VOLUME I, ISSUE 4
SOSOUTHWEST FLORIDA RESEARCH
. UNIVERSITY OF
Center Director's Corner
The devastating effects of Hurricane Wilma were widespread across Southwest Florida
when she came ashore near Marco Island in the early hours of October 24. The mam- i "
moth storm had set a record for the strongest hurricane in history in terms of atmos-
pheric pressure, and when it made landfall as a near-Category 3 storm, the Immokalee
area was among the hardest hit.
You name it as far as agriculture was concerned, and it was affected. Vegetable fields full of newly
planted tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, and squash were flooded. Many citrus trees were bro-
ken or uprooted or blown over, and those left standing were stripped of many leaves and much fruit.
Greenhouses were mangled, and the plants they housed strewn
I about or drowned across acres of water-soaked ground.
took its toll on annex
buildings and green-
houses at the
SWFREC. Of all the
crops in the ground,
tomatoes and sugar-
cane fared the best.
Inside this issue:
Spotlight On . .
.. Plant Pathology
At the SWFREC, the post-Wilma situation
was similar. Much of the citrus fruit in the
Southwest Florida Foundation grove was
blown to the ground. The sugarcane was
severely lodged but rebounded successfully
enough to provide some recent harvest data.
The lysimeter project was heavily
damaged, including vegetable
plants inside the containers and the
equipment used to determine irri-
gation needs of the crops. The one
bright spot is that the tomatoes
planted in field #1 came through
surprisingly well, and the first har-
vest was just completed.
Officials Tour Hurricane 3
Damage Our greenhouses didn't fare so
Upcoming Events 3 well. One was totally destroyed,
and six others require extensive repairs. Several of our out-buildings also were heavily damaged, includ-
ing the entomology and water resources annex buildings, which have been declared total losses. Dormi-
C ews tory facilities and other buildings also received heavy damage and are being repaired as priority, time, and
As agriculture in the Immokalee area continues to rebound from Hurricane Wilma, so does the SWFREC.
With assistance from UF/IFAS administration and facilities personnel in Gainesville, cleanup is nearly
complete and projects are resuming to the extent that they can given our limited facility resources to date.
As our center continues to rebound, the primary goal of our faculty and staff remains to conduct research
and education that produces valuable information for our growers, farms, and other clients.
ctuwaddillgfas. uJ1. edu
Spotlight On . .Plant Pathology Program
With its emphasis on diseases of vegetables, this SWFREC department conducts three areas of re-
search: diagnosis, epidemiology, and management. The program is led by associate professor of plant
]. rl,...., Dr. Pam Roberts. p
Having lost its fall trials and a
greenhouse to Hurricane
Wilma, the Plant P .rli .1..
Program is in the process of
rebuilding and initiating
new projects. Ongoing
studies include research on
Phytophthora capsici, bacterial
spot on tomato and pepper,
gummy and downey mildew
on cucurbits, and late blight
In spring 2006, Dr. Roberts
hopes that a new capability
to type certain races of late
blight will assist growers. The Dr. Pam Roberts surveys crops in a Plant F .1, 1 pepper trial conducted
at the SWFREC.
service will be offered through the S
the Plant P. rl..,, l... Program and the Florida Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic.
A primary focus of the Plant P rl,..1..h. Program remains watermelon vine decline, which has wiped
Watermelon vine decline contin- out entire crops throughout the area.
ues to be a threat to entire crops.
"There are several 1 rl..rg, ..: that may be involved in watermelon vine decline," Dr. Roberts explains.
"We'll be doing trials in the spring to determine which .. ri.. .;: are involved, whether there are fac-
tors that are contributors, and if there are any insecticides, cultural methods, or different varieties to
I mitigate the disease."
SIn addition to research efforts, the Plant P. rl,..1..: Program conducts the Plant Diagnostic Clinic,
which is led by Dr. Rosa Muchovej. The clinic enables growers to bring in samples for .1; .'.....
study. In addition to providing results of the samples, the clinic offers recommended treatment plans.
Growers can receive their results via mail, fax, or e-mail. Those who use e-mail receive an added
Benefit: When they receive a message that their results are complete, they get a direct link to the re-
sults along with a username that enables access to the E-Clinic database. Sample results are logged into
the database, which lists diseases in southwest Florida by crop, county, and date. Growers then can get
a feel for new disease problems in the area.
The cost to utilize the clinic is $20 per sample. Beginning January 1, 2006, an invoice will be attached
to results reports sent back to growers. The clinic is open from 9:00am-12:00pm and 1:00-4:00pm
Dr. Rosa Muchovej oversees the
SWFREC Plant Diagnostic Clinic. Monday Friday; samples may be dropped off during SWFREC normal business hours (8:00am-
For more information about the SWFREC Plant PF.rl,.... Program, contact Dr. Roberts at 239-658-
3400 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. edu.
