Virgin r Islands r
THE V.I. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
THE COLLEGE OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS -
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE
AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION
Reflects the clean shore breezes that freshen our
pastures and blue sea that frames them.
Our healthy flocks of cattle give St. Croix the taste
treat and eye appeal to please islander and tourist alike.
SUPPORT ALL LOCAL AGRICULTURE
Home of the "Registered"
and the big
White Cows ...
Agriculture and Food Fair
Bulletin Number 1
This is a Publication of the 16th Annual Agriculture and Food Fair
Table of Contents
Governor Juan Luis' Message............................................1
Dr. Arthur A. Richards' Message ................ ....................3
Commissioner Patrick N. W illiams' Message ............................. 5
1986 Agriculture and Food Fair Board of Directors ................... .....7
D.S. Padda The Business of Agriculture ................................ .9
Planning the Development of a Fruit Orchard ......................... 11
Getting the Feel of Your Soil ..........................................17
Pasture Establishment in the Virgin Islands .............................23
The Beef Cattle Improvement Program ................... ............25
Closed System Agriculture for the Small Farmer ......................... 27
The Egg and You ...................................... ................31
A Rare Tree on St. Croix the Baobab ............................... 33
Reasons for Low Fruit Yields ........................ ............... 35
Herbicides in Fruit Crops ............................................37
Pesticide Safety and Use ............................... ............ 39
Tank C culture of Tilapia ............................................ 41
Guinea Grass Can Save Your Garden ................................ 45
Teacher, W hy Are W e Studying Agriculture? ........................... 47
Dodder The Golden Strangler Vine ....................................49
I'm No Johnny Come Lately.............. .................. ......... 53
When Sugar Was King ...............................................55
From Our Photo Album ..............................................57
"Agriculture and Business A Good Mix for '86"
About Our Cover Photos: Front Cover honor guard and flag raising at fair opening cere-
monies; local produce admired by CVI President and Mrs. Arthur A. Richards with horticul-
turist Clinton George. Back Cover 1985 dairy calf winners, Roosevelt Rawlins, Jr. Division
and Rowan Henry, Sr. Division; Police Pre-Cadets won most of the food awards; St. George
Village Botanical Garden volunteers presented a beautiful display of their flowers.
All photos by Liz Wilson except as noted: Gov. Luis, Dr. A. Richards, Comm. P. Williams-V.I.
Gov't; p. 15 and 30, C. George: p. 41, J. Rakocy; p. 45 and 46, K. Guyton; p.48, J. Weekes; p.
50, W. Knausenberger; p. 53, E. McKay; p. 55, R. Schrader.
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 Agriculture and Food Fair Board ot
Message from Honorable Juan Luis
Governor of the Virgin Islands
Traditionally,the Annual Agriculture and Food Fair on
St. Croix is one of the major highlights of the year eager-
ly anticipated by thousands of enthusiastic residents and
The impressive display of agricultural products, live-
stock, farm equipment, and other eye-catching exhibits
is reassuring as it clearly demonstrates the potential that
exists for increased food production.
Nearly every Virgin Islander agrees that self-sufficiency
in food production is not only desirable but imperative if
we are to successfully attain our long-sought quest for
As part of the continuing effort toward this goal, I
have been working diligently with Agriculture and Plan-
ning officials to commence distribution this year of the
portion of the 2,000-acre Harvland property acquired
through the initiative of my Administration for agricul-
tural purposes. It is also expected that construction of
the long-awaited new abbatoir on St. Croix will begin
Moreover, I have directed the Commissioner of Agri-
culture to work closely with the U.S. Department of
Agriculture, Farmers Home Administration, Soil Conser-
vation Society and the National Agri-Business Promo-
tional Council to help improve all aspects of our agricul-
This renewed thrust is expected to bring to fruition
this year at least some of the goals pursued by my Ad- THE VIRGIN ISLANDS OF THE UNITED STATES
ministration to help make agriculture a viable industry OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
within the limits of our budgetary constraints.
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
I wish to to take this opportunity to salute the staff of
the Department of Agriculture and CVI Extension Ser-
vice, as well as the many individuals in the public and
private sectors who have combined their resources to ON
make this 16th Annual Agriculture and Food Fair the ge R
success it has become.
Mrs. Luis joins me in extending our warmest wishes to
all the participants of the Fair. We earnestly hope the
cooperation of the private sector will be of such a high
caliber this year that it will truly be said: "Agriculture OF
and Business made a Good Mix for '86."
ANNALY FARMS ST. CROIX
Box 1576, Frederiksted
"Breeders Of Purebred Senepol Cattle"
Bulls for sale
"EAT FRESH ISLAND BEEF"
Message from Dr. Arthur A. Richards
President, College of the Virgin Islands
A warm welcome to all attending the 16th Annual Agri-
culture and Food Fair on St. Croix, which, as always, we
are pleased to co-sponsor with the V.I. Department of
Agriculture. It can justifiably be said that this annual
event is becoming an institution in itself, an educational
and cultural happening which celebrates the vital role
played by the complex profession of agriculture in our
society. Elsewhere in the Caribbean, this Fair is being
recognized as an event worth emulating.
This year's Fair theme, "Agriculture and Business A
Good Mix in '86", highlights the often overlooked fact
that agriculture and business are inextricably linked.
How many people realize that the U.S. agricultural sys-
tem provides jobs for more than 21% of the U.S. work .
force and 20% of the GNP? The implications of these
facts are important for Virgin Islanders. A partnership 9
between business and food, agriculture and natural re- I
sources interests is vital to the health of V.I. residents
and the local economy.
At the College of the Virgin Islands, education is our
business. We are committed to providing comprehensive
practical education and service to all sectors of our com-
munity. Likewise, we are dedicated to developing the
objective research results which are indispensable as the
basis of all meaningful education. Besides the many aca-
demic instructional and continuing education curricula
available at the College, a wide diversity of research and H11E V
outreach programs are conducted by the Research and
Land-Grant Programs component. This consists of the
Agricultural Experimental Station, Caribbean Research
Institute, and the Cooperative Extension Service. The ex-
hibits at this Fair will provide insights into many of these -V e
We shall continue to devote ourselves to the devel-
opment of the human resources of the Virgin Islands
and the Caribbean, who will be the stewards of our
national heritage and capital. We urge the public to
provide us information in order that we may further
strengthen the dynamic learning environment provided COLLEGE OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
by the College of the Virgin Islands. OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
My appreciation goes to the Fair's Board of Directors Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
and the CVI staff who contributed considerable time and
effort to make this Fair a success.
Arthur A. Richards
Very best wishes from
EAME 9 1 F~L-~ra~~rro~he
Message from Commissioner Patrick N. Williams
President of the Agriculture and Food Fair
My Fellow Virgin Islanders:
Once again, I take this opportunity to welcome all of
you to the Sixteenth Annual Agriculture and Food Fair of
the Virgin Islands. This year, like the past two years in
which I have had the pleasant opportunity to serve as
the President of this organization, we look forward to
making your visit with us a remarkable event.
The theme for our Fair this year "Agriculture and
Business a Good Mix for '86" is indicative of the fact
that we are looking forward to a good year in '86. We
are looking for the breakthrough that we have sought
for many years.
A commitment was made to the people of these Virgin
Islands by Governor Juan Luis to bring this Territory to a
point where we will become more self-sufficient in feed-
ing ourselves. Sad to say, we have not fully accomplished
this feat. However, as all factors would indicate, we are
proceeding to at least leave in place the ground work on
which we hope future Governments will build. Needless
for me to utilize the few inches of space in this message
to outline to you the problems that beset our chances to
establish viable commercial agricultural enterprises in
these Virgin Islands. However, we are confident that in
the long run, agriculture, as it is known throughout the
world with all its difficulties and deterrent forces, will
gain its rightful place in these, our beautiful Virgin
I must ask you to continue to work with us in our
attempts to achieve this goal. There are those who
believe that our efforts are an exercise in futility. We
must change this belief. There are those who are placed
in positions of trust, who also lend their voices and force
of authority in denouncing agriculture as a viable and
most necessary enterprise. Their feelings are, among
other things, that agriculture ranks among the lowest of
their priorities. We must change this feeling. I have
always contended, and if you should look at the subject
matter from a realistic vantage point, I am certain that
you, too, would agree with me that regardless of what
one may acquire in his lifetime, if he is without the
proper nourishment, if he is without that basit necessity,
food, everything else is of no value.
So my dear friends, as you walk through this beautiful
exhibit that has been prepared for you, I say, enjoy
yourselves. In doing so, however, reflect on the future.
Think of where we will go if things were to change and
the shipping lanes were blocked. Think of how you
would respond to a crisis if we were to be dragged into
a third world war and we are cut off from the rest of the
world. You may say this is impossible; but think of it. If
we do not begin now, can we survive? In closing, I take
this opportunity to thank all those individuals who have
responded to our call for making this event the success I
am hoping for. I also thank all of those persons who
have journeyed from their various countries to be with
us for the next three days. I especially thank you, the
general public who religiously come to this event, for
your participation with us. It is you for whom we
prepared this event. It is done so that you may develop a
deeper appreciation for the role of a viable agricultural
economy in these our Virgin Islands, so that one day we
can all look back proudly and say, we can feed ourselves.
May God bless you, and enjoy the activities.
Patrick N. Williams
d X&eaJALI Qf^l Qe,&uiL L1344461 fWt )bl. -.I** Ca~pa); ^an S& CL
1986 Agriculture and Food Fair
Board of Directors
President Vice President
Commissioner Patrick N. Williams Dr. Darshan S. Padda
Eric L. Bough
Elisha Daniels, Sr.
Director of Food Exhibits
Director of Farm Exhibits
Asst. Committee Member
Director of Livestock Exhibits
Asst. Committee Member
Director of Publications and Promotions
Director of Youth Activities
Zoraida E. Jacobs
Director of Rules and Awards
Co-Director of Rules and Awards
Otis F. Hicks, Sr.
Director of Special Activities
Director of CVI Coordination
r Just the FACTS!
For once, you're going to get just the facts. No fancy words, pretty pictures, or sophis-
ticated sell. The plain truth doesn't need adornment to make sense. Read on if you want to
get more value for your food budget, and please your family as well.
Fact #1: Island Dairies is the only dairy in the Virgin Islands that processes fresh-from-the-
farm natural milk* produced by St. Croix cows.
*Fresh, natural milk is milk processed straight from the cow. This is island Dairies milk.
Reconstituted or recombined milk is powdered milk, rehydrated with butter and water.
This is not Island Dairies milk.
Fact #2: The imported dairy products in the supermarkets are often 8 to 10 days old by the
time they reach the Virgin Islands. Also, if you buy milk in the clear, plastic jugs, much
of the vitamin content has been lost due to light penetration.
Fact #3: Island Dairies has spent five years and $2 million developing the most modern pro-
cessing plant in the Caribbean. Its management is committed to producing the high-
est quality and most nutritional products, meeting Grade A standards.
Fact #4: There is a difference in the taste of fresh, natural dairy products. Would you rather eat a
meal that was cooked over a week ago and stored in the refrigerator; or one that was
cooked, turned into powder and then rem.xed with water; or one freshly prepared? Of
course you can taste the difference .n a fresh food product like Island Dairies' milk.
Fact #5: Island Dairies produces premium ice cream in 13 flavors that compares with the finest
in the world (according to some selective ice cream connoisseurs). Island Dairies puts
its own name on its .ce cream because it's very proud of the quality and wants to be iden-
tified with it. The current line of flavors includes: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, rum
raisin, cherry vanilla, banana, pistachio, pineapple, buttered almond, coconut, frozen
fruit, coffee, and buttered pecan.
Fact #6: Island Dairies' products are comparable in price* to other brands on the market.
Though you'd expect to pay a lot more for Island Dairies' fresh, natural quality, production
efficiency enables the company to keep prices low and pass on the savings to you, the
customer. This is Island Dairies' philosophy: quality and value at a reasonable price.
*and sometimes less expensive
Now you know the facts. You can judge for yourself. You've invested this time in finding out why
Island Dairies' products are superior, so doesn't it make sense for you to invest your hard-earned
money in the best food value? Plus, Island Dairies is a locally-owned-and-managed company that
creates employment for close to 70 people on the Island. When you buy an Island Dairies' product,
you're investing in the local economy, not some big corporation half way across the world.
u-stUCll U A.
We invite you to test Island Dairies' quality. Please use the
coupon below for savings on our "Get Acquainted Offer."
10c GET ACQUAINTED 250
OFF OFFER OFF
This coupon entitles the bearer to 254 off the price
of any half gallon of Island Dairies milk or ice
cream, or 104 off the price of a quart of Island
Dairies milk or ice cream. (Limit two products per
Redeemable at the Golden Cow or Island Dairies
Retail Store (4-G Sion Farm, behind United Shop-
100 The Best Is Fresh, Naturally! 25C
OFF (Good Through April 1, 1986) OFF
------------- ------- --
The Business Of Agriculture
Darshan S. Padda
Vice President, Research and Land-Grant Programs
College of the Virgin Islands
Population growth, expansion of material needs, and
rapidly changing technology have placed great demands on
Virgin Islands' limited resources. Satisfying the present and
future needs for food, water, energy, housing, recreation,
and the other requirements of a modern society, creates
many problems and provides numerous challenges. Solu-
tions of these problems demand application of technology-
based information and steward planning to guide the
development, conservation, and management of our
renewable and non-renewable resources.
Small communities with limited resources should not
consider economic development solely in exclusionary
terms. A balanced development of the Virgin Islands re-
quires an integrated approach towards agriculture, tourism,
industrial development, and merchandising. In the Virgin
islands, and, as a matter of fact, throughout the Caribbean,
there is a tendency to think in terms of sectional economic
development. If there is a discussion about promoting agri-
culture, it is taken as a threat to tourism and business, and
vice-versa. The result of trying to promote one sector of the
economy at the cost of excluding other sections has, at best,
retarded an overall development and, at times, has divided
certain potentially beneficial interest groups. We can no
longer afford to think in terms of an agrarian economy, a
tourism economy, or a retail merchandising economy we
need a balanced economy. Every Virgin Islander cannot be
a farmer, a businessman, or an industrialist. We need a
diversity of economic programs so that all our people can
participate and benefit from varied economic development
From the topic of my paper, it should be clear that I do not
see a clash between agriculture and business. Further, agri-
culture cannot survive as an occupation until it is run as a
business. Agriculture is a business, and like any other enter-
prise, the forces of supply and demand, credit and financial
planning, production and marketing, labour and manage-
ment, innovation and flexibility, will determine its successes
or its failures.
A business is defined as an occupation involved in the
producing, buying and selling of commodities and services.
The definition of agriculture, on the other hand, has gone
through significant changes with the growth of civilization.
Originally, it applied to the growing of crops and the raising
of livestock. As economic systems developed, it has taken
on a broader meaning. Today, the word still applies to
growing crops, raising livestock, and the organization and
management of farming. But now, it extends to firms and
industries that manufacture farm machinery, produce fer-
tilizer, market farm chemicals all the services and supplies
used in modern farming. Additionally, it covers the indus-
tries that process, package and market farm products. These
industries include grain firms, meat packers, cotton mills,
fruit and vegetable dealers and processors, wholesale food
firms and retail supermarkets. Agricultural communication
and journalism is an example of the expansion in this field.
There are food editors, market news broadcasters, and
commodity trading forecasters. The modern term of agricul-
ture can, therefore, be defined as an industry covering the
organization of resources, such as land, water, capital in a
wide variety of forms, management, and labour, for the
production and marketing of food and fibre.
Present-day agriculture is organized in three economic
sectors which can be identified primarily by function. These
three economic sectors are farming, agribusiness, and regu-
lation and promotion.
1. Farming: A farm is a business firm organized to
produce crops or raise livestock. It involves land, capi-
tal, management and labour. Farming, to be competi-
tive, needs improved efficiency and productivity
which, in turn, depends on increased amount of capi-
tal, advance technology, and high level management.
Modern farming is dynamic and growing, and requires
people with scientific and management training, capa-
bility, ambition and skill. Knowledge of economics and
business management must be combined with
biology, chemistry, agronomy, engineering, nutrition,
and animal and plant health care. The successful
farmer, like the successful businessman, is a broad-
range person whose sound economic judgment is
critical for success.
2. Agribusiness: Firms and economic enterprises, orga-
nized to produce and sell services and supplies to
farmers, are called agribusinesses. These firms buy and
process farm products and distribute them through
wholesale and retail markets. The first groups are
called farm service supply industries, and the second,
agricultural processing-marketing industries.
The farm service supply industries transform the
minerals and other raw materials into farm machinery,
fertilizer and other farm chemicals, and a variety of
other commodities and services used in growing crops
and raising livestock. The products of these industries
are used to increase the productivity of crops and live-
stock and reduce the amount of land and labour re-
quired for farm production. These industries presently
include seed, feed, and fertilizer companies, manu-
facturers of chemical pesticides, pharmaceuticals,
farm machinery and equipment, professional manage-
ment firms, and banking and credit services. A govern-
ment-sponsored credit system, commercial banks and
insurance companies, individuals and institutions all
are part of the agribusiness complex.
The modern agricultural economy is also character-
ized by a substantial development and growth of pro-
cessing and marketing industries which, in essence,
buy farm products and transform them into commodi-
ties suitable for consumption. Modern day consumers
demand more and more refinements in their food
supply. They are willing to pay for more processing,
increased convenience in terms of packaging, preserv-
ing, freezing and enrichment. Agricultural
processing/marketing industries grow because consu-
mers are willing to pay for the services that are added.
The agribusinesses that process and market farm prod-
ucts include grain mills, meat packing, dairy plants,
food freezing firms, food drying and canning, manu-
facturing of fats and oils, lumber milling, grain barge
lines, trucking and railroad services.
