2001 Florida Postharvest Horticulture Institute at FACTS
"Sanitation and Food Safety: Protecting Produce and People"
The 11th annual Florida Postharvest Horticulture Institute will be held at FACTS 2001 (Florida Agriculture Conference & Trade Show) on October 2 and 3 at The Lakeland Center in Lakeland, Florida. The program will feature Dr. Jim Gorny, Technical Director for the International Fresh-Cut Produce Association, as well as other leading experts who will present the latest practical information for minimizing the risk of microbial contamination of fresh fruits and vegetables during harvesting, packing and shipping operations.
The Postharvest Institute is designed for produce industry professionals, educators, researchers and students involved in such diverse areas as field and packinghouse management, wholesale and retail sales and import/export. The $40.00 registration fee covers admission to the Institute, lunch on Tuesday, a reference notebook and entrance to the FACTS exhibit areas. A discounted registration fee is available for county faculty who wish to participate.
For more information, contact Ms. Abbie Fox, Institute Facilitator at 352-392-1928, ext. 235 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Periodic updated information is available on the homepage of the Horticultural Sciences Department, University of Florida at: www.hos.ufl.edu.
This program is co-sponsored by the Horticultural Sciences Department and the Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida; the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, Orlando; and FACTS 2001.
(Sargent, Vegetarian 01-09)
Purpose: During the spring season, it is not unusual for growers to produce very large ears of sweet corn which do not readily fit into the standard sized crate. Growers must often use a larger crate and still may have difficulty or not be able to get the desired 54 to 60 ears into the crate. This demonstration was conducted to determine if planting large eared varieties of corn closer together (increase plant population and reduce within-row plant spacing) would help reduce ear size so that ears would more easily fit into the crate while at the same time increase overall marketable yield. How close can large eared sweet corn varieties be planted in the spring to increase yield while still retaining acceptable ear qualities?
Experimental Design: Three varieties of sweet corn were replicated in a split block design with four plant spacings and four replications. Abbott & Cobb 945 and Rogers 9686 were selected by the respective seed companies. The third variety, Abbott & Cobb Summer sweet 8102 BC, was being planted commercially by the grower in the same field. Plots were single rows spaced 30 inches apart. A total of 30 hills were direct seeded with a jabber for each spacing and plots were separated by a 3 ft planted border to reduce any end-of-plot effects. Plot length varied according to within-row plant spacing.
Location and Soil Type: Prewitt Village, 4 miles east of Belle Glade, FL,: Pahokee muck.
Planted: 22 February, 2001
Mid-silk: 15 - 21 April (52 to 58 days after planting)
Harvested: 8 - 11 May (20 to 23 days after mid-silkand 75 to 78 days after planting)
Crop Culture and Evaluation: The demonstration area had been treated with Thimet 20G insecticide over the unplanted seed row and liquid fertilizer had been knifed in about three inches to the side of the unplanted seed row. Using a jabber, one to two seed were planted per hill on 22 Feb. and thinned to one plant on 15 March (21 days after planting). For Rogers 9686 and Abbott & Cobb Summer sweet 8102 BC two seed were planted per hill and for Abbott & Cobb 945, only one seed was planted per hill because of a limited amount of seed. To help determine maturity, ears with silks were counted from all plots on 10 (no silks), 16, and 19 April.
Weather and Crop Conditions: Weather was dry but fairly favorable for crop growth. Rainfall for the 78 day crop period was estimated at 5.09 inches (based on the average daily rainfall totals for the two closest SFWMD rain gauge sites). Some rust and Northern corn leaf blight was noticed when the plots were checked on 16 April.
Results and Discussion: Bird damage was noted around the ear tip and sides of some ears of A&C 945, the earliest maturing variety. The 10 ears for quality evaluation were selected from undamaged ears. The desired plant population was most closely achieved for Abbott & Cobb Ss 8102 BC and Rogers 9686. For Abbott & Cobb 945, the actual plant population was 10 to 13% below what was desired. (Note: Abbott & Cobb 945 was planted one seed per hill, while the other two varieties were planted at two seed per hill and thinned to one plant.)
Following are the acceptable plant spacings and the subsequent yield for each variety based on the following criteria (Table1): 1) the crate must contain 54 to 60 ears, 2) the crate must weigh a minimum of 42 lbs., and 3) based on the number of ears to weigh 42 lbs., the ear count per crate can not be less that 54 ears.
For A&C 945, the 6 and 7 inch plant spacings yielded ears that weighed less than 42 lbs./crate at 54 and 60 ears/crate. At the 9 inch spacing, both 54 and 60 ear counts weighed more than 42 pounds/crate. The 8 inch spacing was acceptable at 54+ ears with yields ranging from 356 to 395 crates/A.
For A&C Ss 8102 BC, the 6 inch plant spacing yielded ears that weighed less than 42 lbs./crate at 54 and 60 ears/crate. At the 9 inch spacing, only the 60 ear count weighed more than 42 pounds/crate. The 7, 8, and 9 inch spacings were acceptable at 60 ears/crate with yields ranging from 355 to 465 crates/A.
For Rogers 9686, the 6 inch plant spacing yielded ears that weighed less than 42 lbs./crate at 54 and 60 ears/crate. At the 9 inch spacing, both 54 and 60 ear counts weighed more than 42 pounds/crate; also, at the 8 inch spacing, 60 ears/crate weighed more than 42 pounds/crate. The 8 inch spacing was acceptable at 54 ears producing 424 crates/A and the 7 inch spacing was acceptable at 60 ears producing 473 crates/A.
Acceptable sized ears were produced at the following spacings:
Husk cover was acceptable for all varieties at each of these spacings (Table 2). A&C 945 had the longest average husks length while A&C Ss 8102 BC had the shortest average length. Ear length was acceptable at each of these spacings. A&C Ss 8102 BC had the longest average ear length while A&C 945 had the shortest. The average minimum ear length was 7.0 in. or greater for all except A&C 945, which averaged 6.8 in. for the 8 inch spacing. Ear width was acceptable, averaging 1.75 in. or more for all varieties and spacings except A&C Ss 8102 BC at 7 in. (1.73 in.). When compared over all four spacings (6 to 9 in.), A&C Ss 8102 BC had the smallest variation in ear width, 0.05 in. (ranging from 1.72 to 1.77 in.). A&C 945 had the greatest variation in ear width, 0.12 in. (ranging from 1.70 to 1.82 in.). The amount of unfilled tip was also acceptable for the spacings which produced acceptable sized ears. A&C Ss 8102 BC had the smallest amount of average unfilled tip (0.08 to 0.19 in. for corn spaced at 7 to 9 inches). At the 7 inch spacing, Rogers 9686 had the largest average for high unfilled tip at 1.76 in.