VOLUME I, ISSUE 4
Tour Examines Ag-related Hurricane Damage
A group of state and federal officials toured south Florida on November 21 to get an up-close look at
the devastation that Hurricane Wilma caused to agricultural producers. Included in the group were
Chuck Conner, Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture; Charles Bronson,
Commissioner of the Florida Department of
SAgriculture and Consumer Services; United
SStates Representative Mario Diaz-Balart,
Whose district covers Miami and a portion of
Collier County; and US Representative Adam
a w Putnam, who is from Bartow and is well-
S known for his support of the Florida citrus
The group's visit to southwest Florida included
a stop at TCB Farms just south of Immokalee,
which was hit hard by Wilma and left with
Officials in the group-(from left) Rep. Adam Putnam, Rep. acres and acres of twisted and downed green-
Mario Diaz-Balart, FDACS Commissioner Charles Bronson, houses.
and USDA Deputy Secretary Chuck Conner-answer ques-
tions from the media during a stop at TCB Farms. "Until you see (the damage), I think it's tough
to understand because we don't have all those
visuals that we get from the Gulf Coast," Diaz-Balart said. "If help is not on the way-and soon-
frankly, there's going to be a lot of people out of business."
The purpose of the group's visit was to give Conner a first-hand look at the damage caused to south
Florida's agricultural industry. The federal and state officials vowed that they are united in their effort
to bring aid to producers in the region. Said Putnam: "It's our obligation to get (producers) back on
The day culminated with the officials taking hurricane-related questions from growers assembled at the
Hendry Co. Coop. Extension Service in LaBelle.
January 10: Scoutingfor Citrus Insect Pests and Diseases Workshop. 9:00am-3:00pm, Hendry Co. Coop.
Extension Service, LaBelle. 5 CEUs for Pesticide License Renewal; 5 CEUs for Certified Crop Advi-
sors. Registration is required; registration fee day of the event is $15 per person. For more informa-
tion and to register, phone 863-674-4092.
January 17: Citrus Squeezer Seminar: The Weather, Flower Bud Induction, and Current Status after the Hurri-
canes-and Next Year's Flowering, Fruit Set, and Fruit Yield. 10am-lpm, SWFREC, Immokalee. 2 CEUs
for Certified Crop Advisors. For more information and to RSVP, phone Hendry Co. Coop. Extension
February 21: Citrus Squeezer Seminar: Topic to be announced. l0am-lpm, SWFREC, Immokalee. For
more information and to RSVP, phone Hendry Co. Coop. Extension Service, 863-674-4092.
March 15: Collier County Agricultural Tour (sponsored by Collier Co. Coop. Extension Service, Naples). For
more information and to register, phone 239-353-4244.
March 21: Citrus Squeezer Seminar: Topic to be announced. 10am-lpm, SWFREC, Immokalee. For more
information and to RSVP, phone Hendry Co. Coop. Extension Service, 863-674-4092.
2686 State Road 29 North
Immokalee, FL 34142
We're on the Web!
SWFREC Staff News
* Dr. Bob Rouse, associate professor of citrus horticulture, attended two international con-
ferences in the fall. He attended the International Congress of Citrus Nurserymen in
September in Cairo, Egypt, where he presented "Current Status of the Citrus Industry
and Budwood Program in Florida." And at the International Society for Tropical Horti-
culture in October in the Dominican Republic, he presented "Florida Citrus Nursery
Industry, Budwood Program, and Current Disease Threats."
* Dr. Ed Hanlon, professor of soil science, and Dr. Randy Brown in Gainesville taught
Environmental Soil, Water, and Land Use (SOS 5234) during the fall 2005 semester. A
total of twenty-four students participated, representing the United States; Kenya and
Uganda, Africa; and Columbia, South America. Students explored land-use effects related
to the behavior of water and soil in a landscape context. This course is part of the Soil and
Water Science Department Masters of Science Program offered entirely through distance
* Dr. Sanjay Shukla, assistant professor and water resources scientist, was named recipient
of the 2005 Award of Excellence for Applied Research at the Southern Region Water
Quality Conference in October in Lexington, Kentucky. He was unable to attend the
conference; however, Dr. Ed Hanlon was in attendance and accepted the award on Dr.
Former SWFREC assistant direc-
tor Ed Holcomb made a surprise
appearance at the center's holiday
staffluncheon on December 16.