Peach Marketing Project & Warm Winters

It’s definitely time for an update!

Although I left the University of Florida in August of last year, I wanted to bring a few items to your attention. My family and I are settling in nicely in California, and I am hopeful that UF will hire my replacement soon, at which time the new person will take over this blog or establish a new one!

Marketing in Florida

Before I left UF, I worked with the Public Issues and Education Center (the PIE Center: to get a grant on marketing Florida peaches. They will have their first report on their findings on March 23, 2017, from 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM. This will be a webinar, and more information can be found here:

I hope that you’ll be able to attend and find out more information about marketing Florida peaches!

Chill Hours

In Florida, there is a constant battle with the weather to be able to accumulate enough chill in peach trees. This season, as in the past, there has been very little chill. Below is the current situation for Polk County, where they are well into fruit development. Effective chill was definitely less than 20 hours before the trees began blooming.


NPR just did a nice story on chill accumulation problems in California (where I now live) and growers there have been battling the weather and accumulation of chill for many years:

One solution to these lower chill accumulations lies in breeding, and breeding for lower chill or no-chill peach varieties. Dr. Jose Chaparro, stone fruit breeder at UF is working on this with a seedling evaluation and advanced selection plot in Fort Pierce, FL at the Indian River Research and Education Center.

Georgia Peach Blog

Finally – in the absence of regular posts from me and Florida – my friend and colleague, Dr. Dario Chavez and the UGA peach team have a great blog that can be found here:

I hope that you’ll check it out!


-Dr. Mercy Olmstead


Spring Peach Roundtable

Happy Spring!

The next peach roundtable meeting hosted by the UF/IFAS Extension office in Polk County will be held at the Stuart Conference Center, 1710 US Hwy 17 S in Bartow, FL on March 22nd, 2016. The start time will be 11:00 AM and will feature Dr. Jose Chaparro to speak on peach rootstocks and nematodes.

Lunch will be generously sponsored by Doug Thompson of Chemical Containers, Inc. and thus please let Gail Crawford know that you are coming! Her address is:

Also, the latest newsletter from the central Florida peach extension team can be downloaded here: Peach Spring 2016.

Spring Peach Roundtable

Date: March 22, 2016
Time: 11:00 – 1:00 PM
Location: 1710 US Hwy 17 S, Bartow, FL
Topic: Peach rootstocks and nematodes
RSVP to:


2016 Annual Meeting

Frank Stronach Conference Center, UF Plant Science Research and Education Unit, Citra, FL

  • April 19, 2016P5020048
  • 9:00 am – 3:30 pm
  • 2556 West Highway 318, Citra, FL 32113

This year we have an exciting program, featuring Chalmers Carr, owner of Titan Farms, the largest peach orchard operation east of the Mississippi River. Additional topics include updates on critical bud temperatures in peach (are our varieties different?), potential nematode-resistant rootstocks for Florida, new insects of concern, and nematodes in Florida peach orchards.

We will also touch base on the failure of the marketing order, and what the next steps are towards a Florida Peach Growers Association/Organization.

CEU credits will be available for application to pesticide licenses (1-1.5 anticipated).

Lunch, coffee, and break items will be graciously provided by our sponsors – so please thank them if you see them at the field day!

Please register to receive a ticket for lunch – deadline for registration is April 12th, 2016.


Current Sponsors:

  • Maxijet
  • BudPro, Green Trees & Plants
  • Carden and Associates
  • Island Grove Agricultural Products


BudPro Logo



Winter Peach Newsletter

Well, this winter has arrived! With temperatures clear into the mid-20’s this morning, we had a nice boost in our chill unit accumulation in Gainesville.  Hopefully it wasn’t as cold in Central Florida that frost protection measures had to be applied.

The Central Florida Peach Extension Team will be having a peach roundtable next week on January 26th, 2016 at the Pasco County Cooperative Extension Service Office.

Address: 36702 State Road 52, Dade City, FL
Time: 11:00 AM  – 1:00 PM

Lunch will be sponsored by Tim Wood of Growers Fertilizer Corporation, so please contact Gail to let her know that you will be there ( by Monday, January 25 at noon.

The latest newsletter for Central Florida has been published and contains details about topics, speaker and discussion: Peach Winter 2016



Sending Peaches to Texas~Caribbean Fruit Fly Protocol

If Texas is a destination for your fruit this year, then FDACS has a program which will benefit you.

FDACS is calling the program “Participant Pathway to Peaches”, which will result in a certification of your peaches for shipping to Texas.  Although applications for NEW parcels was to be submitted by October 1, 2015, please contact Denise Marshall ( for information on submitting new parcels for monitoring and certification. Below are two documents that help to explain this program and the costs per acre.  The billing minimum is 40 acres.

Participant Pathway to Peaches 0115

Peach Easy Step Procedures 2016

For more information on the FDACS website regarding the peach protocol for 2016, please see: under “Hot Topics”.




Peach Marketing Order Voting in January!

Peach Marketing Order referendum notices have been posted on the Florida Administrative Record and will be posted December 19 & 20, 2015, in The (Lakeland)Ledger, Orlando Sentinel, Tampa Tribune and Gainesville Sun in order to canvass the majority of the Peach growing region in Florida that will be affected by the proposed marketing order.  Attached is a copy of the notice.

Public Notice Advertisement – Newspaper

I have also attached a copy of the proposed marketing order as it has been written to be included in the referendum ballot being distributed on January 5, 2016.