Although the unhusked ear weight of Rogers 9686 was heavier than the other two varieties, it ranked second in husked ear weight and had the lowest percent husked ear weight (Table 3). A&C Ss 8102 BC had the highest ear placement (38.4 in.) and the highest number of lodged stalks (0.38). Row count was not completed for A&C 945 at the 7, 8, and 9 inch spacings. Row count averaged 16 & 18 for Rogers 9686 and 14 and 16 for A&C Ss 8102 BC.
See charts with corresponding data that are indicated in the last row of Tables 1 and 2.
Click for Table 1.
(Ken Shuler, ext. agt. IV, Palm Beach County - Vegetarian 01-09)
Results of 3 surveys on the status of the Florida greenhouse vegetable industry over the last decade were presented at the 2001 annual meeting of the Florida State Horticultural Society. Considerable change has occurred in the industry. Results showed that the amount of acreage devoted to greenhouse production was 66, 58, and 95 acres for the 1991, 1996, and 2001 surveys respectively.
The major crops grown in vegetable greenhouses during the decade changed with European cucumbers the predominant crop in 1991. The 2001 survey ranked colored peppers first, followed by tomatoes, herbs, and European cucumbers (Figure 1). Production systems in use also changed with an increase in perlite and a decline in rockwool systems (Figure 2). New hydroponic systems such as vertical and float production along with older standards like bag/pot and floor/bed systems were all in use during 2001 (Figure 3). Greenhouse design was predominantly multi-bay, double polyethylene plastic covered, with pad and fan systems in 2001 (Figure 4). About one third of the acreage was using natural ventilation.
Greenhouse growers are under significant competitive pressure from imported greenhouse vegetables. Tomato greenhouse growers in the United States recently banded together and brought an anti-dumping complaint against Canada. The U.S. International Trade Commission found sufficient preliminary evidence that Canada was materially harming the U.S. industry by selling their product here at less than fair market value. The investigation is expanding and early bets are that a floor price will be established at $.60 to $.70 cents per pound at the border. With shipping costs added, this should help the Florida tomato growers who market locally compete better with the Canadian product.
Another development which illustrates the rapid changes in the greenhouse industry was the announcement that Burnacs, one of the largest and oldest greenhouse producers in Florida, will not be putting in a fall crop and is up for sale (28 greenhouse acres). They were producing primarily colored pepper (which will now drop to 4th behind European cucumbers).
The challenge for the Florida greenhouse vegetable industry will be to find ways to reduce the cost per pound to produce greenhouse vegetables and establish reliable markets that are willing to pay more for this quality product. Does that sound like being caught between a rock and a hard place?
(Richard Tyson, ext. agt. II, Seminole County - Vegetarian 01-09)
The adaptability of the strawberry root system promotes transplant establishment. Strawberry plant root size is usually well established within 2 to 3 months of the beginning of the growing season (Galletta, 1990). Rapid growth insures the delivery of water and nutrients at times critical to flower and fruit development. The six-week period just prior to harvest is when strawberry plants accumulate nutrients at the greatest rate. (May, 1994)
Northern latitude or high elevation nurseries produce strawberry transplants during the summer months and begin digging plants in September for Floridas winter production season. The nurseries are open fields where plants produce daughter plants on stolens (runners) in response to long days and high temperatures. These daughter plants radiate from the mother plants, taking root if soil conditions are suitable. Digging implements are used to loosen the soil around the plants, lift them from the ground, and shake any remaining soil form the roots. The method of digging daughter plants is efficient however the plants experience some damage in the process. The green topped bare root transplants arrive in Florida with varying amounts of root damage and 3-6 mature leaves. These plants are planted on raised, black polyethylene mulch beds and then are overhead irrigated for 10-14 days, 10 hours a day to aid in reestablishment of the root system. The objective of this study was to determine if mechanical root pruning has an effect on early or total season fruit yield of strawberry bareroot transplants grown in a Florida winter production system.
Sweet Charlie strawberry plants were graded so that all plants were of equal size and apportioned into three groups, with each group containing 64 transplants. The plant roots in the first group were trimmed to 5 cm, the second groups roots were trimmed to 9 cm, and the third group, which served as the control, had roots that were not trimmed and measured 12 cm or more. Severed roots were placed in a drying oven for 48 hours at 60oC. Pruning to 9 cm removed an average of 26% of the total root mass of a typical transplant. Pruning to 5 cm removed 60% of the root mass. Immediately after trimming the roots, the transplants were placed 14" apart and planted. The plants from each treatment group were divided among four 16-plant plots arranged in a randomized block design. Following industry standards, the plots were irrigated for 10 hours a day for 10 days. The experimental trial was conducted during the 1999-2000 season and again in the 2000-2001 season.
Planting date for the 1999-2000 season was 22 Oct., and 18 Oct. for the 2000-2001 season. First harvest was 17 Dec. and 19 Dec. for the 99-00 and 00-01 season respectively. Thereafter, strawberries were harvested twice weekly until 9 Mar. both seasons. The number and weight of marketable fruit harvested were recorded. Root pruning had no detectable effect on early or total yield (Table 1). Seasonal differences in yields were evident due to the 2000-2001 season being unseasonably cold in Dec. and Jan. Apparently root regrowth is rapid during the 10-day overhead irrigation period, and an extensive initial root system is not needed for water and nutrient uptake. As the strawberry industry pursues water conservation goals, further studies will be needed to establish the exact period of overhead irrigation necessary for root establishment.