3. Regulation and Promotion: Publicly-supported
services like food inspection, sanitary regulations,
market news, market supervision and government
farm price support programs are included in this sec-
tor. Investment with the farm sector grows as a result of
publicly-supported services. These services, along
with the market development and other farm product
promotional services, stimulate economic develop-
ment, change the allocation of resources between
farming and agribusiness, and influence the distribu-
tion of income between agriculture and the rest of the
This article has attempted to point out that agriculture is
not limited to farming, but is a complex interdependent
business enterprise, interacting with many other sectors of
the economy. Interestingly enough, all the eight attributes
characterizing the successful companies, as detailed by
Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman,Jr., in their book,
"In Search of Excellence", applies to a successful agricul-
ture also. These attributes are:
1. A bias for action, for getting on with it. Farmers are
known for their quickness of action! Cows do not
2. Close to the customer. Farmers have changed their
products to suit the taste of consumers more than any
3. Autonomy and entrepreneurship. Farmers are known
for their independence and innovation.
4. Productivity through people. In farm operation,
everybody plays an important role.
5. Hands-on, value driven. Farmers are friendly, frank,
honest, and hold strong values.
6. Stick to the knitting. The statement that the odds for
excellent preformance seem strongly to favour those
companies that stay reasonably close to business they
know could not be more true in the case of a successful
7. Simple form, lean staff. We have seen before our eses
farms failing due to over-expansion, high interest in-
vestments and out of control growth.
8. Simultaneous loose-tight properties. The excellent
companies are both centralized and decentralized.
Farmers are down-to-earth people. They work closely
with farm labour on a day-to-day basis, and set.
farmers are one of the most private people.
These eight attributes of excellence in business are the
everyday happening at the farm; and that is whs. toda\.
agriculture must be practiced and recognized as a business
and not simply a way of life, as in the distant past.
Additionally, agriculture and business compliment each
other to improve the overall economy. Expanded food pro-
duction improves farm incomes, generates job opportuni-
ties, enhances savings, and frees labour for industrial devel-
opment. The results are general economic growth, im-
proved purchasing power and trade. Trade and industry on
the other hand, support agriculture through generating
revenues that support publicly-funded projects. And. addi-
tionally, the resident population benefits from the circula-
tion of money in the community, resulting in improved
purchasing power for high quality agricultural products.
Production of local agricultural goods will be counter-
productive until there are enough buyers sho can afford
such items. And, since tourism provides consumers with
higher buying power, it plays an excellent supporting role
in improving the profitability of agricultural enterprises.
In the Virgin Islands, due to the high cost of labour, lim-
ited supply of water, and high transportation costs ot certain
agricultural inputs, the production costs are er\ high.
Fortunately, being a part of the U.S. economic system.
Virgin Islanders have relatively higher income le\el than in
the other Caribbean countries, and between the residents
and the visitors, a reasonably good market exists for qualht\
agricultural products. Agriculture in the Virgin Islands can
be a profitable occupation, but to be competitive ilth
other alternative occupations that are luckily available to
our people, it must be practiced as a business.
Planning The Development
Of A Fruit Orchard
CVI Extension Specialist- Horticulture
The key to a successful crop or any other enterprise is
proper planning. Several people in the Virgin Islands have
failed miserably with ill-conceived, poorly planned and
executed agricultural enterprises. This is because the task of
planning and developing an agriculture enterprise is not a
simple one. To do this the best possible way will take some
time, effort, and money. Shortcuts are seldom the cheapest,
so you will need to plan each step carefully.
A Fruit Orchard should be planned and developed in
phases, which includes selecting a suitable site and mix of
crops, developing the site, producing the crop, and finally,
disposal of the crop.
Choice of location (site selection) for tropical fruit crop
culture should ideally be made on the basis of selecting the
best optimum in all respects. The closest approach to this
occurs when neither site factors nor the crops to be grown
have been predetermined. However, site selection is much
more restricted in the case of small holders in the Virgin
Islands, who already possess the land but whose problem is
not only to determine the mix of crops for their location,
but also the mix that will offer good potential monetary
returns. The first phase for selecting a suitable site and mix
of crops was described in the 1984 Food Fair booklet.
The second site development phase begins with the
development of the site after it has been selected. This is the
stage when preliminary planning as to the basic design and
actual layout of the planting and development of the overall
timetable and necessary estimates will be planned and
carried out to ensure that various components of the enter-
prise will be ready when needed.
The first step is to prepare a drawing of the layout (figure
1) to show the dimensions of the area (length and width) to
be developed, the location of roads, nursery area, irriga-
tion system layout, and the space available for plants after
dividing the area into blocks. You may also want to include
the planting design and spacing into the drawing.
The planting design or arrangement of the trees in the
orchard should be adapted to your particular situation. The
decision should be based on the eventual size of the trees,
s6e s' x ;: ---- 2.s5 x 2-.
P\.(L o _-
SEP l,.RL 5, GX A-- P 51 X
PL, A o --- e-- CF C>i
3o'x 3 o'x 3o'
--- ---- -- --6 G-
i / -- | - --
-- --- ^ ------- ------- -
,*--- N S '-----t----_P- _____
the topography (slope) of the
land, and the irrigation sys-
tem. The most common
planting designs are shown
on Table 1, along with the
situations in which they are
Decisions must then be
made as to the plant spacing
for individual crops and culti-
vars. The best distance is that
which will permit optimum
plant development without
undue interference from
other plants (over-crowding).
Considerations must also be
given for accessory roads. In
Crop Variety Acre
Avocado Semil#34 . .70
Semil#43 . .70
Mango Julie. . . . .70
Palmer . . .48
Keith ....... 48
Cavendish . 906
mature orchards, space is needed to haul the fruit after
harvesting, to drive in spray rigs for pest control, and for
many other orchard activities.
RECTANGULAR or Hedgerow
RECTANGULAR or Hedgerow
CONDITIONS WHERE USED
More trees per acre
QUINCUNX or Middle of the Square
More trees per acre
Nearly equal spacing
Hillside or rolling
In some areas, newly planted groves can be intercropped
for several years with annual cash crops (Fig. 2). The rectan-
gular planting scheme lends itself to an intercrop practice
better than other systems.
Rather than intercropping, many growers plant a larger
number of trees per acre, and, in later years pull out certain
trees when they become crowded. This last point is where
most growers falter...they never want to pull or cut out
producing trees. However, evidence indicates that most
fruit yields are reduced when too crowded.
Now that you know what you have to work with and have
made decisions as to how you want to go about it, it is time
to put your plan together. Proper scheduling of operations
including provisions for adequate lead time for materials
and supplies (especially if they have to come from off
island), entails making up a basic timetable (Tables II and
III). This should show the sequence and time required for
each operation month by month. Certain target dates will
be established for completion of clearing and cleaning,
laying out blocks, construction activities, planting, and
various cultural practices, plus the beginning of regular
harvesting. This basic timetable must be reviewed and
revised periodically to reflect inevitable changes.
You should then consider carefully all the costs vou will
incur in developing a fruit orchard. This preliminary plan-
ning will give you a good idea of the costs inoolhed. Esti-
mates of quantities of materials and supplies including labor
needed for each operation and their costs should be as-
sembled. Those for handpower and equipment needed for
the initial operations, such as clearing and cleaning, con-
struction of structures, roads, installation of irrigation sis-
ten, etc. are much more difficult to develop and could be
contracted out, particularly if the machinery necessary\ for
them will not be needed later. However. before \ou start
any of the operations you should be prepared to finance the
The third phase in the development of a fruit orchard
entails production of the crop. Crop production begins
with site preparation and setting of the plants in the field
and continues throughout the economic life of planting
Clearing and cleaning of land involves removal of the e\it-
ing cover in such a way as to effect the transition from the
forest and grass land to intensive crop culture with mini-
mum disturbance of the equilibrium between climate, soil
and vegetation. Relatively level areas ma\ be cleared entire-
ly, once the initial survey is completed, with power equip-
ment such as bulldozers and brush cutters.
Clearing may be done entirely bs hand on slopes where it
would be dangerous to operate large machines, and soil
erosion hazards are high. Hand clearing is much slower but
permits the retention of certain trees to be utilized as shade
and to aid in reducing erosion while the land is being pre-
pared for planting.
It is highly desirable to avoid burning completely. or at
least to limit it to the minimum. Burning causes the destruc-
tion of most of the organic matter in the vegetation. \ot
only are carbon, hydrogen and oxygen lost, but much nitro-
gen and some sulphur will also escape into the air. The re-
maining ashes enrich the soil with some potassium. but not
for long. A large part may be lost b\ run-off. or b\ leaching.
Certain operations, such as staking out blocks, rovss and
plant spaces, creating roads and installing irrigation lines
are done after land has been cleared and cleaned. In the
Virgin Islands, where the sun is never far from directly\ o\er-
head, the row direction would make little difference and
other considerations carry more weight. On slopes it is best
to follow the contour lines, otherwise, planting perpen-
dicular to the prevailing wind is preferred. Holes should be
dug before the rainy season. Planting holes are t.picallk
made 1.5 to 2 ft. in diameter and 1.5 to 2 ft. deep. Top soil
should be kept apart to be replaced on top after filling the
hole. The subsoil is mixed with compost or farm lard
Planting is carried out at the beginning of the rains season
if supplemental irrigation is not available. A plant should
never be set lower in the field than it was in the nursery. -\
the soil has to settle, it is sensible to plant a fevw inches
higher than ground level. Soil to fill the hole is added grad-
ually with continuous gentle packing with the hands or a
short blunt-point stick to eliminate air pockets after r is
applied gradually as the hole is filled.
The fertilizing program is usually done in two stages:
Non-bearing and Bearing. In the non-bearing stage, every
effort is made to keep the plants in as nearly continuous
vegetative growth as possible through light, frequent appli-
cations of fertilizer. These may be started at the time of
planting (organic fertilizers) or 6 to 8 weeks later (inorganic
fertilizers). Young plants are always fertilized by the hand
with care to spread the material evenly over an area about
twice the radius of the overhang. Amounts applied per
plant will vary according to soil fertility, crop, size and age.
A typical schedule may call for applications every 6 to 8
weeks the first year, and every 10 to 12 weeks from the
second year to the time the plants begin to bear.
Components of mineral nutrition in the bearing stage
include fertilizers and nutritional sprays, organic materials,
and soil amendments. The last two are utilized to improve
or maintain physical properties and adjust soil reaction.
Certain generalizations may be made in establishing the
ratio of fertilizer. It is fairly well established that most trop-
ical fruit crops have a low requirement for phosphorous,
and moderate to high requirements for nitrogen and potas-
sium. Most soils in the Virgin Islands are alkaline in reaction
and will require relatively more potash and minor elements
than those acid in reaction.
The quantity of fertilizer to be applied per plant can be
based on plant age, size, or yield. The last is best since it can
be adapted to nearly all situations and does represent
return for money spent. Foliar analysis is invaluable in de-
termining the amount of fertilizer to apply.
Number and timing of application will vary with climate
and soil conditions as well as crop needs. Periods of peak
demand for nutrients, such as flowering, the stage of most
rapid increase in fruit size or other critical times in the
plant's growth and development, should be anticipated and
fertilizers applied accordingly.
Young plants usually have their greatest need for water
during the first year or two when root systems are small and
have not extended far enough out into the soil to sustain
them through a dry period of more than a week or two. In
the Virgin Islands, few farmers that grow fruit crops have
irrigation facilities, hence, care must be taken in most plant-
ings to conserve moisture by every possible means in anti-
cipation of dry periods. Recently because of Extension edu-
cational efforts, increasing attention is being given to in-
Typical mango orchard, with trees well spaced,
can be seen at the V.I. Dept. of Agriculture, Estate
PREPARATION OF THE SITE
SCHEDULE OF OPERATIONS
Year 1985 1986
Month J FMAM J J ASOND J FMAM J J ASOND
Locate and Stake
Building, and blocks.... X
Construct roads. X
Construct nursery area X X X
Drill well X
Land clearing X
Lay out plantings X
stalling irrigation facilities, particularly the more efficient
types like drip irrigation.
Most tropical fruits have enough insect and disease prob-
lems to make growing them troublesome at times. A good
practice is to check your trees on a regular basis. You need
to learn the potential pest problems and how to control
them. To do this requires a little effort on your part in order
to be able to recognize the damage, identify the insect or
disease responsible, and take effective remedial action
before the damage progresses too far to control.
Suppression of weeds in the non-bearing planting is ob-
tained with mulch, hand, or machine cultivation. A thick
loose mulch maintained around each plant until its canopy
provides enough shade to slow down weed growth is
recommended, especially during prolonged dry periods.
Good aeration around the stem of the plant is of course
essential, thus, care should be taken to leave a clear space
next to the stem perhaps 4 to 6 inches for small plants, and
about 1 ft. for larger plants. Competition of weeds for nu-
trients and water must, of course, be minimized in the root-
ing zone but the row middles should be handled best to
The purpose of pruning is to establish a balance between
vegetative growth and fruit bearing. Some trees need much
more pruning than others. Three types of pruning are rec-
ognized: frame, maintenance, and rejuvenation pruning. A
framework is best formed in the nursery; it usually consists
of a single stem branched out in 3 to4 directions, each occu-
pying a sector. Maintenance pruning aims at the preserva-
tion of the status quo of the tree with over-crossed, dead or
diseased wood pruned out. Rejuvenation pruning is meant
to bring trees in decline back into production. The tree is
severely cut back, so that dormant buds may develop: the
best placed branches are then retained.
In the tropics pruning may take place at almost anm time
of the year. It is important to use good equipment. Cuts
should be small, smooth and sloping, so that no water can
collect on the wound. Large wounds must be treated with a
covering material (pruning paint), but not the same dac.
since the wound must have a chance to sweat.
The fourth and final phase covers crop disposal. Success-
ful disposal of the crop entails harvesting at the proper stage
and subsequent handling or processing procedures which
OPERATION SCHEDULE FOR AVOCADO
Year 1935 1986 1987 1988
Month JASOND JFMAMJJASOND JFMA MJJASOND JFMAMJJASOND
Acquire trees X
Land preparation X
Stake & dig holes X
Install Irrigation X
Plant trees X
Fertilize XX X X X X X X X X X X X
obwj ng X X X X X X X X X X X
Mulching X X X X X
Pest control When Necessary
Tree replacement When Necessary
1989 1990 1991
Fertilizing X X X X X
lMwing X X X X
Pruning When Necessary X
Pest control When Necessary
Harvesting XXX XX X X XXX XX
Marketing XXX XX XX XXX XX
will retain quality while the product is enroute to the ulti-
How does a fruit grower determine the exact moment to
harvest? Fruits which are yellow or red in color when ripe
may be picked for fresh use when the green ground color
begins.to lighten, exclusive of spots prematurely colored by
sunburn, or insects or other causes. Fruits that are green or
russet when ripe may be harvested when the largest ones on
the plant begin to drop or whose rinds give slightly, under
light finger pressure.
Exceptions to the normal ripening process occur with
some fruits such as the avocado and mesple, whose fruit can
be held on the tree for several months. Citrus fruit contain
little or no starch when they are mature. They must be al-
lowed-to remain on the tree until they have attained accept-
able edible quality, that is until they are ripe. For some citrus
cultivars, the harvest may be delayed for several months
after internal maturity has been reached.
Banana intercropped with beans.
Most fruits are picked one by one or in clusters directly by
hand or with the aid of simple tools. Citrus fruit are gener-
ally retrieved with a combined thrust and pull, except for
cultivars liable to have the flesh torn, which are cut off with
blunt-nosed clippers. Pineapples are snapped off. The stem
behind a banana bunch is cut off with a machete. Mangoes
and avocados are generally harvested with the aid of a
picking pole which has a curved knife and small cloth bag.
Picking is done from the ground where possible, fruit
higher in plants, being obtained from ladders. Most fruits,
except those with a hard shell must be picked with care to
avoid cuts, bruises or puncture wounds.
The harvested fruit is taken from the orchard in boxes or
containers. The harvest is then delivered directly to a local
source or market. Fruits are utilized primarily for fresh use
in the Virgin Islands. Most mature and ripen during the
summer months, so that markets are usually flooded
quickly and prices are correspondingly low. Prominence of
tropical fruits in the Virgin Islands will be achieved only
when it is recognized that alternative usage, such as con-
centrates and other processed forms, must be developed
along with establishment of standards for maturity and
For assistance or additional information, contact Clinton
George or CVI Extension Agriculture Program, 778-0246.
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Getting The Feel Of Your Soil
CVI Extension Specialist Agronomy
If you have ever picked up a handful of soil and felt the
different particles you have taken the first step in deter-
mining the texture of your soil. Physically a soil is made of a
solid portion, consisting of inorganic particles and decaying
organic matter, and an open pore space portion which is
filled with varying amounts of water and air. Soil texture
describes the mixture of particles that compose the solid
mineral portion of a soil. It is one of the most informative
properties of soils allowing many assumptions about other
characteristics as water holding capacity, soil aeration,
drainage, nutrient ability and others to be made.
Soil particles are classified by dividing them into separates
(groups) according to their size. Three separates are recog-
nized which are sand, silt, and clay. Each react differently in
the soil. They also feel differently.
The largest of the soil separates is sand. Sand particles
range in size from 2.00 to 0.05 mm in diameter. They are
either rounded or irregular in shape and can be seen with
the naked eye. Sand particles feel gritty to your hand. They
cannot be molded nor do they become sticky when
The next smallest separate is silt. Silt particles range in size
from 0.05 to 00.5 mm. They are irregular in shape and can
barely be seen with the naked eye. Silt feels smooth,almost
talc-like, to your hand. Silt can be molded but does not hold
its shape well. When moist it feels slippery but not sticky.
Clay is the smallest separate at less than 0.002 mm in diam-
eter and can only be seen under high microscopic magnifi-
cation. Clay particles differ from sand and silt particles
because they are flat and composed of thousands of indi-
vidual layers. When moist they feel sticky and thus are easily
To visualize how small a clay particle is and the relative
difference in size between these separates imagine a clay
particle to be the size of a pin head. A very fine sand particle
would be equal to the diameter of a dime and a coarse sand
particle would be the diameter of a tea saucer. A dramatic
difference in size!