PMO FDACS Draft 12-14-15

The ballots will be mailed to all growers and handlers whose addresses are known to FDACS as accumulated through sign-in sheets compiled at hearings, lists supplied through industry and to County Extension Offices in the affected marketing area on January 5, 2016.  They will include a copy of the proposed Peach Marketing Order, a letter/ballot and two envelopes (one ballot envelope and one return envelope).  The last day of ballot collection will be January 22, 2016.  Any ballots received after 4:30 PM, January 22, 2016 will not be opened.  Ballots will be tallied no later than January 29, 2016 and the referendum certified no later than February 8, 2016. (The last two items may occur earlier depending upon the number of ballots received.  These two dates are the latest dates on which these specific activities may occur.)

A post office box has been set up to receive ballots:

PO BOX 11297

Thank you,


Chris Denmark
Development Representative
Division of Marketing and Development
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
(850) 617-7341
(850) 617-7301 Fax

The Mayo Building
407 South Calhoun Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0800

Calibrating Spray Equipment

DSC_0128This late fall weather has been absolutely crazy!

Many growers have peach trees in the orchard that have sporadic bloom on them, yet haven’t put out their oil sprays for scale, or other dormant sprays such as copper (if you had problems with bacterial spot last year and have a variety such as TropicBeauty or Flordaprince that are not as resistant).

If you have bud swell over 50% of the tree, be sure to reduce the percentage of oil that is applied, otherwise there is a fair chance for bud damage.

When you make the decision to start spraying, be sure that your equipment is in working order and is calibrated.  Calibration is important to avoid putting out more or less than the recommended amount.  If too much material is applied, the rate applied may be illegal (off-label), while if it is too little, disease or insect resistance may occur.

Here are some EDIS documents from UF on calibrating various pieces of spray equipment:

Calibrating Backpack Sprayers:

Broadcast Boom Sprayers:

Calibrating Airblast Sprayers:

Spray Gun Calibration:

Conversion Factors (handy to have around on a piece of paper!):

Pesticide Calibration Formulas and Information:

Pesticide Safety Miniposter (to hang up near pesticide storage):

Comment Period on Peach Marketing Order

November 25th is the deadline!

If you would like to make comments on the peach marketing order language before it gets sent to the Commissioner’s office, please contact Chris Denmark ( with your comments.

In the spirit of transparency, here are the transcripts from the previous meetings:

The final marketing order language after the suggested changes can be found here: Peach Marketing Order – Draft 5.

Overall Timeline (Remaining):

November 24-December 14, 2015 – Subject to approval by the Director of Marketing & Development, FDACS will create a Marketing Order and referendum based on final draft submission and findings at hearings and submitted written remarks.
 Graphics will need time to set up and send to local printer. Assuming 500 ballots and copies of Marketing Order language will be sufficient to send to growers and to have available at County Extension Offices.

December 15, 2015 – Public Notice of Referendum (minimum 15 days before referendum ballots mailed)

January 5, 2016 – Ballots and Referendum to be sent out (Including County Extension Offices)

January 22, 2016 – Last day for ballot collection at Post Office and at County Extension Offices (17 days)

January 25, 2016 – County Extension office ballots to be sent to Tallahassee

January 29, 2016 – Ballots will be counted by FDACS staff

February 1, 2016 – (Within 10 days of closing date for ballot submission) FDACS will certify the results in writing and publish results of referendum on the front page of FDACS website, sending notice via e-mail to all publications of general circulation and all news departments within the state. Public Notice of Marketing Order posted on bulletin board at Mayo Building and on FDACS website (minimum 5 days posting)

February 8, 2016 – Marketing Order goes into effect (minimum 5 days after posting)

February 15, 2016 – Advisory Council (7) and alternates (7) will be appointed by Commissioner

  • Four members appointed to serve four year terms
  • Three members appointed to serve two year terms

February 18, 2016 – Advisory Council will meet to elect chair and vice chair (one year terms each)

Frost Protection Survey – Responses Needed!

Researchers at the University of Florida are conducting a short survey on frost protection for peaches. The online survey is anonymous and should take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete. Your answers to survey questions will help guide scientific and economic research on frost protection to be relevant to your operations.

The researchers ask that only one person per farm complete the survey. The survey should be completed by the individual most directly involved in overall farm management and frost protection decision making (if any).

The survey has been reviewed by the University of Florida’s Institutional Review Board to protect the rights and welfare of survey respondents. If you need further information about this research, please contact Dr. Mercy Olmstead at or Elizabeth Conlan at

The survey can be accessed at :

Thank you for your assistance.


Elizabeth Conlan
M.S. graduate student
UF/IFAS Horticultural Sciences Department


Mercy Olmstead, Ph.D.
Stone Fruit Extension Specialist
UF/IFAS Horticultural Sciences Department

Final Peach Marketing Order

The Florida Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services will be having their FINAL public hearing on the peach marketing order next month.

It will be held at the Polk County Extension office, located at:

W.H. Stuart Conference Center
1702 South Holland Parkway
Bartow, FL 33830

The agenda for this meeting includes:

  • Overview of a Marketing Order – Chris Denmark
  • Reading of Proposed Peach Marketing Order – Phil Rucks
  • Discussion of proposed marketing order
  • Adjourn
If you would like to see the current state of the marketing order language and definitions, please download them here: PMO Draft 2.0 08202015.