Darrow, G.M. 1966. The strawberry: history, breeding, and physiology. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York
Galletta, G.J. and D.G Himelrick (Eds) Small Fruit Crop Management. 1990. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs N.J.
Mays G.M., M.P. Pritts, and M.J. Kelly. 1994. Seasonal patterns of growth and tissue nutrient content in strawberry. J. Plant nutrition. 17: 1149-62
White, P.R. 1927. Studies of the physiological anatomy of strawberry. J. Agric. Res. 35:481-492
Wilhelm. S., and P.E. Nelson. 1970. A concept of rootlet health of strawberries in pathogen-free field soil achieved by fumigation. P 208-215. In T.A. Toussoun, R.V. Bega, and P.E. Nelson (eds). Root diseases and soil-borne pathogen. University of California Press, Berkley.
(Elizabeth Golden and Duval, GCREC-Dover - Vegetarian 01-09)
Watermelon production in Florida amounted to 864,000,000 pounds for 27,000 acres harvested in 2000, which represented a value of $45,360,000. Because the water content of watermelon fruits is high (90 to 95%), water management is an essential part of watermelon production. On one hand, water stress may increase the incidence of blossom-end rot and may result in poorly shaped, bottleneck unmarketable fruits. On the other hand, excessive field moisture has been associated with hollow heart and movement of mobile nutrients, such as nitrate-nitrogen and potassium, out of the root zone.
Current IFAS irrigation recommendations for watermelon grown with plasticulture are to use a crop water use estimate and to keep soil water tension (SWT) between 6 and 15 cb in the 0-12 in zone. For most vegetable crops, crop evapotranspiration (ETc) may be estimated using historical or real-time weather data. Average monthly reference evapotranspiration (ET0) may be used to estimate crop evapotranspiration (ETc) by using a coefficient called crop coefficient (Kc). Another practical method to schedule irrigation is to adjust class A pan evaporation data (Ep) with a factor called crop factor (CF) to estimate ETc. Unfortunately current Kc and CF values currently available for watermelon were developed for bare ground production. Moreover, real-time ETo or Ep are seldom available.
Because growers need a practical method to schedule irrigation in real-time, this research was conducted to develop and test CF for watermelon grown with drip irrigation and plastic mulch. This report presents the preliminary results of the Spring of 2001.
Irrigation was scheduled according to the water balance method. Daily irrigation supplied the amount of water lost by evapotranspiration on the previous day. Class A pan evaporation (Ep) was daily recorded on-site (Figure 1) and a two-entry table with evaporation and crop age was used to determine the needed amount of water (Table 1). CF values of 0.20, 0.40, 0.70, 0.90 and 0.70 were selected for watermelon growth stages 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, respectively. In an attempt to make scheduling practical for growers, these growth stages were the same as the ones currently used for fertilization recommendations.
Between 31 and 86 days after transplanting (DAT), SWT was monitored at the 6 and 12 in depths, twice a week (Mondays and Thursdays) before irrigation using granular matrix sensors (model 200-5, Irrometer company, Inc, Riverside, CA) and a reader (Watermark 30 KTCD-NL, Irrometer company, Inc, Riverside, CA). Sensors were placed in the four replications of N2 treatment.
Selected nitrogen (N) fertilization rates were N1, N2 and N3 and represented 75, 100 and 125% of the recommended IFAS rate, respectively. Based on soil test results using the Mehlich 1 extractant, the fertilizer recommendation rate was 150-0-150. The fertilizer injection schedule followed the recommendation of SP-170.
Testing the target CF values was done under three N rates and consisted in creating two lower and one higher water regimes than the I3 reference with values of 33%, 60% and 133% of I3 for I1, I2, and I4 respectively. The typical drip design was altered to allow separate application of water and fertilizer (Figure 2).
Five week old Mardi Gras watermelon transplants were established on March 27 in 2001 at the North Florida Research and Education Center-Suwannee Valley (NFREC-SV) on a Lakeland sandy soil. Plots were 30-ft long and beds were on 7.5-ft centers. Distance between plants was 3 feet and each plot contained 10 plants, which created a stand of 1,815 plants/acre (Figure 3). Pest control consisted of applications of Ambush (permethrin, insecticide) six times at 10 oz/acre. Quadris FL was applied once at 12oz/acre and Bravo 81W was applied five times at 3 lbs/acre for disease control. Watermelons were harvested twice (73 and 83 DAT) and graded as marketable and cull (Figure 4).
Thanks to the modified drip system, the experimental design was a completely randomized block design with 4 replications and all factorial combination of 3 N rates and 4 irrigations regimes. Data were first analyzed using analysis of variance (SAS, 1987) and linear and quadratic orthogonal contrasts. Optimum water application rate was determined using regression analysis.
Weather during the Spring of 2001 was warm and dry, and overall favorable for watermelon production. Under these conditions, total water applied to I1, I2, I3 and I4 were 2,100, 3,800, 5,400, and 7,100 gal/100lbf, respectively. The drip system was designed so that I1, I2 and I4 represented 33%, 66% and 133% of I3, respectively. Observed water rates were numerically close to the target values (39%, 70% and 132%, respectively).
These irrigation regimes affected SWT and the magnitude of the water stress imposed to the watermelon plants (Figure 5). The number of sampling dates SWT remained within the recommended range at a 6-in depth ranged between 14 and 17 for I1 and I4, respectively. At a 12-in depth, this number ranged between 8 and 17 for I1 and I4, respectively, and increased linearly over the range of water regimes created. This suggests that the low irrigation rates (I1 and I2) maintained SWT within the recommended range less often that the high irrigation rates (I3 and I4). Similarly, the number of sampling dates that SWT was in the 15-24, 25-34 and above 34cb ranges increased from the 6-in depth to the 12-in depth, and decreased from I1 to I4.
The interaction irrigation rate x N rate was not significant for early and total marketable yield (p=0.14 and 0.75, respectively). The effect of N rate was significant for early yield (p=0.02) but not for total yield (p=0.90). Early yields were 22,444, 18,605, and 26,356 lbs/acre for N1, N2 and N3, respectively. Total marketable yields were 45,430, 44,634, and 46,385 lbs/acre for N1, N2, andN3, respectively. Mean fruit weight was 21, 21, and 22 lbs/fruit, for N1, N2, and N3, respectively. The relatively small size of the plots (30-ft each) and plants per plots (10) resulted in a relative variability larger than desirable. The observed coefficients of variations were 32% and 24% for early and total marketable yields, respectively.