This difference in size along with the shape of the sep-
arates, greatly alters the surface area of a particle. The sur-
face area is the total area exposed to outside influences such
as air and water. Clay has the greatest surface area of all the
separates. Since many reactions in soil take place at the sur-
face, the characteristics of soils vary greatly with the various
combinations of these soil separates known as the soil
Three overall groups of texture are used (Table 1). These
are sandy ( 70% sand), loamy and clayey ( 40%, clay). Loamy
soils are not dominated by any soil separate, and fall
between sandy and clayey soils. These general groups are
further divided into twelve texture classes according to the
relative influence of each separate (Table 1). Since clays
have large surface areas, the amount needed to influence a
soil's properties is less than that for sands and silts.
Texture is a unique property of each soil. Texture also
changes over the depth of the soil so that the texture at the
surface of a soil may differ from that even a few inches
below it. This layering affect can influence properties such
as the depth to the water table and the available rooting
zone for plants. Once determined, further texture analysis
General Terms Used to Describe Soil Texture in Relation to the Soil Texture
Classes and the Percent of each Separate in each Class.
Percent of each soil separate
Common Names Texture Classes Clay % Sand % Silt %
Sand 0- 10 85 -100 0 -15
Sandy soils Loamy sand 0 -15 70 90 0 -30
Sandy loam 0 20 43 -85 0 50
Loam 7 27 23 52 28 50
Silt loam 0 27 0 50 50 88
Loamy soils Silt 0 12 0 20 80 -100
Sandy clay loam 20 35 45 -80 0 28
Silt clay loam 27 40 0 20 40- 73
Clay loam 27- 40 20- 45 15- 53
Sandy clay 35 -55 45 -65 0 -20
Clayey soils Silty clay 40 60 0 -20 40 -60
Clay 40 100 0 45 0 40
is not necessary since the size of separates and the propor-
tions of each separate in the soil are stable within the rela-
tive terms of human life.
In the Virgin Islands there are six main textural classes
(Table 2). Many soils of the Virgin Islands have a large por-
tion of rock fragments. The textural classes for these soils are
modified according to the size, shape and amount of these
fragments. Several soils are classified as stony clay loam soil.
This means rounded stones, greater than 10 inches in diam-
eter, occupy between 0.01 and 0.1 percent of the surface
area. Other soils are classified as gravelly clay loams which
indicates that between 20 to 50 percent of the soil has round
fragments between 2 mm and 8 cm in diameter.
Sand particles are larger. Therefore, there is less total
pore space and a lower total water holding capacity in sandy
soils. Since sandy soils have larger pore spaces, water can
move through them more quickly than through soils of
any other textural class.
Soil Aeration and Leaching Potential
The small pores found in clayey soil limits the movement
of air in the soil. Thus, many clayey soils have poor soil aera-
tion which in turn limits root growth. These small pores also
slow the movement of water through clayey soils so there is
limited leaching of nutrients from these soils. Leaching is
the downward movement of water out of the plant root
zone. This water often carries nutrients with it.
Summary of the Texture Classifications of Major Soil Series
in the Virgin Islands
Silty Stony Gravelly
Clay Clay Clay Clay
Sand Loam Loam Loam Loam Clay
Jaucas Magens Coamo Cramer Aguilita Aguirre
Descalabrado Cramer Fraternidad
Diamond Isaac Fredensborg
Dorthea LaVallee Hesselberg
Determining Soil Texture
The first step in determining the textural class of a soil is to
measure the exact amount of each separate in the soil. This
test requires special laboratory equipment and can be per-
formed by the Cooperative Extension Service Soil Testing
Lab. A rough estimate of the texture can be done by feel,
using the flow diagram in Figure 1. With practice you can
easily estimate the amount of each separate and determine
your own soil texture.
Textural Influences On Other Soil Properties
Texture influences both physical and chemical character-
istics of soils (Table 3). The degree of this influence is largely
related to the surface area of the soil and the strength of
attraction of water and nutrients to that surface area.
The storage and movement of water in a soil is influenced
by the surface area and the amount and size of air space.
Clays have the greatest amount of surface area of anyof the
separates. In addition, this surface is electrically charged
which adds to their ability to strongly attract and hold both
water and nutrients. Therefore, clayey soils hold the most
water of all the textures. However, due to strong chemical
bonds and the small pore size water is held tightly and only
moderately available to plants. The small pore size also
slows the movement of water through the soil. Therefore,
clayey soils have a slow water infiltration rate.
Sandy soils, which are composed of large particles. ha\e
large pores between particles. Thus, water freely enters and
moves through the soil leading to a high leaching capacity.
For the same reason gases also exchange freely and these
soils have excellent aeration.
Nutrient Holding Ability
The nutrients that a plant needs are held to soil particles
with varying amounts of strength. These nutrients can be
leached or lost from a soil depending on how tightly the
nutrients are held to the soil particles and how much water
flows through the soil. The electrical charges on cla\ plates
strongly attract and hold nutrients. Soils high in class habe a
high nutrient holding ability.
Sand of the other hand has no ability to attract or hold
nutrients. Sandy soils are dependent on the silt and class
fraction of the soil to perform this duty. Thus, the nutrient
holding ability of sandy soils is typically low due to the small
amounts of silt and clay.
The strength of a soil is a measure of how tightly particles
are held together. Soil strength is also called tilth. \ soil l
strength is influenced by its texture. The more tightly\ parti-
cles are held together the greater the strength that is
needed to pull them apart. Clayey soils have a high amount
of particle contact between the flat surfaces of cla\ parti-
cles. Therefore, they are high in soil strength. Sand\ soils
have low soil strength. The large particle size allows fewer
Instructional Diagram for Determining Soil Texture by Feel (Modified from Thien,
S.J. 1979. Journal of Agronomic Education 8:54-55. Madison, WI)
contact points between the particles. This limits the attrac-
tion between particles.
Due to the plate-like structure of some clay minerals,
most clayey soils swell when water is absorbed and shrink as
they dry. Aguirre and Fraternidad soils are two soils that
strongly exhibit this property.
ing or machine movement should be chosen and main-
tained to restrict compaction to these areas. If possible, a
vegetative cover of these paths should be maintained to de-
crease further the impact of compaction.
The high moisture content of clayey soils provides a nat-
ural growing area for root-infecting fungi. Crops suscep-
tible to root rots such as onion (chible), thyme, sweet pota-
General Summary of Soil Properties as influenced by Soil Texture
Sandy Loamy Clayey
Surface Area Low High High
Soil Pore Space Low Moderate High
Soil Pore Size Large Medium Small
Total Water Storage Capacity Low Moderate High
Plant Available Water
Storage Capacity Low Moderate Moderate
Water Infiltration High Moderate Low
Shrink-Swell Potential Low Low to High
Soil Aeration High Moderate Moderate
Leaching Potential High Moderate Low
Soil Strength Low Moderate High
Nutrient Holding Ability High High High
A combination of water infiltration and soil strength as
affected by soil texture, influence the ability of a soil to be
eroded. Soil erosion is the loss of topsoil from an area. Ero-
sion uses the energy from either wind or water to first
loosen and then move soil particles from one place to
Although clayey soils have high soil strength and can
resist greater forces than other soils, their small particle size
allows them to be easily carried away by water or wind.
Since water slowly infiltrates these soils they are at greater
risk to severe water erosion than soils of other textures.
Sandy soils are low in soil strength and are therefore not
tightly held together. Due to their large pore size and low
water holding capacity they dry out quickly making them
most susceptible to wind erosion.
Suggested Management Practices
An understanding of soil texture and how it affects other
soil characteristics makes it easier to evaluate potential
management practices depending on the soil texture.
The high water holding capacity of clayey soils presents
some management concerns. When wet, clayey soils are
more susceptibleto compaction which decreases its already
poor soil aeration and results in poor root growth. Directly
after rains, field work should be restricted until the soil has
adequately drained. Specific paths through a field forwalk-
to, and avocado will require additional care when gro\\ n on
clayey soils to reduce damage from diseases.
Some field crops are not well suited to cla\es soils
Certain crop seeds such as buffalo grass germinate poorly\ in
soils high in clay. Other crops such as klein grass and green
panic are well suited to clay soil.
Certain rates of soil-applied pesticides must be altered
according to the soil texture. Check the pesticide label to
determine if its rate of application changes with soil texture.
Due to the high soil strength more power is required to
pull the tillage implement through soils high in cla\. This
can increase energy costs if mechanization is used for soil
tillage. Additionally, harvesting of root crops such as sweet
potato and cassava will also require greater energy and
Additions of manure or compost can benefit claae\ soils
by increasing the organic matter content and the amount
and size of pore space available for water infiltration and
aeration. In low lying areas, clayey soils mas be subject to
poor drainage if the water table is high. This could decrease
the available root zone and result in poor plant growth.
In special cases, where it is economically feasible. such as
for small garden plots, the texture of clave soils can be
modified by adding large amounts of quartz sand not
beach sand, which is calcium based. Consideration of the
economics of mixing quartz sand into the soil should be
made before implementing it.
Clayey soils are particularly susceptible to water erosion.
Efforts to cover the soil surface with vegetation or mulch are
strongly recommended. When soils occur on steep slopes
erosion control measures such as terraces should be
These soils have moderate limitations to all of the proper-
ties mentioned. They are most closely related to clayey soils
and should therefore be managed with the same consider-
ations in mind.
The high water infiltration rate and leaching potential of
sandy soils limits the amount of water available to plants.
Root crops such as carrots and sweet potatoes generally
grow well in sandy soils due to their low soil strength but
will generally require supplemental irrigation.
Extension lab technician Dale Morton checks a
The high leaching rate and low nutrient holding ability of
sandy soils results in the quick loss of any fertilizers added.
Therefore in sandy soils, small, more frequent applications of
fertilizers should be made. Adding clay, manure, or com-
post to the soil as well as planting fiberous rooted cover
crops are effective ways of increasing both the nutrient and
water storage capacities of sandy soils. The economics and
potential hazards of applying large amounts of clay to sandy
soils should be evaluated thoroughly before doing so.
Sandy soils are susceptible to both water and wind ero-
sion. A permanent vegetative cover and other possible ero-
sion control measures should strongly be considered.
Stony or Gravelly Soils
The presence of large rock fragments can interfere with
mechanical tillage, planting practices or row crop produc-
tion in general.
Glynn, San Anton, Lavallee and Parasol are all alluvial
soils. This means that they are created by particles being
deposited by moving water year after year. They are gener-
ally found in valleys and gut areas. Depending on the veloc-
ity of the water different sized particles are laid down each
time leading to a stratified soil where thin layers of varying
textures make it essentially impossible to clearly classify its
Management of these soils is sometimes difficult. Alluvial
soils often have drainage problems due to layers of dense
clay slowing downward water movement. Plant growth is
equally slowed. Soil particles are not held together tightly
so there is limited pore space which plant roots need to
grow. The main advantage of these soils is that they are
generally on relatively flat open areas making them well
suitable for agricultural purposes.
There is no best soil texture for agricultural purposes.
Crops should be selected with the soil texture in mind.
Suitable management practices can beneficially modify the
influence that soil texture has on other soil properties.
Rarely do we have the opportunity to choose our land
area according to the soil texture. Therefore, a thorough
understanding of textural classes and the potential manage-
ment practices for each becomes important in order to
reach the maximum productivity of our soil.
For an analysis of your soil contact the Cooperative Exten-
sion Service on St. Croix or St. Thomas. Gardener's Fact
Sheets Numbers 25 and 26 explain soil sampling.
Soil Survey: Virgin Islands of the United States 1970. Soil Conser-
vation Service, Washington, D.C. C
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In The Virgin Islands
CVI Research Agronomist
Many of the native guineagrass (Panicum maximum)
pastures in the Virgin Islands are being invaded by un-
desirable plants such as hurricane grass (Bothriochloa
pertusa) and Mexican bluestem (Chloris inflata). Because of
their low quality and reduced growth potential, these in-
vading species cannot satisfy the nutrient needs of the rumi-
nant livestock consuming them. As a result, the carrying
capacity of the pastures is reduced and expensive supple-
ments must be fed in order to maintain animal production
Over the years, there have been efforts to renovate these
run down pastures. The renovations have included the
establishment of improved grasses by plowing and discing
the land followed by planting commercially available seed.
While a great many of these attempts have been successful,
some of them have resulted in failures. Because of the time
and money invested in the procedure, a failure can be ex-
tremely costly. Consequently, it is important to recognize
factors that will increase the chances of success. Some of
these factors include the following:
(1) Choice of grass seed. Grasses that grow well in the
Virgin Islands should be chosen for planting. These
include kleingrass, green panic, and buffelgrass.
Furthermore, the grasses must be matched with the
soil of the pasture being renovated. For example,
buffelgrass does poorly on the heavier clay soils,
while kleingrass and green panic are ideally suited
for these soil types.
(2) Seeding depth. Grass seed is extremely small. For
example, there are one million seeds in a pound of
green panic. Because of this small seed size, planting
should not be done too deeply. One-fourth inch is
the maximum depth for most grasses while one-half
inch is the deepest that buffelgrass can be planted.
(3) Moisture. Even during the rainy season, rainfall is not
dependable in the Virgin Islands. Often, one to two
weeks elapse between storms, seriously affecting
pasture establishment. Choosing the best time for
planting requires more luck than skill, though the
months of September and October may be the best
time to plant.
(4) Seeding rate. For seed that is broadcast and rolled
using an implement such as a Brillion seeder, at least
two pounds per acre of PLS (pure live seed) should
be planted. For seed that is drilled in, lower rates are
required. In addition, a higher seeding rate may be
necessary in the drier areas than in the wetter areas
of the island.
PLS (pure live seed) is a term that considers both the
purity and germination of seed. For example, green
panic seed may have 50% purity and 80% germina-
tion. This gives it a content of 40% PLS (50x80). Con-
sequently, to achieve a seeding rate of 2 pounds PLS,
5 pounds of bulk seed must be planted.
(5) Proper land preparation. Land is plowed and disced
to loosen the soil and create a fine seed bed into
which the seed can be sown. If large clods are the
result of land preparation, the grass will slip between
them and be placed too deeply for good
In addition, plowing and discing is performed to
reduce the population of weeds and undesirable
plants already growing on the land. Doing so
reduces the competition and gives the grasses a
better opportunity to grow.
Ideally land preparation should be started well in
advance of planting. Six months ahead is not too
early while one month before may be too late.
During the land preparation process the possibility
of erosion from heavy rains and winds must be
borne. Precautions likely to lessen the chances such
as performing all tractor work on the contour and
strategically leaving strips of undisturbed land, are
(6) Soil fertility. Virgin Island soils are particularly low in
nitrogen and phosphorous. If seedlings are to be-
come established, these nutrients should be applied
in amounts sufficiently high to promote plant
growth. One application method is to broadcast and
disc in phosphorous shortly before planting. After
the plants reach the three-leaf stage, nitrogen can
then be applied.
Experiments with a relatively new grass, Pen-
nisetum orientale, are ongoing at the Experiment
Station. Joy Michaud checks showy seed head.
St. Croix's only firm exclusively
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The Virgin Islands Beef Cattle
CVI Animal Science Research Technician II
Since its inception in 1976, the Virgin Islands Beef Cattle
Improvement Program (VIBCIP), has been serving the cattle
producers of St. Croix. Originally designed to be the basis of
the Senepol research program at the CVI Agricultural
Experiment Station (AES), the program is now available to
cattle producers desiring performance records on their
animals. Services to participants include computerized pro-
cessing of birth, weaning and postweaning information, as
well as an annual herd inventory. Official grading and
scoring is also available from the A.E.S. Department of
Animal Science staff.
Who is eligible to join the program? Any Virgin Islander
who has a cattle herd, or any member of the Virgin Islands
Senepol Association (VISA). All breeds of cattle are ac-
cepted, purebred or crossbred. The only requirements of
the cattle producer are to have his animals positively iden-
tified, complete an application for membership with the
appropriate fees, enroll all breeding animals, and have ade-
quate facilities. The VIBCIP provides a livestock scale if the
producer does not have his own.
Why should I join? By joining you will get the greatest
maximum return on your investment in your livestock
enterprise by identifying the animals that are the most prof-
itable. Performance testing is a tried and proven method of
measuring economically important traits of cattle on a herd
basis. Therefore, maximum herd improvement can be
accomplished by uniform and accurate selection of breed-
ing stock. Economically important traits like yearling weight
and carcass characteristics are highly heritable, which
means that rapid progress can be made by selection of these
traits in each generation.
How does the program work? After enrolling the breed-
ing herd, the producer receives a pre-printed listing of his
cows so that he may enter the calving information of each
cow. After entering the calf and sire information, the pro-
ducer returns the listing to the VIBCIP office where the data
is entered into the computer. The computer then produces
Weaning Field Data Sheets to be used when the calves are
weighed and graded between 5 and 8 months of age. It is
best to have the VIBCIP official grader weigh and grade the
calves, so as to provide an impartial judgement, but this is
not mandatory. From this information, the producer re-
ceives a weaning performance summary comparing each
calf to the group, and each sire to the other sires. The pro-
ducer can then make management decisions based on the
summary, especially in the area of cow evaluation. Wean-
ing records are essential to making preliminary selections,
but weaning weight is only moderately heritable, thus it is
best to wait for yearling weights, which are highly heritable,
before making final selections.
