VOLUME I, ISSUE 3
SOSOUTHWEST FLORIDA RESEARCH
Expo, Institute Educate Growers, Industry Reps
The 14th Annual Citrus Expo and the Tomato Institute provided clientele and
other industry personnel with valuable information and updates on the most
important issues facing the two industries.
About 150 people attended each session of the Citrus Expo Seminar Program,
sponsored by the SWFREC, in Fort Myers in August. Among the topics ad-
dressed were "Developing Connections Between Urban and Farm Communi-
ties," "Ci. ,.r;i.. New Revenue Streams for Environmental Services on Ag A Citru
A Citrus Expo display enables
Lands," and SWFREC professor of entomology Dr. Phil Stansly's presentation SWFREC staff to share infor
on "A New Bug for Leafminer Control." mation with attendees.
Nearly 350 people attended the UF/IFAS Tomato Institute in Naples in September. Three SWFREC
researchers presented information: Dr. Kent Cushman, assistant professor of vegetable horticulture,
"Hurricane-Damaged Tomato Plants"; Dr. Monica Ozores-Hampton, "BMP Fertilizer Trials in Central
and Southwest Florida"; and Dr. Stansly, "Whitefly Q Biotype: How Big a Threat?"
Center Director's Corner
Inside this issue:
Spotlight On . .
S.. Ag Economics
Students Visit SWFREC
SWFREC Staff News
With summer behind us and fall plantings in full swing, it's a good time to reflect on
some of our recent accomplishments at SWFREC and our continuing search for im-
provements to programs, personnel, facilities, equipment, and the farm that will en-
able us to provide the highest quality of research and extension to move agriculture
forward in profitability and productivity in our region.
One such major project currently underway is the installation of a new water well that will help bring
2 farm fields #3 and #4 into better use for the vegetable horticulture program. With in-kind grower sup-
port from Hilliard Brothers Farm, we have also accomplished land renovation on field #9, which was idle
for several years. We also recently completed a canker decontamination spray loop at the entrance to the
Foundation Citrus Grove and budwood facility with support from Collier Enterprises. In addition, we
contracted necessary land-leveling on several fields and have made critical equipment purchases, including
3 a new rototiller and seed drill. And we purchased improved reverse-osmosis water purification equip-
ment for the laboratories and have made numerous other priority improvements to the center.
4 At a facility like SWFREC, there are obvious corrections that can be made quickly and economically, and
then there are those that require longer-range planning and -i ..., ... .r funds to accomplish. Among the
obvious are keeping up with minor repair work and routine maintenance, such as painting, trash cleanup,
mowing and pruning, taking inventory and discarding unusable items, etc. The intermediate and long-
range items take a higher level of planning and entail more capital investment. It would be great if we
could see the future, but we can only imagine it and plan for it based on what we've learned through ex-
perience. That's where regular faculty meetings and input from our clientele and advisory committees
help greatly in charting the path. From there, it's just a matter of staying the course.
jdunck @ifas. ufl.edu
Dr. Fritz Roka studies the opera-
tion as a mechanical harvester
moves along a row of citrus trees.
Spotlight On . Agricultural Economics Program
This SWFREC department supports other applied research programs in Florida with economic data
and strives to improve the quality of cost, price, and market information available to Florida farm own-
ers and managers. The program is led by associate professor of agricultural economics Dr. Fritz Roka,
who is assisted by senior statistician Barbara Hyman. Emphasis is placed on providing growers with
data that will enable them to make profitable decisions for their operations. One project doing just
that explores the economic feasibility of harvesting citrus mechanically.
"Mechanical harvesting is important to Florida's overall effort to reduce harvest costs and be more
globally competitive," Dr. Roka explains. "For some growers mechanical harvesting is already a viable
way of doing business. But we need to improve the conditions that will generate greater savings,
thereby attracting more growers to it."
One of the primary concerns with mechanical harvesting is the harvesting of late-season Valencias,
which carry two crops at one time-this year's crop and next year's-because harvesting machines do
not discriminate between mature fruit and immature fruit when they shake a tree. That's where ab-
scission comes into the process by loosening mature fruit on the tree.
"With abscission, machines would be able to work through the entire season," Dr. Roka says. "It loos-
ens the mature fruit, which helps to enhance the selectivity of the machines. Then, the machines can
shake the trees more gently. Mature fruit comes off more readily; immature fruit stays on the tree.
"We're looking at one particular abscission agent-its dosage rate and application rate-and at the
spray technique and when to spray. For example, the agent works slower when it's cooler outside and
faster when it's warmer, so when you spray and how quickly you harvest are key issues."
In addition to Dr. Roka and Hyman, the mechanical ]l, r;,, project includes several UF/IFAS indi-
viduals: Dr. Bob Rouse and Dr. Kelly Morgan from the SWFREC; Dr. Jackie Burns, Dr. Jim Syvert-
sen, Dr. Bill Castle, and Dr. Reza Ehsani from the Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Al-
fred; and Dr. Tom Burks from Gainesville. Beyond the research, the team realizes the importance of
getting its findings into growers' hands.
Do you prefer to receive your
copy of the SWFREC Update"
newsletter via e-mail rather than
mail? If so, just submit an e-mail
to email@example.com, and
you'll be added to the list.