The response of mean watermelon early and total marketable yield (kg/acre) to irrigation (gal/100lbf) were describe by: Total mkt. yield = -0.0002 Irr2 + 3.11 Irr + 10,150 and Early mkt. Yield = -0.0002 Irr2 + 2.53 Irr + 3,115 (Figure 6). These two quadratic equations have a downward concavity. Highest yields occurred at irrigation rates of 5,200 and 6,500 gal/season/100lbf for early and total marketable yield, respectively. As I3 corresponded to 5,400gal/season/100lbf, these values represent 96% and 120% of I3 for highest early and total marketable yield, respectively. Mean fruit weight was 20, 21, 22, and 22lbs/fruit for I1, I2, I3, and I4, respectively.
Crop coefficients for I3 were 0.20, 0.40, 0.70, 0.90, and 0.70 for stage growth 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, respectively. These preliminary SWT, yield, and fruit size results tend to support these values to schedule irrigation for watermelon using real-time class A pan evaporation data and the corresponding water application rates presented in Table 1. Results from several years will be necessary to confirm these preliminary results and fine-tune the relative value of CF for the different growth stages.
Eric Simonne2, Mike Dukes3, Galien
Avezou1, Robert Hochmuth4, George Hochmuth, David Studstill5,
and Wayne Davis6
(Simonne, - Vegetarian 01-09)
Florida has a history of residency older than any other state in the Union. Early settlers arriving in the sixteenth century found native Indians already growing such vegetables as pumpkins and squash along with corn for food and trade. Spanish settlers brought citrus and other crop-introductions, and these were grown in ever expanding amounts before and after Florida officially became a Territorial state in 1821 and an "official" state in 1845.
The warm climate during the winter months gave rise to Florida becoming a leading supplier to the rest of the nation for such crops as citrus and tender vegetables. Spanish explorers brought oranges to Florida as early as 1579, and by 1835, groves a mile wide and ten miles long were known to exist.
Grapefruit was being grown in Jamaica in the 1700's and is thought to have been grown in Florida (Pinellas County) as early as 1809 by a Spaniard named Don Phillipe. However, grapefruit was not shipped north until about the 1880's.
Severe freezes took their toll on the citrus industry (notably in 1835 and again in 1894-95), forcing the industry to move southward to the Central Florida Ridge. By 1885, production had reached 5,000,000 boxes. The succeeding year, there were only 150,000 boxes! But by 1909, the crop was again 5,000,000 boxes. By 1920, orange production had increased to 10,000,000 boxes, by 1954, 128,000,000 boxes, and by 1960, almost 100,000,000 boxes were harvested from 400,000 acres of groves statewide.
The first serious canning in Florida occurred in the 1921-22 season when Polk and Street canned 9,000 boxes of grapefruit sections. By 1947-48, orange concentrate was also on the scene, with almost 2 million gallons of frozen and 1.7 million gallons of hot-pack concentrate produced. Chilled juice did not start until later, but by 1958, about 10 million boxes of oranges were squeezed for this purpose.
Other fruit-crops contributing to the total fruit-crops industry over the years have been blackberries, blueberries, grapes, peaches, pecans, persimmons, pineapples, strawberries, and such sub-tropical fruits as avocado, lychee, mangos, and papaya.
Strawberry growing began in central Florida sometime in the 1880s. The first major variety appears to have been Neunan. It was replaced by Klondike ( c.1900), which was replaced by Missionary (c.1910), then by Florida 90.
The production of vegetables followed the migration of pioneer settlers into Florida. As they came, they grew vegetables for home consumption, then pioneered regional production of crops that eventually vaulted Florida into the countrys winter vegetable capital. Most of these crops were first brought to this country by immigrants. Cowpeas (Southern peas) arrived with slaves from Africa. Although pepper is native to tropical America, seeds were carried to Spain by Columbus in 1493, then on to the United States by European immigrants.
Little official data are available prior to the establishment of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station at Lake City in 1888. However, that year it was estimated that the gross value of Florida vegetables was 2 ½ million dollars.
Research on watermelons was initiated at the Station that year. Jasper P. DePass wrote a bulletin on growing cabbage for home use in 1887. Floridas Commissioner of Agriculture reported for the period 1901-1905 an average of almost 2,000 acres of cabbage per year.
Commercial production of potatoes developed in the 1890's in the Hastings area of north Florida. By 1900, 1,700 acres of potatoes were growing in Florida, according to the USDA Yearbook of Agriculture in 1900. (By mid-century, the acreage of potatoes had risen to 36,000 acres, with a gross value of $16,000,000).
Likewise, Floridas leading vegetable, the tomato, was being shipped to northern cities prior to 1890. Tomatoes grown in Bradenton were shipped to Cedar Key by boat, then across the state and on north by rail.
After the disastrous freeze of 1895 killed out the citrus, many of these growers sought new money crops, and other crop-industries were born. S.O. Chase grew celery near Sanford in 1895, and was followed by B.F. Whitner who brought celery from Michigan to plant in 1896.In 1897, celery was shipped to Jacksonville by J.H. Terwilliger, and on to New York. In 1899, four cars were marketed. By 1960, the major acreage had shifted southward to Palm Beach County but had increased to 11,000 acres producing 11,000 cars.
From these humble beginnings, many other crops have contributed to a thriving vegetable industry: beans, carrots, cucumbers, sweet corn, eggplant, endive, lettuce, muskmelons, okra, onions, sweet potatoes, radish, and many minor crops like cooking greens.
The value of vegetables was greater than for citrus until about 1910. Afterward, citrus was generally king, although there were years when the value of vegetables exceeded that of citrus. The chart below for 1939 will show them about equal.
Leading Ten Florida Vegetables, 1939
Beans, snap and lima - $6,139,000
In 1952, cash receipts from vegetables was 162 million versus 129 million for citrus. But by 1954, there was a more normal relationship when vegetables brought in 145 million compared to 188 million for citrus. And by the end of the 20th century, vegetables produced from 300,000 acres were worth about 1.5 billion dollars.