After a weaning summary is produced,the computer also
prints out a Yearling Field Data Sheet to be used for the col-
lection of yearling data. Yearling weight may be taken at
either 12, 15 or 18 months depending on the feeding level of
the animals. The producer may want to split heifers and
bulls into two separate weighing groups because in the
Virgin Islands, bulls are usually on a higher level of nutrition
than are heifers. Even on the same level of nutrition, bulls
will gain weight faster, reaching a slaughter weight sooner
than heifers, necessitating the need for two different weigh
groups. It is customary, in the Virgin Islands, that bulls are
weighed at 12-13 months of age, while the heifers are
weighed at 17-18 months of age. After the data is received
back at the BCIP office, a yearling summary is printed out
for the producer, listing both the weaning and yearling
This is where the heaviest selection should occur in the
producer's program. The growth rate of the calf after wean-
ing is a good indicator of the animal's individual perfor-
mance, whereas the preweaning growth rate is heavily
influenced by the milk production of the cow. Only bulls
that are above average i.e. yearling weight ration above 100,
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should be considered as replacements. Because the num-
ber of replacement heifers is higher than the number of re-
placement bulls, less selection pressure is usually applied to
the females, some of which may be below average, just so
the cow herd can be kept constant. At this stage, the sire and
dam of the calf should again be evaluated. Sires that con-
sistently produce below average calves should be culled.
The low end of the cow herd should also be culled.
At the beginning of each year, a listing of all the live ani-
mals on file is printed and sent to the producer. The pro-
ducer is then asked to put the date of expiration beside each
animal that has died, been sold or transferred, and to list any
new animals that have been brought into the herd. An
updated copy is then sent back to the producer, along with
next year's prelisted calf data sheets, to start the c\cle oxer
again. It is hoped that by using this program, the producer
will be able to identify the animals that will pro ide him v ith
the greatest income possible.
More information on performance testing is available b\
requesting the "Virgin Islands Beef Cattle Improvement
Handbook" from the extension editor at the Cooperative
Extension Service. a
VIRGIN ISLANDS AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION
ANIMAL SCIENCE FIELD WEIGHINGIGRADING SHEET PAGE
SIRE COW CO u I cc ) "
N O N O F 1 : L i
Temper = Relaxed, Uneasy, Nervous; Color = Light, Medium, Dark; Head Con. = Polled, Scurred, Horned:
Head Shp. 1 = Flat, 2= Round, 3= Pointed, 4= Extremely pointed; Scur Sz. 0= None, 1 = Scab, 2= < 2 in.,
3=>2-4 in.,4==4 in., 5= Removed; Bumps = Yes, No; Sheath = Tight, Medium, Loose; Cond. 9-11= Average:
Frame 1 = Small, 5= Large: Purity OC= Off Color, NR=No Register.
Sample of the field weighing and grading sheet used in conjunction with the performance testing program.
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Closed System Agriculture
For The Small Farmer
Michael J. Canoy
Caribbean Research Institute
How do we get the most out of a farm consistently? That is
the question all farmers, regardless of how large or small, try
to answer. How we answer depends a lot upon our personal
philosophy and how much land we have. Basically there are
two answers: plant a lot of land with one or two crops and
hope to get more good harvests than bad ones, or grow
many things that work together and expect to produce
fewer crops but to make some income every year.
The ultimate of one view is the U.S. giant corn or wheat
farm and the ultimate of the other is th Asian or African low-
land farm. As long as there is fossil fuel and the weather and
the market are good, the "megafarm" can make a lot of
money (about one year out of every four), but is not self-
sufficient. The small African or Asian farmer has been oper-
ating at a small profit or at a subsistence level, and has
remained (or remains) almost totally self-sufficient for his
whole lifetime. Some farms have remained independent
and productive for 100 generations, between 3,000 and
4,000 years. A diagram of such a farm can be seen in Figure 1.
With fossil fuels running out and both food and land at pre-
mium prices it looks like a good time to see what we can
borrow from the long-term success of these farms. Often
referred to as "closed-system multi-source agriculture",
this idea sounds futuristic but, while complex, is actually
To begin closed system farming where there is no existing
culture for it, we need a plan and an idea of how to imple-
ment that plan. The plan should include a list of the
resources available (land, water, slope of land, labor, etc.)
and of the problems (lack of resources, isolation, lack of
money, etc.). Also it lists the goals (whether we are trying to
be totally self-sufficient, to also make money, to act as a
cooperative, etc.). This allows us to compare any step we are
considering to our stated goal and to our resources. Doing
Grey Vater Shrimp- Fish
I I I \ Cyc ten ^ e
. . . .. . ..
Frui Toilet .
V\ Eettu les :: -: : D moves *
\ L -']^ J \ \ > ^ Manure ... . .'.... ,.... .. ...
a-- ._ ._- _- .. :"ompoi t :.: .
R iiabbi ts
-- .- Labor Chickens .
---. _---_ -_ Gees
- - - - -- W. ., - u, .
Waste P1ants :::::::
Figure 1. :
DIAGRAM OF A CLOSED SYSTEM
things that are outside the general plan or that tie up most of
our resources would, in the long run, defeat the whole
Having the plan set, we determine which elements are
necessary to make a closed system. The basic components
of living systems are: producers, consumers, and recyclers.
Most plants and many fungi are considered to be producers
since they take sunlight and chemicals to make more
organic material than they use up in living. Consumers
require food from the producers to grow. They can't make
flesh from raw energy and basic chemicals. Recyclers are
usually bacteria or fungi that break down wastes so their
chemicals can be used again. However, some consumers
such as crabs, eat producers and also chew up waste mate-
rials so fungi can work on them, while chickens or rabbits
eat waste from the kitchen and garden, producing fertilizer
as well as meat.
Our plan is to put together a system that is balanced, has
little waste and requires as little energy, money, or labor as
possible. This means some care in choosing the parts
involved, since each organism is analogous to a machine
part and has to work in conjunction with every other part.
A list of some of the producers, consumers, and recycling
methods available are listed in Table 1.
Co I lards or
All the producers have several features in common: (a)
they all are prolific producers under marginal conditions,
(b) they all produce food and forage for other materials, (c)
they produce at different times of the year or continously.
(d) they are high in food and economic value. An exception
to (d) is freshwater algae. The algae can be considered as
producers of food for the aquatic animals or as recyclers for
nutrients from "grey water" before the water is used for
animals or irrigation. The listed consumers are hard fast
growing, and either yield more than one product or do
extra work. For instance, ducks and geese give meat and
eggs but they also process waste or grasses into manure for
fertilizer or methane. Besides that, ducks are among the fevt
animals that will eat slugs and won't pick on the crops while
geese feed on grass and very young weeds but won't touch
larger plants. Bees are listed as recyclers because the\ re-
trieve honey and wax but they are kept as much to pollinate
plants as for the honey and the wax.
"Recycling" is done with everything that can be used.
from plastic cups to tin cans and wire, to wastes. All water
from kitchen, laundry, bath, and runoff from cage roots
goes to a grey water system where it is aged to decompose
the soap and waste and then used to water animals and
crops. Crop wastes are fed directly back to the animals or
chopped and dumped into the composting toilets where
they are mixed with human wastes and some plant materials
are mixed in the methane fermentation tanks to produce
methane gas for cooking, lighting, and running small
motors. The waste water from the methane tanks is used for
irrigation and the sludge is used as fertilizer.
A one-acre farm might contain, after
ment, the following:
two sears detelop-
12 fruit trees
onions, and pump-
50 banana and
-1,200 lb. fruit
Yield 750 lb. vegetables
example 2,500 Ib. banana
per year and papayas
1,000 lb. root
Bees (5 hives)
2,000 Ib. meat 35,000 gal. water
2,000 tlb. meat 35,000 ga. wvater
2,000 Ib compost
500 Ib. honey
50 lb. wax
This would cost about $1200 to set up and about $300 a
year to operate. It would supply from 60-70"n of the food for
a family of five and would average about $250 $300 per
month in income (more income if one person can sta\
home and work full time).
A three-acre farm can afford to put two acres into produ-
cers and one devoted to consumers. A typical development
is shown in Table III.
20 fruit trees
than the garden
in Table II
100 banana and
Yield 2,000 lb. vegetables
example 3,000 lb. fruit
per year 5,000 Ib. forage
5 humans Grey water system
40 chickens Composting toilets
20 rabbits Methane generator
4 milk and
12,000 eggs 4,000 gal. water
5,000 lb. meat 9,000 lb. compost
The three-acre farm can supply up to 80'. of the food for a
family of five in addition to generating income of about
$500 per month. It requires at least one person working at it
full time. It is more expensive to set up (about $1800) but
costs only $30-$40 per month to operate. If the whole family
worked the farm under intensive production it could
produce not only enough for the family to survive, but
eventually enough to live well for years. What few necessi-
ties are not produced could be bartered for or paid for after
the sale of the produce. With a local cooperative, groups of
small farmers could prosper and remain independent when
all other enterprises fail. These types of efforts are
diagrammed in Figure 1.
The main points are commitment to the idea, setting up a
plan and making some beginning. An easy way to begin is to
start producing foods in a vegetable garden along with
bananas, papayas, and root crops; then install a grey water
system, and after that develop animal production and more
novel crops and systems.
The techniques for raising any of these crops are well
known by farmers and the Cooperative Extension Service.
Further information can be gained by writing to:
Mother Earth News (Magazine) Regenerative Agriculture Assoc
P 0 Box 70 222 Main St
Hendersonville, NC 28739 Emmaus. PA 18049
Water Resources Research Center
Caribbean Research Institute
College of the Virgin Islands
St. Thomas, VI 00802
New Alchemy Institute
Dr Michael Canoy
Caribbean Research Institute
College of the Virgin Islands
St. Thomas, VI 00802
V I Ecological Research Station
P.0 Box 429
St John, VI 00830
Brsce Research Institute
College of the Virgin Islands
Cooperative Extension Service
P.O Box L Kingshill
St Croix, VI 00850
St Thomas. LI 00802
Tropical Agriculture Research Sta
U.S Dept. of Agriculture
FOR RESERVATIONS CALL
ST. CROIX 778-1365
IRPORT 772-1365 ANCHOR INN (C'stedl 773-4377
ST. THOMAS 774-1468
AIRPORT 774-1468 /774-4616
*FREE WORLDWIDE RESERVE TION SERVICE Avis Features
You plant it-We buy it!
Working jointly is profitable for all.
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The Egg And You
Extension Livestock Specialist
The egg is one of the most nutritionally complete foods
you can eat, because it is an excellent source of high pro-
tein. The egg is sometimes referred to as "complete pro-
tein" because it provides all the essential amino acids your
body needs for growth and repair.
Egg protein is the most nutritious, readily-available com-
plete protein known, and is used as the standard of compar-
ison for other food proteins. Since all of the essential amino
acids are present in such generous quantities, egg protein
may be used to supplement other foods.
Although an egg contains a lot of nutrients, a large egg
contains only 80 calories, therefore it is especially useful for
those persons who must watch their weight and the conval-
escents who must eat nutritious, light food. Egg energy
comes from protein and fat, so a meal with an egg entree
gives you a satisfied feeling, sticks with you and does not
load you down with calories.
Most people eat two large eggs for breakfast every morn-
ing. If you are one of these people the table below will give
you an idea of the nutrients you are receiving.
Q: Why do some hard-cooked eggs have discolored yolks?
A: This unsightly, but harmless, greenish or greyish ring
where the yolk meets the white is the result of iron and
sulfur compounds which form when eggs are
overcooked. Eggs with this coloring are still wholesome
and nutritious and their flavor is not affected. To avoid
this discoloration, cook eggs properly and cool them
Two U.S. Large Eggs
(108g Edible Portion)
Fat ................. 12g
Polyunsaturated ...... g
Saturated ............ 4g
Cholesterol ....... 520mg
Eggs are so versatile that they can be used not only as a
main dish but in many recipes as an ingredient. As recipe
ingredients, eggs add color, flavor and richness to a dish.
Salads and cold meat plates become more colorful when
garnished with eggs. Eggs add more energy and nutrition to
soups and they enrich many kinds of sauces. Many popular
desserts rely on the egg for their flavorful goodness.
Although the egg is popular on our island and is enjoyed
by many people there are still a few misconceptions about
it. Below are some of the questions that are often asked
about the egg and their answer.
Q: Which is better, brown or white shelled eggs?
A: Neither: Shell color is determined by the breed of hen.
If hens are fed the same ration, the eggs will be the same
nutritionally, regardless of shell color.
Q: Are fertile eggs more nutritious than nonfertile eggs?
A: No. There is currently no scientific proof to support the
claim that fertile eggs are more nutritious than nonfer-
tile eggs. Both fertile and nonfertile eggs contain the
same nutrients, but fertile eggs contain a small amount
of male hormone. Fertile eggs do not keep as well as
nonfertile eggs and are more expensive to produce.
St. Croix's largest egg farm is David J. owned by
the Browns on West Airport Road. CVI Extension
livestock specialist Kofi Boateng and Mrs. Brown
show freshly gathered eggs.
Q: What are the stringy white pieces in egg whites?
A: These rope-like strands of egg white, called chalazae,
are not imperfections nor beginning embryos, but a
natural, edible part of the egg. They serve as an anchor
to keep the yolk centered in the thick white.
Q: What causes blood spots?
A: Small spots of blood (sometimes also called "meat"
spots) are occasionally found in an egg yolk. These do
not indicate a fertile egg; they are caused by the rupture
of a blood vessel on the yolk surface during formation
of the egg. Only about 1% of all eggs produced have
blood spots. Most eggs with blood spots are removed
during the grading process but a few may escape detec-
Protein ............. 13g
Carbohydrates ....... 1g
tion. As an egg ages, the yolk takes up water from the
albumen which dilutes the blood spot. So a visible
blood spot actually indicates that the egg is quite fresh.
Both chemically and nutritionally, these eggs are suit-
able for consumption. The spot can be removed with the
tip of a knife, if you wish.
Q: Is it safe to eat raw eggs?
: If an egg's shell is clean, uncracked and unbroken, it is
safe to use the egg in a beverage or other uncooked or
partially cooked recipe that will be eaten right away.
Some people are concerned that eating raw eggs might
prevent the absorption of biotin, one of the B vitamins
found in egg yolk. It is true that scientists working with
laboratory animals, not humans, found that avidin, one
of the egg proteins, binds biotin so that it cannot do its
job. But for biotin to be inhibited by avidin in a human,
he or she would have to eat 8 to 10 raw egg whites
a day, a most unlikely prospect. Cooking eggs inacti-
vates the avidin and most eggs are served cooked.
Q: Do eggs cause heart diseases?
\: Cholesterol, one of the substances linked with heart
diseases, is found in eggs. Cholesterol has many roles
such as the synthesis of vitamin D in our bodies. While
cholesterol is important to health, it is not an essential
component in the diet since the body can readily manu-
facture its own. Some scientists think that reducing
cholesterol in the diet will help protect against heart
disease; others with equal authority disagree. Research
is underway to learn the truth about this scientific con-
troversy. Persons concerned about their blood
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cholesterol levels should consult with and follow the
advice of their physicians.
Q: How long will eggs keep?
A: Fresh shell eggs can be stored in their carton in the
refrigerator for at least four to five weeks. Grade quality
losses should be insignificant if they are refrigerated as
soon as possible after purchase from a refrigerated case.
For most purposes, it's best not to let eggs sit out: the\ II
age more in one day at room temperature than in one
week in the refrigerator. Hard-cooked eggs should be
stored in the refrigerator as soon as they are cooled and
used within a week.
Raw whites will keep a week to 10 davs if refrigerated in
a tightly covered container. Store unbroken raw \olks.
covered with water, in a tightly covered container in the
refrigerator and use within two to three dass.
Q: Can eggs be frozen?
A: Yes, raw whole eggs, whites, yolks, and hard-cooked
yolks can be frozen successfully. Hard-cooked whole
eggs or hard-cooked whites will become tough if
frozen. Eggs cannot be frozen in their shells.
To freeze egg whites, pour them into freezer contain-
ers, seal tightly, label with the number of whites, dates.
and freeze. If you like, first freeze each white in an ice
cube tray then transfer the frozen cubes to a freezer
Yolks or whole egg require special treatment before
freezing. When frozen, the yolk mav thicken or gel. To
help slow gelling, add either 1/8 teaspoon or 1 2 tea-
spoon sugar or corn syrup for each four solks.
Q: How can you tell the age of an egg at home?
A: A traditional technique for telling the age of an egg at
home, is to place it in a glass of tap water. If the egg sinks
to the bottom of the glass, it is up to a week: if it is sus-
pended in the middle, it is between two-three w eeks: it
the egg is more than three weeks old, it %ill be at the
surface of the water. This phenomena is based on the
fact that the egg sac in the egg becomes larger as the egg
gets older. Thus the older the egg, the more buoyant it is
I have tried in this article to answer some of the most fre-
quently asked questions about eggs, but if \ou have addi-
tional questions please feel free to contact me at C\ I
Cooperative Extension Service at 778-0246. 0
\ J I RESTAURANT & GUEST HOUSE
Will Cater For Groups,
Plot 82-C Estate Whim F sted. St Croix
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A Rare Tree On St. Croix The Baobab
CVI Extension Natural Resource Specialist
St. Croix, well known for its fine rum and handsome
Senepol cattle, may now be known for having the greatest
number of an unusual tree, rare in the Western Hemisphere
- the Baobab Tree (Adansonia digitata L.).
Last year Dr. John Rashford, a Jamaican-born professor of
Anthropology at the College of Charleston, South Carolina,
visited St. Croix as part of his search for the Baobab tree in
To his delight, he discovered that St. Croix is considerably
better endowed with Baobab trees than any Caribbean
island he has so far visited. All told, Dr. Rashford personally
saw 28 trees, but from references by various residents, he
felt there were closer to 40 Baobabs on St. Croix.
The Baobab is a strange looking tree. It ranks among the
world's largest trees, but due to its width rather than height.
A Baobab can have a trunk with a diameter as large as 30 ft.
(94 ft. circumference), but it will rarely exceed 60 ft. in
height (Little et al., 1974). These large trees are apparently
very old. However, precise dating is difficult as the trunks,
composed of soft, spongy lightweight wood, often become
hollow. To add to the Baobab's strange appearance the
branches stick out at odd angles, often looking like roots.