"We want to make sure growers, harvesters, and processors are apprised of
the current status, such as what machines can and can't do and under what
conditions they are most effective," Dr. Roka says. "We'll do more work-
shops, participation in programs, field days, and small-group inl ri.. *."
Such grower interaction will include grower experiences, for which the
research group will collect yield data on blocks where growers have utilized
mechanical harvesting for five to seven years. This data will reveal the im-
pact of mechanical harvesting over time as compared to hand harvesting.
"For harvesting to be a success, the harvest price has to go down for grow-
ers and the harvest savings must more than compensate them for any costs
incurred at the grove to accommodate mechanical harvesting," Dr. Roka
says. "The machine capacity has to be pushed in terms of boxes per season.
As we push that capacity, the price per box should come down. That's the
inherent potential of mechanical harvesting that can't be achieved with hand
Evaluating The Use of a
Abscission Agent with
For more information about the SWFREC Agricultural Economics Program, contact Dr. Roka at 239-
658-3400 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
VOLUME I, ISSUE 3
Students Make Educational Visit to SWFREC
Twenty-seven science class students from Oakridge Middle School in Naples visited the SWFREC in
September as part of a field trip organized by teacher Georgia Stamp. The group, which also included
three other teachers, heard presentations from-and asked great questions of-SWFREC personnel in
four program areas, including:
-, Peter Newman, a biological scientist in the agron-
Somy program, shared information about a sugarcane wa-
ter quality project at the center, showing the instrumen-
tation used and discussing the harvesting process for sug-
*-- Mark Terrell, an employee of Florida's Department
/o, of Plant Industry who helps to oversee the SWFREC
... Budwood Foundation's source for propagating new citrus
trees, discussed the purpose of the citrus budwood pro-
gram and showed the students how a bud is cut from one
Mark Terrell demonstrates the process of grafting citrus tree and
a citrus bud onto an existing tree. grafted onto another. I1
hILS" ^ & 4
Oakridge Middle students check
out the tortoise beetles' effect on
TSA with Dr. Stansly (below,
left), then get an up-close look at
the critters themselves.
* Professor of entomology Dr. Phil Stansly discussed good
plants in the Florida landscape versus bad plants, such as the nox-
ious weed tropical soda apple (TSA). He then introduced the stu-
dents to a new "bug" that his program is studying as a control of
TSA: the tortoise beetle.
* Assistant professor of plant i ri. rl.1... Dr. Pam Roberts and
post-doctoral researcher Dr. Ronald French offered the students
examples of good fungi and bad fungi and enabled them to see
fungi growing inside a Petri dish. They also provided information and answered numerous questions
on citrus canker, explaining its impact on the state's citrus industry.
October 11: Vegetable Growers Seminar (addressing phosphorus as a plant nutrient and improving plant
health). 6:00-8:00pm, SWFREC, Immokalee. For more information and to RSVP, phone Hendry
Co. Coop. Extension Service, 863-674-4092.
October 12: Certified Crop Advisor Seminar. SWFREC (via videoconference). Soil/water manage-
ment, 5 CEUs; Crop management, 5 CEUs; Florida CCA-Ten-year celebration, .5 CEUs. For
more information, contact Dr. Ed Hanlon, SWFREC soil scientist, 239-658-3400.
October 18: Citrus Squeezer Seminar: Topic to be announced. 10am-lpm, SWFREC. For more in-
formation and to RSVP, phone Hendry Co. Coop. Extension Service, 863-674-4092.
October 18: Vegetable Growers Seminar: Topic and time to be announced. SWFREC, Immokalee. For
more information and to RSVP, phone Hendry Co. Coop. Extension Service, 863-674-4092.
November 15: Citrus Squeezer Seminar: Topic to be announced. I0am-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. Sanjay Shukla, assistant professor and water resources scientist, was named the
American Society of Agricultural Engineers Florida Section Young Extension Worker for
2005. This award honors outstanding success in motivating people to acquire knowledge,
skills, and understanding to improve agricultural operations.
* Dr. Fritz Roka, associate professor of agricultural economics, was one of five new mem-
bers elected to serve on the UF/IFAS Faculty Council. Led by senior vice-president Dr.
Jimmy Cheek, the group addresses issues of broad faculty interest that extend across ad-
ministrative units, including research and education centers. Dr. Roka's two-year term
began in September.
* Dr. Marty Main, associate professor of ....ilt. .1.. ., currently is serving a one-year
sabbatical at Cambridge University in England, where his research focuses on the sexual
segregation of ungulates. He will return to the SWFREC faculty in August 2006. In his
absence, senior biological scientist Ginger Allen may be contacted for information about
the Florida Master Naturalist Program or other 1.11,. .. 1 .1. .. issues at 239-658-3400.
* Dr. Ed Hanlon, professor of soil science, was elected to serve as treasurer on the Council
for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) board of directors. He begins a three-
year term as a member of the group's executive committee in November. Dr. Hanlon
has five years' experience working with the board of CAST, an organization created in
1972 to meet the need for better communication about the science behind food and agri-
Dr. Rama Urs (center), a senior biological
scientist in the ] .1..i I... 1 program,
retired on July 29. He coordinated the
Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic for ten-
plus years. Associate center director Dr.
John Dunckelman and plant pathologist
Dr. Pam Roberts present Dr. Urs' plaque.