Vegetable Gardening. Through the early years most Florida families grew a vegetable garden for home use. In 1947, 4-H girls completed 3,500 garden projects while the boys completed about 2,000 gardens.
Floridas first governor was Andrew Jackson (1821). Its first territorial governor was William DuVal (1822). After it was granted official statehood in 1845, William Moseley became its first statehood governor.
The higher education system in Florida goes back to 1853 when Gov. Thomas Broome created East Florida Seminary in Ocala. Then, in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act which granted each state land to be sold to perpetuate colleges of agriculture, mechanical arts, and military sciences. But it was not until 1884 that Florida was able to take advantage of this act and establish its own college. It was called the "Florida Agricultural College," (FAC) and was established in October 1884 at Lake City.
The Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
In March 1887, the federal Hatch Act provided for an agricultural experiment station to be established at each of these state colleges. As a result, in 1888, the "Florida Agricultural Experiment Station" became a part of the Lake City FAC. (Incidentally, 1888 was also the year the Florida State Horticultural Society began).
The Stations first director was J. Kost, who was soon to be replaced in 1889 by The Reverend Jasper P. DePass of Archer, Florida.. In 1893, Oscar Clute became both director of the Station and president of FAC. In August 1897, Clute resigned and was replaced by W.F. Yocum, a former president of FAC.
President/Director Yocum held the dual position until 1901, when Dr. T.H. Taliaferro became President of FAC and director of the Experiment Station. Dr. Taliaferro, from the Ivy League schools, broadened the academic curriculum beyond agriculture, and named James M. Farr, history professor, as the first football coach of FAC.
In 1903, under Governor Jennings, the name "Florida Agricultural College" was changed to "University of Florida." That year, Dr.Taliaferro resigned and was replaced by Dr. Andrew Sledd for both director and president. In the fall of 1905, the University opened its doors in Lake City with 24 instructors and 136 co-ed students.
The State Buckman Act was passed in 1905. As a result, Gainesville was selected as the new home for both the University and the Agricultural Experiment Station.
In February 1906, the positions of Station Director and University President were separated.. Dr. Sledd continued as President and Dr. P.H. Rolfs was appointed as Director of the Station
Thomas Hall was the first building on the new campus, and in December 1906, the Stations library was moved into it. Dr. Sledd moved into it the following month (January, 1907).
In 1909, Director Rolfs moved the Station into a newly constructed building first called the Agricultural Experiment Station building, which later was named Newell Hall.
In 1915, Station Director Rolfs took on two other important agricultural positions- that of Dean of the College and head of the brand new Agricultural Extension Service (founded by the Smith-Lever Act of 1914). Rolfs served in this multiple fashion until he resigned in 1921.
Rolfs was replaced in 1921 by entomologist Dr. Wilmon Newell, who was the commissioner of the State Plant Board. Thus, Dr. Newell now held four administrative positions: dean of the College, director of the Station, director of the Extension Service, and commissioner of the State Plant Board, all of which he held until his death in October, 1943.
Upon the death of Dr. Newell in 1943, four appointees were named to head the four agencies. Harold H. Mowry was a Horticulturist who became director of the Station, a position he held until he retired in January, 1950. In May, 1950, Willard M. Fifield became the new director of the Agricultural Experiment Station.
In May, 1950, Dr. Joseph R. Beckenbach was reassigned to Gainesville as Associate Director. When Director Fifield was promoted to Provost for Agriculture in June 1955, Dr. Beckenbach became Station director.
In 1959, Dr. John Sites moved from the Chairmanship of the Fruit Crops Department into the Experiment Station office as Associate Director. Then, when Dr. Beckenbach retired in 1967, Dr. Sites became the new Director of Research (IFAS). Today: Dean for Research is Dr. Richard L. Jones.
Florida Cooperative Extension Service. In 1915, the Florida legislature reacted to the Federal Smith-Lever Act by establishing the Florida Cooperative Extension Service. This was based on a memorandum of understanding between the USDA and the University of Florida. The purpose of Extension was to take the knowledge base of the Experiment Station to the farms, markets, homes, and people of America. In 1915, Dr. P. H. Rolfs, who was serving as Director of the Experiment Station, took on the additional role of Floridas first director of the Extension Service. Dr. A.P. Spencer became Rolfss Extension Assistant in 1917; Assisted Newell 1930-1935, then became Extensions director 1943-1947. Mr. H.G. Clayton became Extensions Director in 1947 and served until retirement in 1956.
Until 1948 there was not a vegetable specialist on the Extension staff. In 1948, Dr. F.S. Jamisons appointment was split into one-half Extension and one-half research so that he could pull together all the work State-wide on vegetables. Today: Florida Cooperative Extension Service. Dean for Extension is Dr. Christine T. Waddill.
The College of Agriculture (Teaching). The basic degree granting unit for the Universitys agricultural programs has been the College of Agriculture. The first class graduated in 1889 and contained three students, followed by the second class of five students in 1892. The first class at Gainesville contained 102 students, mostly male, for the Florida State College for Women opened in Tallahassee the same year.
In 1915, Dr. P.H. Rolfs , in addition to his Research Directors role, was made Dean of the College of Agriculture and Director of the newly-created Agricultural Extension Service. He was replaced in this role by Dr. Newell in 1921, who served until his death in 1943.Then in 1950 Dr. C.V. Noble was Dean of the College ( Dr. Nettles married the Deans daughter, Grace). In 1955, Dr. Marvin Brooker became Dean of the College, followed by George Thornton, Marvin Brooker, Charles Browning, Gerald Zacharia, and Larry Conner. Today: College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Dean, Dr. Jimmy G. Cheek.
Provost for Agriculture. As can be seen from the discussion so far, the early leaders of the agricultural units assumed multiple administrative head-roles, but were not called "provosts.". In 1949, Dr. J. Wayne Reitz, a USDA economist, became the first so-called Provost for Agriculture. Dr.Reitz served as Provost until becoming University President in 1955. Replacing Reitz as Provost that same year was Dr. Willard M. Fifield, who was promoted from Research Director. He held this position until 1961, at which time Dr. Marvin Brooker, Dean of the College, became interim Provost. In 1963, Dr. E.T. York,Jr. was hired as Provost, and effectively reorganized the entire system into the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (1964).