The tree originates from Africa, where it frequentlydomi-
nates the landscape. Due to its appearance the Baobab is
commonly mentioned in African folklore. The most usual
story is that the tree displeased the "Gods", who in punish-
ment, picked it up and replaced it up-side-down, so the
branches are now underground and the roots stick up in the
sky in place of the branches.
The Baobab also has other unusual features which have
led it to be held in esteem as a Sacred Tree. For instance, the
flowers, which open at night, are pollinated by bats; and in
Africa the seeds are dispersed by monkeys. In Africa other
animals also frequent the tree at night, making eerie night-
time sounds that might also have led to various beliefs asso-
ciating the tree with spirits. On a more practical note, in
north Nigeria where I have had experience with the
Baobab, it is one of the first plants to produce any green
ST. CROIX'S LARGEST Baobab tree is this giant old tree located in Grove Place, the site of "Bread and Bull" Day
honoring D. Hamilton Jackson, who addressed the island's workers under this tree many decades ago. Shown measuring
the girth of one of the three trunks of the tree (it came to 22 feet!) are from left Kwame Garcia, assistant director of
CVI's Cooperative Extension Service; Dr. Joy Michaud, extension natural resources specialist and Dr. John Rashford,
anthropologist from the University of Charleston (S.C.). Observing them is former extension pest management agent
leaves after the long seven-month dry season. These leaves
are used to make a soup called "kouca", which is highly
regarded and similar to the Virgin Islands "kalaloo". In
addition the fruit can be used to make a very pleasant drink.
Dr. Rashford's attention was first drawn to the tree when
he was visiting Antigua. He asked to be taken to a Kapok
tree, but instead was shown a Baobab tree mistakenly iden-
tified as a Kapok. Following this, Dr. Rashford's interest was
intensified when he realized that records of the tree in the
Caribbean are very sparse and inaccurate.
In St. Croix the Baobab is known by a number of different
names: Dead Rat Tree, Guinea Tamarind and Guinea
Almond are examples. Each name describes something
about the tree. The term "Dead Rat Tree" describes the fruit
pods that hand down, singly, on drooping stalks like a rat
caught by its tail (see photograph). The name "Guinea"
refers to a region in Africa and its use indicates that the plant
comes from Africa.
The furry fruit of the Baobab tree held by Dr.
Joy Michaud, hangs by long "tails", giving it the
name "dead rat tree."
It is generally assumed that the Baobab was brought to
the Caribbean by the slaves. Dr. Rashford is not fully con-
vinced of this. Instead, he is exploring the idea that it may
have been brought to the Caribbean by the white settlers
who were interested in it as a curiosity for their botanical
gardens and house gardens. Supporting this theory is the
fact that the older trees are frequently found to be growing
near Great Houses or their ruins. Had New World Africans
been responsible for planting the trees in the Caribbean
they would probably have been located in the center of
their communities, as is common in parts of Africa.
During his stay in St. Croix, Dr. Rashford tried to identify
the location of as many Baobab trees as possible. Due to past
experience on his home island of Jamaica and on other
Caribbean islands, he did not expect to find many. How-
ever, with the help of many local people, including
Margaret Hayes and Mary Millar, and assistance from CVI's
Cooperative Extension Service, he soon discovered more
Baobab trees on St. Croix than he found on any other Carib-
This discovery leads to the question as to why St. Croix has
this distinction. A possible answer developed through fur-
ther conversations with local people. It seems that many of
the younger Baobab trees (i.e. ones grown this century) did
not seed naturally. Dr. Rashford was able to trace back the
history of many trees that appeared to be growing wild, to
the individual who planted it after carefully germinating the
seed. From this it can be surmised that the Baobab does not
seed itself naturally in the Caribbean. Simple observations
also support this: the older well established Baobabs that
have annually produced fruit pods and seeds for many years
have no young trees growing close by. It may be that certain
conditions are required by the seeds before they germinate
naturally conditions that do not occur in the Caribbean. It
could be, for example, that the seed needs to pass through
the digestive system of a monkey!
If this is all true then the fact that St. Croix is so well
endowed with this interesting tree is due to the people of St.
Croix who have painstakingly nurtured the seed until it
germinates and then have planted it out.
The largest Baobab tree in St. Croix is in Grove Place.
Some others that Dr. Rashford identified were in Butler Bay
at the West End, Prince Street in Frederiksted, St. George's
Botanical Gardens, and in the Parking Lot near
Dr. Rashford would be interested in receiving any further
information concerning the Baobabs on St. Croix or on any
island of the Caribbean. He can be contacted at the Depart-
ment of Sociology and Anthropology, College of Charles-
ton, Charleston, South Carolina 29424. Or if it is more
convenient, call the writer at the Cooperative Extension
Service at 778-0246. E
Little, E.L. Jr., Woodbury, R.O. and Wadsworth, F.H. (1974). Trees of
Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Second Volume. Agriculture
Handbook No. 449. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,
Washington, D.C. 20250.
BRITISH VITAMINS, COSMETICS AND
P.O. Box 1611
FREDERIKSTED, ST. CROIX
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS 00840
Reasons For Low Fruit Yields
In The Virgin Islands
CVI Extension Specialist-Horticulture
Many farmers and home fruit growers in the Virgin
Islands often wonder why their fruit trees bear little or no
fruit during a fruiting season.
We can generally only make educated guesses since fruit
production is subject to a number of factors that interact in
ways that are complex and imperfectly understood. More-
over, none has yet identified all of the factors that are
responsible for poor fruit setting.
Young fruit trees normally go through a juvenile period.
When older they will begin to flower and bear fruit. How-
ever, the health of your trees, their environment, varietal
selection, pollination, fruiting habits and cultural practices
can all influence their ability to produce fruit.
If just one of these conditions is unfavorable, yields may
be reduced or the trees may not bear at all. As a grower, you
can exercise some control over most of the known factors
contributing to fruit production. Here's how:
Tree Health: Healthy trees produce good quality fruit.
Weak or diseased trees produce fruit of poor quality or no
fruit at all. When trees are left untreated, diseases and
insects may restrict the size and quality of the fruits, thus,
reducing the marketable yield. Select healthy trees and
keep them looking healthy throughout their productive life.
Environment: The major adverse environmental factors
affecting yield of fruit trees on St. Croix are rainfall and soil.
Most fruit trees grow best under moderate rainfall, evenly
distributed throughout the year. However, some trees, such
as mango and cashew need a dry period to set fruit proper-
Grafted avocado cultivar with good fruit set
shown at the Oscar Henry Farm in Frederiksted.
ly. Inadequate rainfall will reduce plant growth and fruit
yield. Planting trees that do well in your area is a key to
There are innumerable differences within various areas in
such soil characteristics as depth, structure and fertility
which could also affect fruit yield. Again select the best
possible site for your fruit trees, thus reducing the risk of
poor growth and fruit production.
Varietal Selection: Some varieties of fruit trees are more
productive than others. Make sure you select a consistently
productive variety of good quality. Varietal adaptation is
also largely a matter of environmental adaptation. A partic-
ular variety may be a good producer in one location of the
island, and less productive in another. The best source of
counsel is the Horticultural staff at the Cooperative Exten-
Pollination: Most fruit trees need to be pollinated. vw.h-
out sufficient pollination, they may blossom heavily, but not
set fruit. Some species have "perfect" flowers (male and
female parts) on the same blossom (e.g. mango, citrus).
These trees are largely self-pollinated. However, there are
many types of fruit trees (e.g. avocadoes) with perfect
flowers that cannot produce fruits from their own pollen.
These require pollen from another variety and are cross-
pollinated. It is important to plant trees of complementary
Some species of fruit trees do not fit into either category.
There are male trees, that shed pollen and female trees that
are fertile. For the female tree to produce fruit, it is neces-
sary to plant at least one male tree near to it (e.g. papaya).
Also in the case of papaya you have perfect flowers.
Fruiting Habits: Certain species of fruit trees, such as
mangoes and avocadoes, have a tendency to bear heavily
one year and sparsely the next. This is called "biennial
bearing." The flowering buds of these trees are actually
formed during the previous season. Therefore, an espe-
cially heavy crop one year may prevent adequate bud
formation the following year. Biennial bearing is difficult to
alter or correct. However, early thinning during heavy bud
formation may help alleviate this tendency.
Cultural Practices: Inadequate sunlight delays the begin-
ning of fruit bearing and may reduce the amount of fruit
produced. Avoid placing trees where they will be shaded by
buildings or other trees.
Close spacing causes competition for water and nutrients
between trees. Your trees will grow more vigorously and
bear better when they are able to develop a good root sys-
tem. Beyond choice of location and proper spacing, the
kind, amount, and frequency of fertilization and water (as
mentioned earlier) can also affect fruit yields.
Pruning and eventual thinning practices may be neces-
sary. Excessive upright growth will delay fruit bearing and
Fine Quartz Watches
Tel.: (809) 778-3700
Alexander Hamilton Airport
P.O. Box 7465 S.I.
U.S. Virgin Islands 00820
Grafted avocado cultivar with poor fruit set,
thought to be the result of improper pollination.
reduce fruit yield. Insect disease and weed control will also
be necessary. All of these cultural practices aim at pro-
ducing trees with good fruit set-while making it possible to
harvest at reasonable cost.
For more information call a member of the Horticulture
staff of the Cooperative Extension Service at 8-0246. *
EAST 778-5646 WEST 772-0030
M-F 8:00mr5 :00pm M-F 7:30am-4:00pm
Sat. 8am-12 noon Sat. Sam-12 noon
Heron Commercial-Park Hannah's Rest
(behind Scotia Bank)' (behind Abramson Bus Lines)
Door and Window Screens Redwood and Glass
Louvered Windows Security Windows Awning Windows
Sliding Glass Doors Air Condition Screening
Compare our Quality and Prices
Manufactured on St. Croix Contractors Welcome
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IMPORTERS a WHOLE
423 KING STREET
FREDERIKSTED, ST. CROIX
U. S. VIRGIN ISLANDS 00840
SAL ERS *
JAMES J. SEALEY
HANNAH'S REST PLAZA
For FRESH BAKED Whole Wheat
products, Banana Bread, Carrot Cakes,
Cookies, Vegie Burgers, Vegie Fillets
Try our Vegetarian Lunch Special!
Visit with us.
Herbicides In Fruit Crops
CVI Fruit Research Specialist
When I asked some farmers in the V.I. why they were not
using herbicides in their fruit crops, the first response was
that herbicides will kill their trees. This general confusion
prompted me in my decision to write an article which I
hope will help the farmers to better understand herbicides.
The disadvantages of weeds in any crop are well known:
they compete with crop plants for nutrients, water and
light; they harbor pests and disease; they may produce
chemicals which are toxic to the crop. A plan to control
weeds may include biological control, cultural control,
sanitation, and the topic of this paper, chemical control.
We can divide the use of herbicides between pre-emer-
gence and post-emergence control. In the first case the
herbicide can prevent germination of the weeds, and kill
germinating weed seedlings. To this group belongs
Atazineq. This particular chemical is recommended against
weeds in pineapples and guavas and acts mainly through
the root of the weeds.
While the pre-emergence weed control method can be
used, it is generally the post-emergence herbicides that are
utilized for fruit crops. These chemicals can be divided into
contact and systemic herbicides. Contact herbicides kill
only the plant parts which the chemical touches. Contact
herbicides are usually used to control annual and biennial
weeds and are characterized by the quick die-back they
cause. A common contact herbicide is Paraquat" that has
been used for bananas. It is a contact herbicide which acts
on all green tissue but becomes unavailable as soon as it
touches the soil. Because the base ofthe pseudostem on
bananas is composed of dead leaf sheath, it will not affect
this part of the plant, but care must be taken when you are
spraying the weeds that the spray does not drift onto the
leaves or green part of the stem.
Systemic herbicides are absorbed by roots or foliage and
carried throughout the plant. Systemic herbicides are par-
ticularly effective against perennial weeds because the
chemical reaches all parts of the plant even deep into the
root and wood stems, which are relatively inaccessible.
Systemics may take a longer time to provide the desired
results up to 2 or 3 weeks, or even longer for woody
perennials. Glyphosate'R (Round-up) is a very common
systemic herbicide recommended for weed control adja-
cent to mangoes, guavas, papayas, citrus, and avocados.
Good control is obtained when this herbicide is applied to
perennial weeds that have at least 4-8 leaves so translo-
cation into the plant can occur. Very early treatment of
vegetation may reduce the weed control. Good results have
been obtained when treating plants at full maturity.
The activity of herbicides is either selective or non-selec-
tive. Selective herbicides are used to kill specific weeds
without significantly affecting desirable plants. They are
used to reduce weed competition in crops, lawns, and
ornamental planting. Non-selective herbicides are chemi-
cals that kill all plants present if applied at an adequate rate.
They are used where no plant growth is wanted such as
fence rows, ditch banks, driveways, roadsides, parking lots
and some recreation areas.
Herbicides like other pesticides can be dangerous if they
are not used properly. It is important to read the label to
know the correct application method. When herbicides are
used in a way other than the directions on the label, they
can injure non-target plants, leave harmful residues and
move from the application into the surrounding environ-
ment. Therefore, it is recommended that unless the appli-
cator of the pesticide has received proper training and
information about specific herbicides and their applica-
tion, he or she should first contact the pest management
program at the Cooperative Extension Service prior to using
herbicides such as Paraquat".
The information given here is for educational purposes only.
Reference to commercial products is made with the understanding
that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement is made.
G.P.O. Box 2140
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00936
Ponce de Leon 103 Pda. 272
Hato Rey, Puerto Rico
753-6471 753-6472 753-6053 753-6893
Food Food Food
PROVIDING GOOD FOOD TO
OUR COMMUNITY FOR
OVER 20 YEARS
S S A I
Pesticide Safety And Use
David L. Farrar
CVI Extension Agriculture Program Leader
In the Virgin Islands, as in some other areas of our coun-
try, the word pesticides is not a popular one with many resi-
dents. Pesticides include insecticides, fungicides, rodenti-
cides, herbicides, animal repellants, disinfectants and miti-
cides. And chances are that you have one, some, or all of
these products around your home. They are products you
use to help plants grow, to disinfect and sanitize your
house, or to eliminate unwanted insect and animal pests.
They are effective and useful products that make our lives
better, help to keep us healthier and play a major role in our
local imported agriculture industry. But they should be
used carefully and according to label directions. The con-
sequences of pesticide use, whether it be good or bad,
depends almost totally on how accurately label instructions
are followed. Pesticide misuse is the big problem in
The positive side of the pesticide coin is too often over-
looked by critics. Only the negatives are brought into focus.
But in the Virgin Islands, as throughout the world, pesti-
cides have played a major role in our agriculture, develop-
ment, the economy and environment. Within the last
decade, for example, when fertilizers of the proper analysis
are applied at recommended rates, fruit, vegetable and
forage yields increase significantly (above 100% is not
unusual). The application of selected insecticides and
fungicides has improved the quality of produce. Crop and
financial losses caused by pests have been greatly reduced.
Heavy infestations of larvae (worms) during the rainy
months of October and November 1985 caused much con-
cern to farmers and home gardeners. During this period,
the number of telephone calls and office visits to the
Cooperative Extension Service increased sharply.
As mentioned earlier, the term pesticide is broad and in-
cludes a wide range of chemicals. A pesticide, however, will
be classified as "general use" or as "restricted use,"
depending on its ability to cause human injury or environ-
mental damage. Five of the major pesticide groups are:
Organophosphates (examples: Co-Ral/Diazinon); Carba-
mates (examples: Furadin/Sevin); Chlorinated Hydrocar-
bons (examples: Lindane/Aldrin); Herbicides (examples:
Roundup/Pramitol); and Inorganic Arsenicals (examples:
Sodium Arsenite/Paris Green). The pesticides most used in
the Virgin Islands are:
1. Insecticides-Malathion, Diazinon, Orthene, Dipel,
Co-Ral, Baygon, Ficam.
2. Fungicides-Dithane M-45, Benlate, Captan.
4. Herbicides-Roundup, Paraquat, Pramitol.
6. Fumigants-Methyl Bromide.
On pesticide technology, no area is more important than
safety. Safety, as it relates to pesticides, comprises any action
that prevents risk or injury. Most pesticide accidents occur
from careless practices or from being uninformed. But for
your own benefit it is wise to learn basic pesticide technol-
ogy, especially if you are going to handle chemicals with
high toxicity levels. Treat pesticides with the same respect as
electricity don't bother with them unless you know what
you are doing. When misused, they are dangerous.
David Farrar examines alfalfa for signs of plant
pests. With him is Kofi Boateng, livestock specialist.
Before you begin mixing, storing, handling, applying or
disposing of pesticides, many safety precautions can be
taken. Many applicators are dangerously exposed to pesti-
cide while getting ready to spray, not just during the spray-
ing operation. Following are some of the most important
1. Wear whatever protective clothing is necessary.
2. Be sure plenty of soap/or detergent and water are
nearby for emergency cleanup.
3. Check equipment thoroughly before you begin.
4. Always work in pairs when handling hazardous pesti-
5. Use care and caution to avoid spills.
6. Try to use all the pesticide in your tank. If you have
some left at the end of the job, spray it on other targets
at recommended dosage. If you spray the extra on a
crop, be sure the crop is listed on the label.
7. At the end of the day take a shower. Wash your body
and scalpthoroughly with soap and water. Spray cloth-
ing should be changed daily.
8. Carelessness causes injury and death.
Surveys completed by the Cooperative Extension Ser-
vices at several reputable universities show that the most
common cause of pesticide poisoning for applicators is
through skin contact dermall). Some pesticides enter the
body through the skin quite easily. The two other most
common routes of body entry are by mouth (oral) and by
nose (inhalation). ) Protective clothing commonly used in-
cludes long rubber gloves (sleeves outside), waterproof hat,
long pants over boots, goggles, rubber boots,and respirator.
