Endangered Plants Of The
Virgin Islands: A Growing Concern
Extension Specialist-Natural Resources
Look around and you can't help but notice the diversity of
plant life that blankets our Virgin Islands. The lush greenery is
the attractiveness of the landscape. From the magnificent
mahogany to the graceful tyre palm, the cheery hibiscus,
tasty genips or tenacious tan tan, plants make up an impor-
tant part of the scenery.
Plants are also important resources for us. They provide us
with materials to build our homes, chemicals that are used in
medicines, fibers with which to fashion clothes and a seem-
ingly endless variety of food. Our lives are inextricably bound
to plants, as part of the web of life. Without plants we would
be unable to survive.
Concern is growing for the number of plants we are losing
in the Virgin Islands. Many of these species can only be found
her or in a very few other locations in the world. Reasons for
their decrease are many and complex. Some loss of species is
natural as part of the evolutionary process. Many more
species, however, are affected by loss of habitat, most often
associated with land clearing activities. Our islands have
been no exception. Replacement of natural vegetation with
homesites, hotels and shopping malls is becoming an all to
The Natural Resources Program of the Cooperative
Extension Service is currently compiling information about
the status of Virgin Islands plant populations that are con-
sidered rare, endangered or in some way threatened. An
endangered species is one which is in danger of extinction
throughout all or a major part of its range. A rare species is
one that occurs in small number, usually limited in range or in
such specialized habitat that it could disappear. The list that
follows is part of this effort. So far over 100 species are
considered plants of special concern in the Virgin Islands.
FERNS & ALLIED
[Apocynaceae] (new sp.)
Night blooming Cereus
Byrsonima n. sp.
Malpighia shaferi (-furcata)
Eugenia n. sp.
Pimenta racemosa var. grisea
Psidium n. sp.
Machaonia n. sp.
Puerto Rico hot palm
St. Thomas prickly ash
Salute the Virgin Islands Department of
Agriculture on the occasion of the
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EL PATIO FLOWER SHOP
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INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICES
ISLAND MEDICAL CENTER
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OFFICE OF DELEGATE TO CONGRESS
OLE'S SNACK BAR
PEOPLE'S DRUG STORE
PONDEROSA STEAK HOUSE
Dr. WALTER PEDERSEN
SOCIAL SECURITY OFFICE
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TRAVEL DESK OF ST. CROIX
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U.S. POSTAL SERVICE
V.I. TELEPHONE CORP.
V. WILLOCKS& FARRELLY ASSOC.
For years you've known us as Triumpho Electric of St. Croix.
Now we have new owners, but the same old commitment to
providing the island's largest inventory of electrical products
at reasonable prices.
Electricians and contractors know our extensive inventory.
We.invite you, our retail customers to see us for:
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7-C Peter's Rest, St. Croix 773-4630
"If you need advice, we've got it also-for free."