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS). In April, 1964, the Florida Board of Control approved the creation of IFAS. This action organized the four major agricultural units of the University into a single budgetary and administrative unit- IFAS. These included the Experiment Station, the Extension Service, the Agricultural College, and the School of Forestry.
Instead of "Provost" the new title became "Vice President." The first Vice President for Agricultural Affairs was Dr. E.T. York, Jr., the 1964 Provost for Agriculture. His three designated administrators were already on the job in 1964: Dean of Extension, Dr. M.O. Watkins; Dean for Research, Dr. J.R. Beckenbach; and Dean for Resident Instruction, Dr. Marvin Brooker. Today: Vice President for Agricultural and Natural Resources is Dr. Michael V. Martin.
Before any history of the Horticultural Sciences Department can be continued, the historical development of the branch research stations must be addressed.. Over the years, there has been strong interaction between these branch research stations and the departments on the main campus. However, initially branch stations were independently funded.
Citrus Station. The oldest of the branches of the Agricultural Experiment Station is the Florida Citrus Experiment Station, established by the Florida legislature in 1917. Polk County growers provided 84 acres near Lake Alfred for the Station in 1919. In 1926, the first permanent structures were built from legislative funds. At first, the Station was operated out of Gainesville. Later, staff members working on citrus were stationed near the Station. In 1936, Dr. A.F. Camp became Horticulturist in Charge of the Citrus Station until 1956. In 1982, Dr. Walt Kender became Center director, serving until 1996. Today: Citrus REC- Lake Alfred. Director is Dr. Harold W. Browning. The staff includes 62 faculty working on citrus.
Everglades Station. The Station was authorized in 1921 on 160 acres three miles east of Belle Glade. In 1931, land area was increased to 800 acres. In 1960, 320 more acres were added for animal research. Dr. R.V. Allison was placed in charge in 1929. He was followed by A.Daane in 1933; J.R. Neller in 1937; Allison returned in 1944; and W.T. Forsee in 1952. Dr. Forsee was still in charge in 1963. Today : Everglades REC- Belle Glade. Director is Dr. E.A. Hanlon. The 21 faculty members work on agronomic and vegetable crops.
North Florida Station. The establishment of a tobacco experiment station was authorized by the 1921 State Legislature. The land (23 acres) was donated by growers near Quincy. In 1929, 20 acres adjoining this were acquired, along with a 617 acre farm nearby. When work on other crops and livestock began, the name was changed to North Florida Experiment Station. By 1963, the Station had grown to 1.359 acres and 57 buildings. W.H. Chapman was Agronomist in charge in 1963. Today: North Florida REC- Mariana ( Five faculty); NFREC- Monticello (Four faculty); NFREC- Quincy (Thirteen Faculty); NFREC- Suwannee Valley Live Oak( Three faculty). The faculty works with agronomic, fruit, and vegetable crops.Director is Dr. George J. Hochmuth.
Potato Investigations Laboratory. This facility was established at Hastings in 1923 when a plant pathologist was hired to conduct research on potato diseases. Work there has since been expanded to cabbage and other vegetables of the area. A.H. Eddins was plant pathologist in charge in 1963.
Today: Hastings- REC. Dr. D.P. Weingartner is Acting Center Director. Dr. C. M. Hutchinson is other staff member.
Gulf Coast Station. This Station was begun in 1925 in Palmetto as the Tomato Disease Laboratory, by Mr. Dave Kelbert. In 1938, the location was shifted by the State Legislature to a 106-acre site on the out-skirts of Bradenton. The name was changed to Vegetable Crops Laboratory. In 1939, Dr. J.R. Beckenbaugh became Forty more acres were acquired in 1945, primarily for cut-flower research. In the late 1950's, a new 200-acre tract some eight miles south-east was acquired . Soils Chemist Dr. Ernest L. Spencer became Director in 1950.
Today: Gulf Coast REC- Bradenton. Director is Dr. J. E. Rechcigl. Has 22 faculty working on ornamentals, vegetables, and strawberries.
Strawberry Investigations Laboratory. In 1925, strawberry growers in the Plant City area of south-central Florida were responsible for Legislative action establishing this Laboratory for the study of strawberry diseases. Two acres of land were purchased first, then expanded to eight acres. A.N. Brooks (1948) was an early investigator. In 1959, the Florida legislature expanded the labs scope to vegetable crops of the area, and provided 20 more acres.. Soils Chemist Ernest L. Spencer was in charge in 1963 when the Laboratory was assigned to the Center at Bradenton.
Today: Gulf Coast REC- Dover. Director is Dr. J. E. Rechcigl. (Dr. T. E. Crocker, Acting Program Director). Has three faculty members working on strawberries.
Pecan Investigations Laboratory. This facility was established in 1927 jointly by local pecan growers and the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station. In 1961, the legislature funded the purchase of 82 acres near Monticello off U.S. 90. Entomologist Arthur Phillips was in charge in 1963.
Today: North Florida REC- Monticello. Dr. G.J. Hochmuth, Director. Has four faculty.
Watermelon and Grape Laboratory. This facility near Leesburg was established by the State Legislature of 1929 to investigate pests of watermelons, ferns, and ornamentals. Grape research was added in 1931. In 1958 the facility was moved to a 160-acre farm six miles south of Leesburg. J.M. Crall was plant pathologist in charge (later, Dr. Gary Elmstrom).
Today: Leesburg, as part of Mid-Florida REC, has been did-continued.
Sub-Tropical Station. A legislative act of 1929 established this station on forty acres near Homestead. Donated by Schaff and Krome. H.S. Wolfe was placed in charge in 1930. Twenty adjacent acres were purchased in 1932. In 1940, 60 more acres were added, bringing the total to 120 acres for vegetable and other crop research. In 1938, Dr. Wolfe went to Gainesville to teach in the Horticulture Department, and Willard. M. Fifield was in charge until January, 1941, when he was transferred to the office of the Experiment Station in Gainesville. At that time, G.D. Ruhle, a plant pathologist, became head. The staff included a fruit horticulturist and a truck crop horticulturist until 1945, when a plant pathologist and an entomologist were added. Research focused on vegetables, sub-tropical fruits, and ornamentals.