Learn and use safety procedures when applying pesti-
cides. Protect yourself, others and the Virgin Islands' envi-
ronment by using care, skills, and common sense.
This would be incomplete without mentioning what
critics view as negative aspects of pesticides. A key factor
associated with pesticide use is toxicity label of the chem-
ical. Toxic levels are indicated by the signal words on the
product label Danger, Warning, and Caution. The higher
the toxicity the smaller lethal quantity required. For a man
weighing 180 Ibs. the lethal dose (oral) of a highly toxic
pesticide could be a few drops to a teaspoon; moderatly
toxic one teaspoon one tablespoon; slightly toxic one
ounce to more than a pint. Of course, for a smaller man the
lethal dose could be less. It is extremely important to keep
in mind at all times that pesticides are made to kill and that
the lethal dose depends on the toxicity of the active ingre-
dient and the target organism. Knowing how to safely
handle and to correctly apply and use hazardous chemical is
Each person who uses or distributes pesticides or other
hazardous chemicals has a responsibility to protect the
public and environment. Knowledge of a few basic guide-
lines involving using hazardous chemicals can go a long way
towards meeting that responsibility.
The Virgin Islands Cooperative Extension Service, in
cooperation with the Division of Natural Resources,
periodically conducts training for pesticide applicators in
the Virgin Islands. Training is provided at two levels Basic,
and Commercial. The training objectives are to provide
applicators the opportunity to develop skills which will pro-
vide them competency in pesticide uses, and which will
enable them to become certified applicators.
Learn and use safety procedures when applying pesti-
cides. Protect yourself, others and the Virgin Islands' envi-
ronment by using care, skills, and common sense.
For information about Pesticide Applicator Training, con-
tact Pesticide Coordinator David L. Farrar at the CVI Exten-
sion Service, Estate Golden Grove, St. Croix, Telephone:
778-0246 Mondays through Friday from 8:30 a.m. 12:00
noon and 1:00 4:30 p.m. U
SYour ELECTRONIC CENTER on St. Croix
eamrnars ELECTRONICS, INC.
Sunny Isle Shopping Center
Name brands in consumer a Styli for all stereo
Stereos TV's Intercoms a Cables Connections
Paging systems a TV & Radio parts
Box 5980, Christiansted, St. Croix
Tank Culture Of Tilapia
College of the Virgin Islands
Agricultural Experiment Station
Periodic sales of tilapia at the College of the Virgin Is-
lands' Agricultural Experiment Station have been very suc-
cessful during the past several years. People that are familiar
with this freshwater fish love its delicious taste and fine tex-
ture, and the demand for it is growing in the Virgin Islands
and elsewhere. Israel, which produces 2,500 tons of tilapia
annually, has recently started exporting them to New York
City, where they are being marketed by the name "St.
Peter's fish", as they are known in Israel. A recent issue of
Time magazine even referred to tilapia in an article
("Choose Your Poisson") on the increasing popularity of
fish in the American diet. Unfortunately, the tilapia tasters
of the Virgin Islands have had to plan their menus around
the College's schedule of tilapia culture experiments. For
the truly ambitious, this does not have to be the case.
Just about anyone in the Virgin Islands, with some space
in their backyard and a moderate supply of fresh water,
could be raising a small, but steady supply of tilapia for their
own use. And the method, tank culture, is simplicity in
itself. All that is required is a tank, a net, feed and tilapia
fingerlings (juvenile fish). To boost production and to avoid
dangers of oxygen depletion, an aeration device is very
useful, but not necessary.
A variety of tank sizes, shapes and construction methods
can be used. The most practical size for circular tanks range
from 12 to 24 feet in diameter and 4 feet in height. Rectan-
gular or square tanks also fall within this range, unless larger
ones are already available. Old cisterns or swimming pools
make good fish-rearing tanks, but if you start from scratch, it
is probably best to build circular tanks. Circular tanks pro-
vide better water circulation and can be aerated more effi-
ciently. They are also easier to construct. The most durable
tanks are made from concrete or fiberglass, but they are
very expensive. Steel-walled swimming pools, with vinyl
liners, provide a reasonably priced tank that will lastforfive
or more years. In the Virgin Islands, vinyl-lined swimming
pools should be erected on a pad of concrete to avoid the
potential of nutsedge growing through the liner.
The tank should be located in a level area that is exposed
to the sun and, if possible, wind. The sun will stimulate the
growth of planktonic algae, which produces oxygen for the
Private enterprise exemplified with a flair! Brenda and Rubenit "Boogie" Paul, tilapia fish culture enthusiasts, are
shown with their large fish culture tank in Estate Boetzberg.
fish. The wind will help to mix the oxygen-rich surface
layers throughout the lower strata of the tank. Aeration
accomplishes the same function.
Aquaculture research aide Vernon Smith holds a
tilapia weighing well over a pound reared in fish tank
at CVI Experiment Station.
The best water source for tank culture is either well or
rain water. Public Works water is too expensive to be used
to raise fish economically. Fish can also be raised in "gray
water", i.e., water that has been used once before to wash
dishes or take showers and is mildly polluted. Gray water
should be added to the tank in small quantities so that its
impurities are diluted to levels that are safe for fish health.
Bacteria will then quickly destroy the contaminants. Water
drained or pumped out of the fish tank should be used once
again before it is finally discarded. It can be used to irrigate
vegetable gardens, fruit trees or other plants. Fish culture
wastewater is very rich in nutrients and will stimulate plant
Soon the Virgin Islands will have a commercial source of
red tilapia fingerlings. The desired number of fingerlings
can then be purchased for stocking. The recommended
stocking rate is one fingerling for every 3 ft. 2 of surface
area. For example, a circular tank, 12 ft. in diameter, should
be stocked with 37 fingerlings. A 24 ft. diameter tank will
require 150 fingerlings. If the tank is continuously aerated,
the stocking rate can be doubled. It is important to use only
male fingerlings because they grow twice as fast as females.
The presence of both sexes leads to excessive reproduction,
and the fish then become stunted as they compete for a
limited food supply. Males can be separated from females
on the basis of visual characteristics.
Tilapia are omnivorous fish that will grow on a diet of
algae, zoo-plankton and small aquatic insects. For best
results, however, their diet should be supplemented with
high-protein fish feed, which can be obtained through local
feed stores in 50 lb. bags. Floating pellets should be used
because they enable the culturist to observe how well the
fish are feeding. If the feeding response diminishes, then
the feeding rate must be reduced. The fish should be fed
twice a day, early morning and late afternoon, at a rate that
does not exceed 0.25 lb./100 ft.2 of surface area per day. As
water quality gradually deteriorates, a portion of the water
may have to be exchanged periodically with new water. It is
time for a partial water exchange when the fish go "off
feed" (stop feeding) or they come to the surface for oxygen
after sunset. Another sign of water quality deterioration is
the change in the appearance of algae from bright green to
a grayish color, and the formation of visible clumps. With
aeration, higher feeding rates can be employed.
Aeration devices consist of agitators, air blowers, or water
pumps. Agitators resemble either egg beaters or paddle
wheels. They are suspended at the surface where rapidly
rotating plates produce a splashing action. A blower is a
pump located outside the tank that forces air into the tank
through a plastic tube. A porous stone (air stone) at the end
of the tube breaks the air flow into a stream of fine bubbles
that create an upwelling of water as they rise to the surface.
A submersible pump, located on the tank bottom, can be
used to spray water into the air in a manner similar to a
fountain. All three aeration methodswill raise oxygen levels
which, in turn, allow for higher stocking and feeding rates,
and promote greater production. Aeration can also be used
to advantage intermittently during nighttime when oxygen
levels are low, or during emergency periods when fish
Without aeration, but with some water exchange, you
could expect to produce 55 Ibs. of tilapia annually per 100
ft.2 of surface area. For example, a circular tank, 12 ft. in
diameter, will yield more than 60 Ib. per annum. Yields of
nearly 250 lb. can be obtained for 24 ft. diameter tanks.
These production figures will more than double with the
combination of aeration and water exchange.
These production figures are based on a management
plan of two crops per year, with each production cycle
being roughly 180 days duration. At the end of that period,
the water would be drained and all the fish would be har-
vested. A crop of fish, ranging from 30to 125 lb. or more and
averaging 0.8 lb. in size, is a lot of fish to handle all at once. A
better management plan might call for periodic partial har-
vests to meet weekly or monthly demand for fresh fish. Fish
can be captured with dip nets, seins, traps or by hook and
line, which provides a sport bonus. The number of fish
removed should then be replaced with the same number of
fingerlings to continue the cycle. At each partial harvest, the
smaller fish will have to be returned to the tank for addi-
Tank culture of tilapia is an appropriate enterprise for
anyone who is involved in gardening or any other horticul-
tural endeavor in the Virgin Islands. If you are going to use
water for plant crops, why not use it first to raise a crop of
fish, increase its nutrient content, and reduce the need for
inorganic fertilizers. A pair of progressive agricultural en-
thusiasts are already putting this principle into practice.
Brenda and Rubenit "Boogie" Paul are St. Croix residents,
who have initiated a project integrating fish and plant pro-
duction. Boogie, a retired Martin Marietta employee and an
expert welder, fabricated a steel-walled tank that is 24 ft. in
diameter by 6 ft. in height. Excessive rain water, collected
off the roof of his house, is channeled by a pipe into the tank
where he is raising a crop of tilapia, many of which exceed
one pound in weight. A jet pump is used to periodically
draw water off the tank bottom. Then, Brenda takes over by
using the water to help raise beautiful ornamental plants
and to irrigate her vegetable garden. And beyond the tangi-
ble rewards of producing food, Brenda and Boogie have
drawn a great deal of satisfaction and enjoyment from their
Tank culture of tilapia has the potential of becoming a
popular pastime in the Virgin Islands. Imagine, the next
time you crave a meal of really fresh fish, all you may have to
do to get them is simply walk into your backyard and net up
a batch of home-raised tilapia. U
Delgado's Electrical &
MEYERS PUMPS AND STATE WATER HEATERS
FREDERIKSTED, ST. CROIX, V. I. 00840
CHARLES H. STEVENSON
(809) 773-4583 (Office)
(809) 773-3202 (Residence)
123 GALLOWS BAY
P.O BOX 3751 CHRISTIANSTED
ST. CROIX, U.S.V.I. 00820
E HU F
VIRGIN ISLANDS SENEPOL ASSOCIATION OF ST. CROIX
BOX 969, CHRISTIANSTED, ST. CROIX U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS PHONE (809) 773-1508
A PERFORMANCE BREED FROM THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
The Senepol Breed is Noted for Being:
Good Meat Production
Good Milk Production
A// interested producers with Senepol Cattle are strongly encouraged to
become members and register their cattle with the Senepol Association.
GENERAL CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTORS
You don't have to be a golfer to enjoy the beauty of
Fountain Valley. Located on the northwest side of St.
Croix, you will find Fountain Valley laced with lakes,
tropical groves, and mountain slopes.
Lunch is served daily on The Terrace with a complete bar
overlooking this beautiful landscape.
Our Sunday Buffet is served from 11 .00 a.m. 3.00 p.m.
$8.25 Adult and $5.95 Children under 10 years old.
The golf course is open to the public year round with
daily, weekly, and annual rates. Rental clubs and shoes
are available for all. The Pro Shop is completely stocked
with assorted sportswear, hats, slacks, gloves, clubs, and
bags everything for the golfer.
Fountain Valley's professional staff looks forward to
serving you in every way. Come share our beautiful
corner of paradise.
Managed by Rockresorts
Guinea Grass Can Save Your Garden!
John "Jay" Reynolds*
A common, weedy grass found in abundant wild stands
on our island might be the answer to many problems gar-
deners face here. Is this some miracle just discovered by
modern scientists? No, miraculous as it may sound, the
common guinea grass, used as mulch, can control weeds,
prevent erosion and compaction, and add nutrients to the
My purpose for writing this article is to explain how this
may be done based on my own experience. After gardening
here for several years and usually ending a season with a
garden full of weeds and hard dry soil I decided to try it and
see for my myself. Here's what I found.
After applying the mulch to fresh tilled soil, weeds will be
practically eliminated due to their inability to germinate
without light and lack of power to sprout through the
mulch. This effect is good enough, but remember that "one
year's weed is seven year's seed" and you can appreciate
that if mulching is continued over a period of time, a garden
without weed seeds could be achieved.
When most soil is freshly tilled and is exposed to heavy
rain, the first drops strike the soil and begin to form mud,
this later dries to form a crust. When this happens over the
course of a growing season, the end result is soil compac-
tion, which prevents entry of the vital air and water needed
by the plants. A layer of mulch slows the impact of rain and
allows the soil to soak up the water rather than crusting over
and compacting. During heavy rains this ability to soak up
water rather than "sealing up" will also lessen the problem
of erosion due to runoff of water.
Besides slowing down the entry of water into the soil, the
mulch will slow the exit of water out of the soil. Probably the
biggest problem facing gardeners here is lack of water.
Regardless of whether you irrigate by any means or not,
mulch can be a great help. I would estimate that the loss of
water may be cut in half by using a grass mulch. This is be-
cause the sun's heat is shaded out and, while air flow is not
stopped, the drying effect of the wind is greatly reduced.
While controlling weeds, compaction, erosion, and hold-
ing water, grass mulch is also feeding your soil as it decays.
Imagine a soil, rich in organic humus, being steadily
cropped, year after year. This soil, if not amended by any
organic matter, is bound to be depleted by the relentless
decay so rapid in our tropical climate. The grass mulch, after
being applied, will eventually be consumed by this process,
and in decaying it will maintain the soil structure and, if
continued, will build a soil better than before.
To begin mulching with guinea grass, you should first
locate a thick stand of grass near to your plot. Many home
owners might even by willing to pay to have a stand of grass
"weeds" cut down. If a field nearby is not available, an area
of "bush" can be cut back and even seeded with broadcast
seed gathered somewhere else. I would estimate a need for
at least twice your garden area to set aside for harvesting,
perhaps more if during a dry season. Although guinea grass
can be harvested by machete or sickle, if very much is
Jay Reynold's Estate Northside garden prior to using guinea grass mulch.
needed, a power brush cutter with metal blade or sickle bar
type mower will eliminate a lot of drudgery. A means to
carry the bulky grass such as a truck or trailer is necessary if
the field is not close by. A pitchford is needed because the
grass will scratch your arms if carried otherwise. The grass
can be cut at any height and will normally be highest during
the rainy season when it sets seed.
A display by Jay and Karen showing their beau-
tiful produce and many other items made from their
If cut while seeding, the seeds will be carried into your
garden, but if you wait about a month to cut, the seed will
ACREAGE & INVESTOR
42 QUEEN CROSS STREET CHRISTIANSTED
ST. CROIX U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS 00820
TELEPHONE (809) 7731498
fall before cutting is resumed. The grass clumps should be
cut at 3-4 inches from the ground for fast regrowth and re-
member that the more often it is cut, the thicker it becomes.
Harvesting is easiest when done in the morning or late
afternoon in the cool of the day and the grass should pref-
erably be dry as it is lighter and will not immediately decay.
If left piled up more than a day or two or if left in the rain,
green cut grass will heat up due to decay and will be sticky,
hot, and smell of strong ammonia. It is a good idea to let the
grass dry in the field but if dry weather is forecast it will
usually dry, after spreading, in 3 days or so. The mulch
should be spread 3-4 inches think when tamped down with
a light motion of the pitchfork. Be sure to mulch all around
the garden, even the pathways, to insure no weeds. This
thickness of mulch will give at least two months protection
even during the rainy season when decay is most rapid. As it
decays, you will notice bare patches in the mulch layer
which can be covered with more grass and hopefully, by
that time, your crops will shade out any more weeds.
We have often seen a garden, barren, weedy, and dry,
lying close to a thriving field of guinea grass but have not
thought of the benefits standing there. This is a valuable
source that we should not continue to overlook if agri-
culture is to proceed here.
*Jay Reynolds won first prize in both 1984 and 1985 in the Home
Garden Project category at the Agriculture and Food Fair. His
garden is located in Estate Northside, Frederiksted. When he is not
gardening with his companion Karen Guyton, he can be found at
General Offshore Corporation.
BUILDING MATERIALS HARDWARE
Across from Sunny Isle Tel. 778-5280
AAWM9 FOODS IC.
P.O. BOX3637, CHRISTIANSTED, ST. CROIX, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDOS20
GEORGE W. RAWLINS Telephone
Manager (809) 773-2071
"Teacher, Why Are We
CVI Extension Agent 4-H
"Farming? Teacher we can get everything we need from
the supermarket! When my mother needs anything we can
have it in the frying pan 15 minutes after we buy it. Why
should we have to go planting in the dirt, waiting for weeks
to see our efforts, when the supermarkets are so convenient?"
The preceding was a surprise question posed by a sixth-
grader during an agricultural presentation to his class last
November. But it should come as no shock because young
people need to understand where their food comes from
and how agriculture affects the total economic system in
which they live. This understanding is essential if they are to
deal with agricultural policies and issues in the years to
come. The following is a dialogue which answered our stu-
Student: "How bad is our Agricultural situation?"
Our dependency upon importation is a soaring 90 per-
cent, which is very disheartening for an island not long ago
referred to as the "Bread basket of the Caribbean." We
have very few farmers who operate a farm as a full time
venture to provide local produce. Supermarkets are hesi-
tant to market local produce unless farmers can guarantee a
steady supply of agricultural items. Our dairy industry is one
of the few exceptions which generates an adequate supply
Student: "Why then has agriculture only recently be-
come a popular issue?"
The importation of food has become expensive and in-
creasingly difficult. The demand for quality and reasonably
priced food has never been greater. Preserving agriculture
and rural life in the Virgin Islands is and will be one of the
more interesting social and political topics for the remain-
der of the 1980's and beyond.