Today: Tropical REC-Homestead. Dr. V. H. Waddill is Center Director. Has 13 faculty working on fruits and vegetables.
Central Florida Station. The Celery Investigations Laboratory was established at Sanford by the Florida Legislature of 1933 primarily for finding a control for cracked stem of celery. In 1937, Dr. R.W. Ruprecht was transferred from the Main Station to become director of the Laboratory. He served there until retiring in 1959. In 1945 the name was changed to the Central Florida Experiment Station and 25 tilled acres were obtained. Beginning in 1955, research on muck was conducted on ten acres near Zellwood. Research at both sites has been primarily devoted to vegetables. J.W. Wilson, was entomologist in charge, 1963.
Today: Mid-Florida REC- Apopka. Director is Dr, D. G. Shilling. Has 17 faculty working on grapes, ornamentals, and vegetables. Sites at Sanford and Leesburg have been discontinued.
Plantation Field Laboratory was established as a subsidiary near Boynton in 1948 then moved to Broward County in 1953 on 90 acres of sandy soil. Then in 1967 it moved to the current site on College Ave. in Fort Lauderdale. Today: Ft. Lauderdale REC. Director is Dr. V. H. Waddill. Nineteen faculty work mainly on turf and ornamentals.
Indian River Field Laboratory received its name in 1947. From 1946 to 1950 , the 80-acre tract near Ft. Pierce was used for vegetable, citrus, and pasture research. In 1963, there were 600 acres for use, including 60 acres for vegetables and 70 acres of citrus grove. Norman.C. Hayslip, Entomologist was made the first Director in 1975. When he retired in 1979, Dr. David Calvert became Director, followed by Dr. Calvin Arnold in 1995. Today: Indian River REC- Ft. Pierce. Acting Director is Dr. R.N. Sonoda. Seventeen faculty work on agronomic, fruit, and vegetable crops.
Suwannee Valley Station. This facility was activated in 1950 on 300 acres near Live Oak, directed by George E. Ritchey. The main focus was on agronomic crops like corn, peanuts, grains, tobacco, and pasture. H.W. Lundy was Agronomist in charge in 1963. Today: North Florida REC- Suwannee Valley Live Oak. Director is Dr. G. J. Hochmuth. Three faculty works on vegetable crops.
South Florida Field Laboratory. This facility was created in 1955 by the State Legislature for conducting research on vegetables grown around Collier, Hendry, and Lee counties. It is located on 320 acres near Immokalee. Paul H. Everett was the long-time director of the Laboratory. Today: Southwest Florida REC- Immokalee. Director is Dr. E.M. Hanlon. Nine faculty research citrus, vegetables, and sugar cane.
Main Station- Department of Horticulture
In the early years since 1888, horticultural programs were conducted within the framework of the Florida Agriculture College and the Agricultural Experiment Station. Research and assistance to growers was done on an individual basis rather than departmentalized. Even DePass, while serving as Director, had written bulletins on growing crops. With the move to Gainesville came sweeping changes and expansion of research into problems facing Floridas growers of crops including fruits and vegetables. Now experimental plots were available for the first time.
By 1908, the Stations research had been divided by Dr Rolfs into seven sections: Animals, agronomy, chemistry, entomology, horticulture, plant pathology, and plant physiology. In 1919, leaders of projects began to be referred to as "heads of departments." Thus, horticulture became one of these so-called "departments."
In 1927, the second Station building was constructed. It was known as the Horticulture Building and later was named Rolfs Hall. This became the agriculture administration building where one could find the offices of the Provost, the Dean for Extension, and the Director of the Experiment Station. In 1927, the Main Station staff was; Dr. A. F. Camp, Harold Mowry, M.R. Ensign, and G.H. Blackmon.
Within this "unofficial department" we shall now call the Department of Horticulture, there were those who specialized in research and those who specialized in teaching, as well as with kinds of crops like fruits, ornamentals, and vegetables. There were really three divisions of this so-called Horticulture Department, with the following "Heads" in place. (Note. The term "Head" was changed in 1966 to "Chairman).
Dr. Harold Mowry was a citrus canker inspector from 1916 to 1922 when he became a horticulturist with the Agricultural Experiment Station. He was horticulture research leader" from 1922 until the outbreak of the Med-fly in 1929, at which time he returned to the Plant Board to fight the fly. In 1930 he returned to the Department of Horticulture until being promoted to Assistant Research Director in 1933 and Director of the Station in 1943, a position he held until retiring in 1950. Mowry died in 1958.
Dr. Arthur Forrest Camp came to Florida from California in 1923 as Horticulturist with the Agricultural Experiment Station. In 1927 he moved to Gainesville and in 1929 became Horticulturist in Charge, Department of Horticulture. In 1930 he was a USDA agent helping eradicate the Med-Fly. He was Head of the Department until 1936 when he became Horticulturist in Charge of the Citrus Experiment Station. In 1944, he also served as Vice-Director of the Agriculture Experiment Stations
Mr. Gulie Hargrove Blackmon came to Florida from Texas in 1923 as Pecan Culturist with the Agricultural Experiment Stations. He also worked on roses, tung, peaches, and other deciduous fruits. Professor Blackmon became Head of the Horticulture Departments Research in the Agricultural Experiment Stations in 1937 and served there until his retirement in 1954.
Dr. Herbert S. Wolfe came from the University of West Virginia to the Sub-Tropical Station as Horticulturist-In-Charge (1930-1938). In 1938, he came to Gainesville where he was Professor and Head of the Department of Horticultures Teaching functions until he stepped down in 1956 to become Professor in the Fruit Crops Department, retiring in 1964.
The Extension programs of the Horticulture Department were administered by the Extension Directors office in Rolfs Hall. Mr. H.G. Clayton retired as Director in 1956.However, the Extension leader within the Department can be clearly identified as Dr. F.S. Jamison. In 1948, Mr. Clayton gave Dr. Jamison a one-half appointment in Extension.