With the American take over of the Virgin Islands in 1917,
Agriculture went into a decline as consumer goods and
food were imported into the islands. The new government
provided little incentive to the local farmers and encour-
aged dependency on the imported products. After World
War II industrial development and tourism were seen as
viable alternatives to agriculture with their relatively high
income opportunities and rapidly expanding careers. In
Students from many local schools visited the Cooperative Extension Service box garden displays to learn how they
can be utilized at school and in their projects. Agriculture aide Alf Smith answered their questions.
comparison, agriculture was seen as a labor intensive, low
paying task highly dependent upon weather, pests, and
bleak market conditions. And so evolved in the 1960's the
intense growth of tourism in St. Thomas and St. John and the
establishing of heavy industry on St. Croix.
Student: "But why study it in school?"
The foundation of all knowledge is started in our schools.
It is important that the primary and secondary school stu-
dents, as a part of their basic instruction, learn about these
agricultural issues. Only then will they be prepared to help
make responsible decisions in this critical area as adults.
American agriculture is the world's largest industry with
assets exceeding $1 trillion. This industry employs nearly 23
million people, 22 percent of America's total labor force.
The agricultural industry encompasses manufacturing,
farming, transporting, processing, and merchandising.
A helping hand was given to young Claude O.
Markoe School student by 4-H Extension Agent
Shelton Shulterbrandt when they planted a pretty
little ornamental pine to beautify the school grounds.
Student: "How will I benefit from learning agriculture?"
1. You will develop a pride and respect for agriculture;
understanding how important it is for community to
become involved with this science is imperative.
2. You will learn new skills in farming. With these skills
you can embark on a career to feed yourself and others or
create a new hobby in the field of agriculture.
3. You will have an opportunity to become familiar with
the structure and components of a given agriculture indus-
try. This includes the middle people between the producer
and the consumer, agricultural services along with pro-
grams and policies, careers and opportunities in agribusi-
ness, and the factors which are related to it such as pests,
weather, and soils.
Student: "What can my class or I do in agriculture?"
There are numerous projects and activities that youth can
participate in to learn about agriculture. These range from
growing indoor plants that decorate your classroom to out-
door plot gardening and small livestock care. For more
information just contact your agriculture teacher or your
homeroom teacher who can put you in touch with Future
Farmers of American or the 4-H Program at CVI. Once you
become involved with agriculture you are doing your part
in a necessary cause to educate youth about agriculture
which will make a brighter future for the Virgin Islands. 0
Dodder The Golden Strangler Vine
Walter I. Knausenberger
Natural Resources & Pest Management
V.I. Cooperative Extension Services
Among the vines which develop in great profusion and
diversity throughout the tropics, dodder* is one of the most
unusual because of its completely parasitic mode of life.
Virgin Islanders know dodder as the striking yellowish-
orange naked vines commonly growing in straggling tan-
gles over trees, shrubs and fence rows. Sometimes dodder
looks as if it were a mass of stranded yellow seaweed.
A weed is a weed only in the eye of the beholder, and
though it is not a seaweed, dodder certainly is a weed, des-
pite its cheerful golden color. This very color gives dodder
away (shows us its "true colors"...) as a parasite which
"sponges" its living from host plants, and can almost liter-
ally strangle them. Once a dodder seedling attaches to a
suitable plant, it breaks all contact with the soil, and grows
entirely at the expense of the unfortunate host.
In the Caribbean, dodder is troublesome mainly in home
and public ornamental landscapes plantings. Not only do
these ungainly parasites weaken their hosts, but they spread
rapidly to cover otherwise attractive native and ornamental
vegetation. On the American continents, various kinds of
dodder can be economically significant weeds in certain
food, forage and fiber crops.
In Barbados and Trinidad, dodder has been described as a
pernicious pest (7,15).** In Puerto Rico, it and the superfi-
cially similar woe-vine or laurel dodder*** have actually
been called "Public Enemy No. 1" (10,17). And in the Virgin
Islands, a special bulletin describing dodder as a garden
menace in rather urgent terms, and giving control recom-
mendations, was issued by the V.I. Department of Conser-
vation and Cultural Affairs with the St. Croix Beautification
Council (19). Public concern was sufficient to convince the
V.I. Legislature to pass a bill in 1969 appropriating $50,000
for the purchase of equipment and chemicals for a spray
control program (18).
Although such concern may be somewhat exaggerated in
retrospect, it clearly has some basis. These parasites do have
a serious potential for spreading. For example, in 1930
dodder and woe-vine were common in Puerto Rican
coastal native vegetation, but of no particular concern. By
1950, they had become true pests, either through sponta-
neous propagation or carried into landscaped areas by well-
intentioned but ill-informed persons.
Whenever a plant or animal really stirs the imagination or
emotions of people, then it seems that common names pro-
* Cuscuta spp., family Cuscutaceae, related to Convolulaceae, the
** numbers in parentheses refer to reference sources in back.
*** Cassytha filiformis L, in the laurel family.
liferate. This certainly applies to dodder, which has an un-
usually large number of them. I have run across about 25
given names in English alone! These names convey some
very vivid images, such as strangle weed (or gut), golden
strangler, and tangle gut; devil's guts, hellbind, witches
shoe-laces, or pull-down; and angel's hair, gold thread and
love vine. On St. Croix, "love weed" is also used (9). V.I.
children spontaneously use "spaghetti", and on St. Thomas,
especially, "vermicelle" can be heard (8,21), as in the
French Antilles (see next paragraph). The world "dodder"
itself appears to be derived from an old German word for
egg yolk (14), probably because of the rich yellow color of
many dodder species.
In the French Antilles, some names used are "vermicelle"
(thin long spaghetti), "liane sans fin" (vine without end),
and "cordon de violin" violentn string) (7). In Spanish-
speaking areas of the Caribbean, "spagetillo" is apparently
frequently used. Puerto Rican common names which have
been used for both Cuscuta and Cassytha include "bejuco
dorado" or "amarillo" (golden, or yellow, reed), "fideillo"
(spaghetti) and "cabellos de angel" (angel's hair) (12,17).
Dodder Distribution and Hosts
About 170 species of dodder are known worldwide, most
of them in the Americas between Canada and Argentina (2).
Only a very few of these are of any economic significance.
In Puerto Rico and adjacent islands, six species are recorded
(11), while three are present in the V.I. (6). The most com-
mon by far is Cuscuta americana, found throughout the
West Indies, in Mexico, and in the southern U.S. There are
two other more-or-less common species in the Lesser Antil-
Is: C. indecora (large-seeded dodder) and C. campestris
(field dodder), which are cosmopolitan weeds (16).
Our local dodder (C. americana) is most often found at
lower elevations growing in drier areas on woody plants,
herbaceous shrubs and hedges (8,20) so it is more fre-
quently encountered towards the eastern end of our
islands, but it definitely can be found even in the moistest
areas of these islands. Although many broadleaf (dico-
tyledonous) plants are attacked, members of the grass
family are apparently resistant or immune (2,10). Likewise,
euphorbs such as poinsettia and other plants containing
latex and alkaloids (such as milkweed) may be immune to
Cuscuta (10). Some species of dodder are quite "picky"
when it comes to host selection, others not so. Agricultural
crops which have been seriously affected by dodder
include alfalfa, lespedeza (a forage and ground cover com-
mon in the southeastern U.S.), tomatoes, carrots, onions,
white potatoes, blueberries, and several others (2).
In the V.I., over 10 host plant species have been noted (8,
13,15). In rough order of frequency, they are: manjack
(Cordia spp.), casha (Acacia spp.), ornamental (Hibiscus
rosa- sinensis), turpentine tree (Bursera simaruba),
bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spp.), poor man's orchid
(Bauhinia spp.), seagrape (Coccoloba spp.), juju (Zizyphus
spp.), Ixora spp., flamboyant (Delonix regia), and Citrus spp.
On St. Croix, manjack appears to be the predominant host,
with hibiscus a close second, while on St. Thomas, various
Acacia species (casha) are the most commonly encountered
hosts, followed by manjack and hibiscus. Most of the re-
maining plants are rather uncommonly found as dodder
hosts. In Puerto Rico, hibiscus and white cedar (Tabebuia
heterophylla) are common hosts (17). In Florida, several
terrestrial orchids are attacked by Cuscuta and Cassytha (5).
Woody and ground cover ornamentals have been infested
in California and Florida (2).
Use in Folklore and as Herbal Remedy
"Love vine" or "love weed" are among the most fre-
quently used alternative names given to dodder in English.
This likely to be due to its use as an aphrodisiac. In Jamaica it
is said to be used as a love charm (7), although I have no in-
formation on how it is used, nor how effective it may be...
As a folk medicine, dodder has found several uses. In
Africa, an herbal tea madewith dodder apparently has been
used as a laxative and diuretic, with effects similar to epsom
salts, according to a Barbados source cited by Honeychurch
(7). Similar medicinal uses are known in the New World,
where dodder is supposed to have been used as a purgative,
against dyspepsia (bad or incomplete digestion, causing
pain or a troubled feeling in the stomach), and related
intestinal disorders (20). On St. Croix, a tea is made of all
parts of the plant to treat "colds" and "jaundice" (9).
Growth and Spread of Dodder
Dodder belongs to a unique plant family closely related
to the morning-glory family. Morning-glories are twining
vines with bell-shaped blossoms which are often showy and
colorful. However, dodder flowers are unattractive and
small, globular and crowded together in clusters, yellowish
to greenish white in color. Our local "love vine" seems to
bloom all year round at one site or another, though a given
plant is not always in bloom. Some species bloom when the
host does not (2).
Dodder devotes a lot of energy to producing seeds. The
fruits are spherical, and each contains several small seeds
similar in size to alfalfa (between the size of onion and cab-
bage seeds). Only a small partof theseed population germi-
nates in any single year, so once an area is infested, a dodder
problem is expected for many years.
Tangles of dodder overgrowing hibiscus near Salt
River on St. Croix.
Close-up of dodder plant, also called "spaghetti"
or "love vine".
Seedlings emerging from the soil are rootless and leaf-
less. The fine yellow threadlike stems rotate counterclock-
wise, searching for a possible host, which they must contact
within 2 to 9 days after germination (2,3). The seedling
twines indiscriminately about any elongated object it
contacts. If it happens to be a grass or something non-living,
the seedling dies. Weeds play an important role in the suc-
cessful establishment of dodder by providing an inter-
Once the dodder has made close contact with the stem of
the host plant, it attaches itself with small wart-like suckers
(called haustoria) which penetrate the food and water con-
ducting tissues of the host plant. Once the two plants are
united, the base of the dodder stem shrivels and loses all
contact with the soil, after which dodder lives entirely at the
expense of the host. The dodder vine then send out shoots,
and vigorously branches and rebranches, attaching to other
host plants. A single dodder plant may spread to cover 10-15
square feet. Interestingly, when the tendrils seize their
"victims", they always wind in a counterclockwise direction.
The appearance of dodder on certain plants may be re-
lated to seed dispersal patterns. For example, the seeds
could be distributed by water or by birds. The sticky berries
of manjack are preferred by birds and this may explain
dodder's common presence on that tree. Likewise, it's quite
possible that birds eat dodder fruits, though I have no data
However, it is important to realize that dodder can be
spread in two other significant ways besides through seeds:
(a) new individuals can be generated from scraps broken
off from an intact active parent (2,10).
(b) the attachment parts (haustoria) sunk into the hosts'
tissue can regenerate into dodder plants after apparent die-
back (2,3,10). This is most likely the reason dodder is so
common on hibiscus: spread through cuttings.
Dry weather does not affect dodder nearly as much as it
does its host plants. Dodder can continue to grow vigor-
ously while its host "holds back" when water is scarce. Also,
dodder thrives in full sunlight, and is favored relative to the
host plant, which drops leaves during a dry period. These
are the reasons dodder seems to become more prominent
and noticeable during our dry seasons. While seeds are pro-
duced abundantly during dry weather, they will not germi-
nate in dry soil, so they are not a source of the seeming re-
surgence of dodder in dry weather.
The unique life history of dodder makes it a very appro-
priate candidate for an integrated weed control program,
especially because it is present year-round, its seeds can
germinate over long periods of time, it grows on perennial
ornamental trees and shrubs which cannot be sacrificed,
and it can easily be propagated inadvertently. Such a pro-
gram would have three main components: preventative,
cultural and chemical measures.
Prevention. Recognition of the nature of the problem will
prevent the ill-advised deliberate introduction of dodder
into the garden environment, in the belief that the plant is
attractive. Also, avoid taking cuttings from, or grafting, host
plants which are, or have been, parasitized, or are near
parasitized plants, even if there is no external sign of growth
on the stems.
Elimination of spot infestations on brush in neighboring
property is worth considering. In general, taking decisive
steps like those outlined in this section will help prevent the
spread of existing infestations.
An alternative to consider in situations where control has
been successful, or infestations repeatedly occur, is the
planting of resistant plants. For example, having a pure
stand of grasses along your fenceline will minimize thesuc-
cessful establishment of dodder seeds or pieces because
grass is an unsuitable host. Also, certain ornamentals are
thought to be immune, as mentioned earlier. Some impor-
tant ornamental members of the family Euphorbiaceae
seem to fall into this category based on practical experience
(8,10), although this has not been verified experimentally to
my knowledge. Some common plants in this family include
Jacob's coat (Acalypha wilkesiana), croton (Codiaeum
spp.), poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima spp.), monkey-
pistol or sandbox tree (Hura crepitans), rubber plants and
figs (Hevea spp.), wild physic nuts, etc. (Jatropha spp.) and
the gooseberry tree (Phyllanthus acidus).
Cultural Control. This approach is the one most likely to
be used in home landscapes, where chemical weed control
methods are not normally practiced. This primarily involves
judicious and radical pruning of the host plant below the
points of dodder attachment, then promptly destroying
both the host material and the dodder, preferably by burn-
ing. Avoid leaving fragments of dodder stems on the
ground because they can regenerate new plants.
Tillage of the soil by whatever means beneath the af-
fected plant will go a long way towards preventing seedlings
from becoming established. This is because the seedlings
are rootless, are easily dislodged, and die if buried. Also, it
would remove weeds as intermediate hosts. Working the
soil for a month after the onset of rain after dry weather will
be especially effective. Still, it is important to realize that
dodder seedlings do not dry out as readily as most other
plants and may even lie dormant for4 weeks before drying (2,3)!
Burning of entire dispensable bushes or trees may be
worth considering. This would be facilitated if you sprayed
the plant with diesel oil first. In any case, you should obtain
the necessary fire permits and take all reasonable precau-
tions to prevent the fire's spread.
Chemical Control. This strategy has several possible
facets, depending upon the extent of the problem and
whether the situation is in home, public or ornamental
landscapes. The objectives are to (a) eliminate intermediate
weed and herbaceous plant hosts; (b) prevent dodder from
germinating or attaching to host plants; and/or (c) selec-
tively kill dodder on host plants with post-attachment appli-
cations which do not affect the host, at least not lastingly.
Soil applied herbicides offer some effective alternatives if
properly applied in plantings of well-established ornamentals
or fruit trees which are known not to be susceptible to her-
bicide injury. The best time to treat is at the beginning of a
rainy season, when a new batch of seeds would be
Among the most effective as pre-emergent treatment of
dodder and certain other weeds in the soil under affected
plants are trifluralin (e.g. Treflan), chlorprophan (e.g.
Furloe) or DCPA (e.g. Dacthal) (2,3). These materials are
99-100% effective in preventing dodder attachment to the
host. Treflan is incorporated as a granular material into
moist soil at the rate equivalent to 6 Ilbs. active ingredient/
acre; for example, a 5% G formulation would be applied at
4 1/2oz. per 100 sq. ft. Alternatively, Dacthal as 10% granular
might be applied as a surface treatment at the rate of 10 Ibs./
acre, or 7 1/2 oz. per 100 sq. ft. You should always read and fol-
low directions and precautions given on the label of the
pesticide you are using.
Post-attachment treatments with plant growth regulators,
plant foliar nutrients, dilute contact herbicides and/or
selective herbicides offer some promise, but very little spe-
cific and definitive data is available for selective treatment
of dodder on hosts other than alfalfa. For example, gly-
phosate (e.g. Round-Up ) at extremely low doses (1/10th
the usual rates) selectively kills back dodder on alfalfa, but
some dodder is able to recover from the embedded attach-
ment after all visible external dodder has been destroyed (4).
High nitrogen sprays appear to be detrimental to dodder,
based on local reports (18,19) and my own observations. The
Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture reported "very
satisfactory" results when dodder-infested areas were
sprayed under high pressure with a solution of one pound
of urea with some spreader-sticker (18). They used a John
Bean Rotomist sprayer capable of projecting a powerful
Ammonium sulfate at one pound per gallon of water,
WILLIAM J. OWENS
REBA McCAIN FINLEY
P.O. Box 1908
Frederiksted, St. Croix
U.S. Virgin Islands 00840
with one tablespoon of spreader, has also been recom-
mended (19). Adding spreader-sticker is important because
it provides for more uniform coverage and increased adhe-
sion on the waxy exterior of dodder.
In my experience, results with this approach have not
been very consistent, nor do I know whether the dodder will
regenerate from the embedded haustoria. Curiously, I have
not been able to locate any information in scientific liter-
ature on the efficacy or mode of action of nitrogen on
dodder, apart from a brief reference to the fact that ammo-
nium nitrate successfully prevents seed germination (2).