Other Early Faculty- Department of Horticulture
Dr. Harold Mowry (1916-1950) (AES Blueberry Bulletin 1928) Retired Director AES (1950)
The BIG SPLIT
On January 1, 1954, Mr. Blackmon was granted leave of absence for one year (after which he retired), and Dr. R.A. Dennison was appointed Acting Head by Provost Fifield.
In June, 1954, the Provost combined all the various fragments of the Horticulture group into one Department of Horticulture. Dr. Walter Reuther, a USDA citrus researcher from Orlando, was brought in to head this newly organized Department. But eight months later he left for California where he later became Chair (1962) of the Department of Horticultural Sciences, UC, Riverside.
Shortly thereafter, 1956, the Horticulture Department was divided into the following four departments: Food Technology and Nutrition (Dr. R.A. Dennison, Head); Fruit Crops (Dr. J.W. Sites, Head); Ornamental Horticulture (Dr. .E.W. McElwee, Head); and Vegetable Crops (Dr. F.S. Jamison. Head).
The Department of Vegetable Crops (1956-1991)
The Department was formally established on July 1, 1956 by Provost Willard M Fifield and President J. Wayne Reitz. The Department Chairman and most of the other faculty were housed in Newell Hall. That same year the brand new building, named McCarty Hall after Floridas governor who died in 1953, was first occupied as headquarters for agriculture teaching and administration. Dr. V. F. Nettles, Vegetable Crops Departments teaching representative had an office there. Also, the VC graduate students office was there (on the bottom floor near the front entrance). In 1979, the department moved into the New HSPP building (later named Fifield Hall) on Hull Road.
Land for research- In 1955 the Horticultural Unit (farm) was purchased 10 miles NW of Gainesville. Prior to that, the Department of Horticultures research and teaching plots had been located on the main campus near the old mule barns. Eventually, the Teaching Gardens became established on North-South Drive just east of Lake Alice, then across Hull Road from Fifield.
Dr. F.S. Jamison, who was Extension project leader and leader of research in
vegetables, became the first Head of the Vegetable Crops Department in 1956. "Dr.
Jamie" joined the Horticulture Department in August of 1934, soon after
completing his PhD under Dr. H.C. Thompson at Cornell University. His thesis study
was on the "Effects of Handling Methods on the Quality of Market Peas." He
remained head until his retirement in 1968.
Initial Vegetable Crops Faculty, 1956
Dr. F.S. Jamison- (8/9/34) Horticulturist - (Head,1956-1968) Ret.(10/1/68); P.E.;
Post-1956 Vegetable Crops Faculty
Dr. James Montelaro- (7/1/58) Extension (Commercial vegetable production); Minute Maid
(1956) Ret.(4/30/81); P.E.; (D)
The Department of Fruit Crops (1956-1991)
The Fruit Crops Department was first housed in a brand new building called McCarty Hall. Research and teaching groves were located around the present-day Music Buildings and Reitz Union on main campus. These groves were planted in 1924, and when the University developed over them in 1948, they were replaced by the Archer Road Unit groves. This unit also included a packinghouse built in 1958. This area was eventually lost to parking garages.
Starting in 1955, research orchards were also maintained at the Horticultural Unit ten miles NW of town Later, in 1979, the Fruit Crops Department established research orchards along Hull Road when it moved from McCarty Hall to Fifield Hall.
Fruit Crops Department Heads and Chairs.
Dr. John Sites served as Fruit Crops Departments first Head (1956-59). Dr. Sites came to the Department from his position of Assistant Director of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station. He served until 1959 when he was promoted to Associate Director of Research.
Dr. Alfred H. Krezdorn became the departments second Head in 1960. Dr. Krezdorn received his M.S. degree from the University of Florida in 1949, and a PhD from Texas A&M in 1956. He returned to Florida in 1957 as Associate Horticulturist at the Citrus Experiment Station, Lake Alfred. Dr. Krezdorn stepped down in 1975 to a research and teaching position in the department.
Dr Hilton Biggs- Chairman (1975-77)
Fruit Crops Department Faculty (1956-91)
Dr. H.S. Wolfe (1938); R/T (Fruit culture); (!956-64); Ret. (!964) Prof. Emeritus; (D)
Horticultural Sciences Department
On November 11, 1991, Vice President for Agricultural Affairs Dr. Zacharia met with the combined faculty of the Vegetable Crops Department and the Fruit Crops Department to announce that he joining the two departments into a single department . Its official name became the Department of Horticultural Sciences. He also announced that Vegetable Crops Chairman, Dr. Daniel J. Cantliffe would be named the Chairman of the HOS Deptartment.
From the above roster of faculty it may be seen that seventeen Vegetable Crops faculty and twelve from Fruit Crops composed the initial On-Campus Horticultural Sciences faculty. In 1981, Dr. Norman F. Childers came into HOS as a Fruit Crops Courtesy Professor- Retired, helping with the Teaching program. At present, all thirty-nine are still in the HOS Department. However, several retirements are imminent, beginning with Professor James M. Stephens (1/10/01).
Since 1991, seven new faculty members have been added to the HOS roster:
Dr. A.D. Hanson- (1994); R/T (Eminent Scholar- Metabolic engineering).HOS 1994-2001
All of these 32 faculty members are housed at Fifield Hall or surrounding buildings.
Other Historical Events during the past 10 years -
1. Pine Acres Research Farm. This 1,000+-acre tract located on SR 318 near Citra in Marion County is being retrofitted for use by the HOS Department as the research farm of the future.
2. Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology (PMCB). This is a university-wide Graduate Program directed by Dr. Curtis L. Hannah of the Horticultural Sciences Department.
3. A Significant Transition. Over the course of its 100-year history, the Department of Horticulture has first witnessed a division into four separate Departments, then the consolidation of two (Fruits and Vegetables) into the Horticultural Sciences Department. However, perhaps the most significant change was the transition from a funding system that was primarily state supported, to one that was state-funded-grant-supplemented, to the current grant-supported-state-supplemented system.
(Stephens, Vegetarian 01-09)