Finally, the potential for natural biological control exists
with dodder-attacking insects or disease agents (2). This
approach has been tried in Barbados without success so far,
where certain vine-boring moth caterpillars were intro-
duced from Pakistan (1). But it certainly is an approach with
promise, to have nature manage nature. U
1) Alam, Munir 1983 Personal communiatlon, Caribbean Agriultural Research &
Development Institute. Barbados
2) Ashlon. Floyd M and Donald Snanana 1976 Cu, cura spp (Dodder A Literature
Review of Its Biology and Control Unis Calif Drv Agric Sc Bull No 1880 20 p
( ( Dawson, H et al 1984 Dodder and its Control L S Department ot Agriculture
Farmer s Bull No 2276 24 p
S4) Dawson j H and A R Saghir 1983 Herb ides Applied to Dodder Cu- uta pp
after Attachmenl to Alfalfa (Slediao sad va)il eed Sri sol 31 465-471
5) Florida Department of Agrlo future and Conumer ser ites Inse sand Dseases o
S6) rosberg, Ra\mond 1981 Personal (ommuni action L S National Museum
S7) Honev(hur h. Penelope N 1980 Caribbean \ildplants and their L se, in ius-
tralted Guide to( sor1 Me edicinal and Wild Ornamental Plan, ot the \ est Indies
Dominima The Author 163 p
(8) knausenberger, L Unpublished observatronsr St Croli St lohn Si Thomas
Virgin Islands Cooperative Extension Service
( 9t Kub\ Ronald L 1979 Folk Medicine on St Croix An Ethnobotanim l studio
Honors Thesis in Anthropology, L'niv Kansas 119 p
(101 Kullt. Job 1969 The Biology of Parasiti Flowering Plants L nl California Pres 246 p
|11) Liogier Henri Alain and L uis F Martorell 1982 Flora ot Puerto Rico and \AdJt ent
Islands A S Pferrarti Svnopsiss Editorial I ni Puerto Rico Rio Piedra- 342 p
112) Marlorell. luis F Alain H Liogier and Ro\ O \\oodburx 1981 Caralor o de lo-
Nombres Vulgares x Crentificos de las Plantas de Puerto Rico Esl Exp Agric Rio
Piedras. Puerto Rio Boletin No 263 231 p
i13) Matusiak. John 1981 I published observations lirin Island, C(ooperall e
Extension Servi(e. Sl Thomas
(14) Ojtort d lighsh DiU onjr,
(151 RaK m(haran. hristopher 1981 L npubhl hed observations rgin I iandc Avricui-
tural Experlment Slation
116) ele/, (is ael 1957 Hcrba( cous Angil()per r m ot Ihet eser Antlie Inerameri ar
Un1 iersl0 oIt PIeroi) Riri 121 p
(171 elez Ismael and Johannes ian Oberbeek 1950 Plant, Indeseables en lo, C ulh. o
Tropi(cale Manuel Illustrado para el AgP (ultor basado en material de Puer'
RI( tdlorl.il ULniv Rio Pietdras Puerto RI(o 497 p
(18) L I )D parlr 'ent of Agrirulture 1971 Annual Report 1968-1970 -b p
(19) V I Departmenl ot (f onseration and Cultural Attair 1970 ,1 Bulletin Bried note
on dodder recognilion and controll untitled undated I 1 p
(20) Woodbury, Roy ( and Peter I Veater 1984 The \egreation ot St lohn and
Hassel Island, U S Virgin Islands Report to Virgin Islands National Park Puerto
Rico Dept Nal Res & Inst of Trop For Puerto Rico 98 p
(21) Cdar ia, Kwame 1986 Personal communir( all ion Virgin Islands Cooperatie E xer-
sion Serv e. St. C roix
Bob and Harriet Soffes
No Johnny Come Lately
I'm no "Johnny Come Lately" to agriculture, as you shall
see. As a young carpenter apprentice who was dissatisfied
with the wages of 20 cents per day, I asked the Belgian
priests for more money, but the answer was "no." So I
walked from Christiansted to the Bethlehem sugar factory,
where they were building houses for the workers and I was
offered 45 cents per day. After working there I next was paid
60 cents working at the leper asylum in Richmond. Lastly, I
worked at Estate Slob reroofing the great house when the
Hurricane of 1916 completely destroyed the roof of the
house that was being refurbished.
After that I took a job from the owner of the hardware
store on King Street in Christiansted where the first Trea-
surer of the United States worked as a young man. His name
was Alexander Hamilton, hence the name Hamilton
Hardware Store. Today the site of the store is known by the
name of Hamilton House. I charged the owner $1 per day
repairing the houses Mr. Clendinen owned on Church
Street. They all recently burned to the ground in a fire. (Ed.
note: the fire also destroyed Captain Week's Restaurant
behind the buildings on Church Street and was said to have
started in the kitchen there.)
After being dissatisfied with the trade as a carpenter, I
thought I should make a change. The change was to the
Agriculture Experimental Station at Anna's Hope under Dr.
Longfield Smith. This was in 1916. My title was pupil assis-
tant. Marion Lindquist was field assistant under Mr. Elliot
Bromley Martin. Douglas Blackwood was also a pupil assis-
tant. Many experiments were conducted on sugar cane and
For improving the soil it was planted to pigeon peas after
a second crop of cane and after six months it was replowed
for the planting of this particular crop of sugar cane that was
named Santa Cruz 12-2. I should say this experiment was
exciting, in that sugar cane previously was about one inch in
diameter and was now almost two inches!
During this era I raised goats, chickens and had a back-
yard garden of white yams, okra, and sweet potatoes at my
grandmother's property where I was born, locally called
Farm Road. This was the road leading up to the cemetery
5 Company Street
St. Croix 00820
THE OMPAS ROSE
and the old Peter's Farm Hospital.
I resigned from the Agriculture Experimental Station to
be inducted into the U.S. Navy as a Musician 2nd Class on
June 26, 1917, exactly three months after the transfer from
Danish to American rule. The rest is history.
*Ogese McKay, who will celebrate his 90th birthday this year, was
born November 23, 1896. He lives at 8A Work and Rest, where he
still has a garden.
THE ROYAL DANE HOTEL
13 STRAND STREET
FREDERIKSTED, ST. CROIX
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS 00840
TELEPHONE: (809) 772-2780
WARREN J. SINGER
MICHAEL D. ZULLO
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE EXHIBITORS
AND THE AGRICULTURE AND FOOD FAIR
Keep up the good work! Fight hunger in the future!
SION FARM 778-6460
Children and Infant Clothing
CHARLIE'S MEN'S WEAR
THE FIGAR, INC.
Children and Infant Clothing
Children and Ladies Clothing
Furniture and Appliances
Ice Cream and Pastries
Health Food Store
Boutique and Custom made Clothing
Bar and Restaurant
NOVELLA'S GIFT SHOP
Tobacco and Gift Shop
RUFINO MORALES, JR.
Bar and Restaurant
THE FASHION COVE
Fabric, Swing & Bridal Clothing
KIRBCO RADIO AND T.V.
Electronic Sales and Repair
THE VILLAGE FAIR
Electronic Sales and Repair
DR. METIN BEDIZEL
Pediatrics and Neonatology
SION FARM CLINICAL LAB.
MUTUAL OF OMAHA
ST. CROIX, SURGICAL CENTER
SMALL BUSINESS ADM.
STEELWORKER UNION, NATIONAL
STEELWORKER UNION LOCAL =8248
FARMER HOME ADMINISTRATION
Federal Government Agency
When Sugar Was King
by Richard A. Schrader Sr.*
Sugar and its brother rum
made St. Croix economy hum
when sugar was king.
Men and women
worked side by side
in sugar cane fields
in tropical heat
cultivating the crop
that produced much sweet.
A pay day for everyone
who wasn't too proud
to earn a living
by the sweat of his brow.
Folks never lived
above their means
a small income received
yet they made ends meet.
Estate Lower Bethlehem
home of the sugar factory
was like a village town.
Workers, sellers, buyers abound.
At harvesting time
donkey carts, horse carts,
trucks and tractors
like a caravan
rolled into Bethlehem
loaded with sugar cane,
fruits of labor
the people's resource
for a brighter morrow.
"A lone sentinel"
so 44 00 9 44 4. 00 49 __ 49 6* 00 .** 0. .0 00 0 - ----
Grinding of sugar cane
boiling its juice
released a cloud of steam.
A strong hissing sound
like one hundred locomotives
could be heard miles around.
The scent of raw fresh sugar
and heady aroma of molasses
found welcome refuge
in sniffing noses
and itching throats.
Tall grass and trees
now populate the land
on which sugar cane
was once product grand.
The ground lay bare
where the factory stood
except for a weather-beaten chimney
rising high up in the air
a lone sentinel
and towering monument
to the days
when sugar was king.
*Richard A. Schrader, former warden at
Golden Grove Correctional Facility, has
been writing poetry about the local
scene for some time. He published a
booklet entitled "Islands' Pride" in
1985, from which this poem was taken.
CABLE ADDRESS: GENERVI TEL.773-3709
general gases of
the v.i. inc.
PLOT 14 ESTATE PETER'S REST, P.O. BOX 7074, SUNNY ISLE. CHRISTIANSTED, ST. CROIX, V.I. 00820
& EQUIPMENT DIVISION
& EQUIPMENT DIVISION
pressurized 10 to 20 lb.
dry chemical extinguishers
8 H.P. Magna Convertible
Dual Action Rear Tine
Tiller with both
tines and standard
/ (MODELS CT 48 and
ST 48 available with
So electric start)
HOMELITE POWER SAWS
From Our Photo Album byLiz Wilson
All Of Life Is A Miracle
by M. Elisa McKay
Like the petals of the lotus, I unfold
blossoming to new heights /
With my feet planted firmly in
the soil of life,
My roots expand, soaring to
new and lofty dimensions
The rain streams through my cells
in perfect fulfillment of the here and now
The sun nourishes my soul
with new light
And I am illumined- a shining
glory in God's Garden.
"What's that thing wigglin there ing th a
new world through I Ing the store
yea world through microscope intrigues kids every
year at the extension exhibit by Pest Managment.
"Hey-Ho, Come to the Fair" was sung by St.
Patrick School 4-H singers during the 1985
CVI Extension home economics display featured new edition of "Native
Recipes" cookbook. On hand to assist viewers were aides Angela Lake
and Evannie Jeremiah.
UNITED SHOPPING PLAZA
For Your Health Foods
Natural Herb Teas, Drinks, Cosmetics,
and much, much more!
OPEN: Mon.-Fri. 9am-7pm
6 Company Street, Christiansted
Monday thru Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Handmade Arts & Crafts, Jewelry,
Oil, Insence, Books, etc
HERBS OF PARADISE
Featuring wild herbs of the Caribbean
and around the world.
All for you at: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
429 King Street
Frederiksted, St. Croix 772-2848
Vieques Folk Dancers entertained the crowd.
Dr. Arthur A. Richards smilingly acknowledges
applause of audience during 1985 Fair opening
The Arawak Program enthusiastically mounted
an extensive exhibit of craft work and plants
created at their South Shore site.
Farm Family of the Year 1985 was that of
Miguel Colon located on Centerline near
Charles Emanuel School. With the winner of
the top agriculture award were Agriculture
Commissioner Patrick Williams and Lt. Gover-
nor Julio Brady.
"A fish with a future" attracted much attention at the
1985 Fair. Dr. Jim Rakocy, head of aquaculture research
at CVI, points to one of his full-grown tilapia fish.
nestled in historic Christiansted
A charming hotel in the heart of historic
Christiansted. Free port shopping and ex-
cellent dining, scuba diving, snorkeling,
sailing and fishing. All within a few minutes
walk. The fresh water pool is snuggled in
an old Danish courtyard surrounded by
tropical plants and patios. All rooms
refurbished in 1985. Enjoy complimentary
morning coffee and rolls on the garden
patio. Cocktails and light fare available in
HERITAGE INNS. LTD.
of Fredericksburg. Virginia
Two Company Street Christiansted, St. Ctoix
United States Virgin Islands 00820
(809) 773-1377 (809) 773-1913
Toll Free 800-524-2069
FRIENDS OF DENMARK
Restaurant & Bar
Fish Lobster Steaks Prime Rib
Passion Fruit Ginger Beer
No. 21 King Street Frederiksted
MARKET of St. Croix, Inc.
Sof St. Croix, Inc.-
70 PETER'S REST
CHRISTIANSTED, ST. CROIX, V.I. 00820
OPEN Mon.- Fri. 8:00 5:30
Saturday 8:00 4:30
North Shore Road La Grande Princess
NEXT TO QUICK PICS Food Stamps Welcome
CVI Vice President of Research and Land-Grant
Programs Darshan Padda shown addressing
crowd at Fair opening has been Fair Vice presi-
dent for almost a decade.
Millie and Ralph de Chabert visited woodwork-
ing booth of 'Bien' Brignoni who specializes in
wood turning and furniture work in local teak,
tibet, saman and mahogany.
Ebonite's music enlivened the Fair.
For small farms the emphasis is often on small
ION lMAl fAIMI"
Awards Director Otis F. Hicks smile happily as Sunshine Super-
market assistant general manager Sirri Hamad gives a check to Ag.
Fair president Pat Williams to be used for fair awards.
'w W. F,, I
1 B KING 51. C'S1ED
V.I. P.O. BOX *B"
FOR LIFE & HEALTH DIVISION
41 R ING ST.C'STED
-Supply House C Training Center-
Kin5g 6reeL C'Sed
King Sreet P'ed
United Shopping Plaza
GARBAGE CONTAINER SERVICES SEPTIC TANK
CLEANING PORTABLE TOILET RENTALS
SEWER LINE CLEANING SERVICES
"Satisfaction Guaranteed or Double Your Garbage Back"
772-1038 P.O. Box -S"
772-0534 Est. Lowr. Love
SHOTEL (809) 773-5108
SION FARM COMMERCIAL CENTER
ALSO: Complete Line of Party Rentals
P.O. Box 973 Kingshill
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands 00850
Telex No. 367323 "CARCONS"
Valued Employee Award citing his outstanding work and
exemplary service was received by Fair Superintendent Eric
"Larry" Bough, shown here on right being congratulated by
Lt. Governor Julio Brady and Senate president Derek Hodge.
Junior Calypsonian winner entertained fairgoers.
Arthur A. Richards school has been a blue ribbon winner
consistently in their category at the Fair under the guidance
of Lester Holcup (left), vocational agriculture instructor.
Mr. Mitchell's -
in 1985. giant cassava roots
were prize Winners
"AGRICULTURE and BUSINESS-
A GOOD MIX IN '86"
Our "Theme" this year and reading this book
will show you why
Our Advertisers are all part of the
Agriculture Business by supporting
Our Fair Bulletin
So Let's Support Them!
Gratitude Also from the 1986 Board of Directors
to our Visitors
to our Exhibitors
to our Readers
and to the Staffs of the V.I. Department of Agriculture
and CVI Land Grant Programs
F FAST DELIVERY
5 DAYS PER
F. T. C.
FLEMINGS' TRANSPORT CO., INC.
ALEXANDER HAMILTON AIRPORT
P.O. BOX 596. KINGSHILL, ST. CROIX
S"A Good Mix in '86"
Specializing in West Indian Cuisine
"A Good Mix in '86"
"A Good Mix in '86"
Opposite Central High School
Warehousing, Storage, Packing, Crating, Local and
Overseas Household Moving, Office Moving,
General Trucking, Custom Brokerage.
Air Express International
GMD Air Freight
TAT Air Freight
Diamond M. International
Telex: Fleming 3471029
Cu. IPlem WO xsC
Debra Webber, LMT No. 5 Company Street
C'sted, St. Croix
massage therapy & facials
*Eliminates aches and pains
*Leaves you feeling refreshed
Licensed to practice Swedish & Sports Massage
Deep Tissue Work
RANCH AND BARN PAINT
MARKET PLACE P.O. Box 3094
Christiansted, St. Croix
(809) 773-8595 U.S. Virgin Islands 00820
EUGENE A. PETERSEN, D.V.M.
PAUL W. HESS, D.V.M.
ANIMAL CLINIC, PC.
THE RESTAURANT AT
CASUAL DINING IN A
BEAUTIFUL COURTYARD IN
Best Wishes for a Successful
AGRICULTURE and FOOD FAIR
Specializing in the Finest Seafood
and Specialty Produce obtainable
WHOLESALE RETAIL CATERING
Monday Saturday 10 a.m. -7 p.m.
Sunday 2 p.m. 7 p.m.
118 Gallows Bay, Christiansted, St. Croix U.S.V.I. 00820
UNIVERSITy OF VIRGIN ISLANDS
33138 00157 7914
(809)- 773-0354 Compliments of
I |^ 102 King Street Frederiksted
JI I I mJ 772-0074
S Sun. 9 a. :0 a.m. 1:00 p.m.
H I~olo s..... oo
-1 Compliments of
CREDIT BUREAU OF ST. CROIX, INC.
CREDIT REPORTING & COLLECTIONS
2 HOSPITAL STREET a P.O. BOX 1024
CHRISTIANSTED, ST. CROIX, V.I. 00820 (809) 778-8997
ZYPEX & LYNTOR'S
SION FARM COMMERCIAL CENTER
Frozen & Canned Vegetarian Foods
Herbal Teas, Grains, Vegetarian Sandwiches
WE'RE CHALLENGING YOU!
IT'S A RACE AGAINST THE CLOCK!
Guess how many times we can
build a 6x8x7foot tool shed at
the Agriculture and Food Fair.
Feb. 15, 16, 17, Estate Lower
Guess correctly and
1st Prize a tool shed
2nd Prize a patio wall
3rd Prize a planter
P.O. Box 1517
Frederiksted, St. Croix
East of town off Centerline Roai
d Tel: (809) 772-4530
Eastern Caribbean Aviation, Inc.
JOSEPH F. LOUGHRAN
St. Croix St. Thomas
PO Box 6981. Sunny Isle, Chrilstansted, St Crox. US V I 0082 TeleI 347 1090
Day (8091 7780630 Night (809) 773-7171
No. 1 Jet Refueling Center In the Caribbean
CASTLE NUGENT FARMS .... MARIO GASPERI
CORN HILL FARM ....... HENRY NELTHROPP
WINDSOR FARM............ ST. CROIX DAIRY
MON BIJOU FARM ............. OLIVER SKOV
SIGHT FARM............. CHARLES SCHULSTER
VIR61N ISLANDS DAIRYMEN'S ASSOC.
Fresh Grade "A"
For Your Table
r r ..- .
Printed by .
Antilles Graphic Arts ,