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 (Denise.Marshall@FreshFromFlorida.com) 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.

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Peach Easy Step Procedures 2016

For more information on the FDACS website regarding the peach protocol for 2016, please see: http://www.freshfromflorida.com/Divisions-Offices/Plant-Industry under “Hot Topics”.

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Peach Marketing Order Hearing

Fall Peach Roundtable

I hope that everyone has registered for the fall Peach Roundtable, to be held at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center.  It will be held on September 17th, 2015, from 8:45 am – 3:00 pm, and lunch will be provided. We will have a trade show with multiple vendors, which is a great opportunity to stay in touch and see new products and haggle prices! Gary England and the central Florida Peach Extension Team has put an extended day of talks and opportunities for feedback from our growers.

To register: http://bit.ly/FallPeach2015.

Peach Marketing Order Hearing

FlordaPrinceAnother marketing order hearing will be held at the Fall Peach Roundtable on September 17, 2015 at 3:00 pm at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center. If you can’t attend the workshop, but would like to provide input, please attend to make yourself heard. Chris Denmark will attend from FDACS in Tallahassee to answer any and all questions.

This will be one of two more opportunities to provide feedback on the final document that will go out to vote, most likely in January, 2016 to be implemented in April – May, 2016.

Inking on Peach Fruit

Hello all,

I’ve had a few e-mails and phone calls about inking on peach fruit harvested in the past two weeks. Clemson University has a good publication with pointers to avoid inking – although I have to say, we do not know what causes inking on fruit surfaces.

One cause may the rainfall that we have had – which may have washed chemicals onto the fruit that have high amounts of metals (including micronutrients!).  Also, precipitation/overirrigating near harvest can increase the water pressure (turgor) in cells, but this also makes them more vulnerable to abrasion damage during harvest/transportation and then anthocyanin accumulates causing what we know as “inking” in spots.

Here is a link to the article from Clemson: http://www.clemson.edu/extension/horticulture/fruit_vegetable/peach/diseases/inking.html

Research from California indicate that not only do some chemicals with high metal contents have higher incidences of inking, but so does abrasions on the skin surface.  These might be from harvesting, wind damage, or abrasions in harvesting.

A couple of culprits that might have been issues this year may be Imidan and Elite (tebuconazole), although with Elite, I am watching my own research orchard, as this was my last spray on Saturday. However, we are very far behind everyone else in the throes of harvest and are about 2-3 weeks away from harvest, so we may not see much inking on the skin surface.

Steps to Avoid Inking:

  • Near harvest, choose chemical applications carefully.
    • These chemicals have high metal contents –
      • Foliar nutrients: Micro Plex (Fe)
        Insecticides: Imidan (Al), Delegate (Al)
        Miticides: Vendex (Fe and Al), Acramite (Fe and Al), Omite (Al)
        Fungicides: Elite (AL)
        Additives: none
  • Don’t apply foliar micronutrients within approximately 21 days of harvest to avoid having metals on the fruit surface (e.g., copper, iron, aluminum) that have been implicated in inking.
  • Check the pH of your irrigation/spray water. Water with acidic characteristics (<6.5) can exacerbate inking due to increased iron availability.
  • Don’t overwater near harvest, as this can damage cells in the skin and cause anthocyanin accumulation, leading to inking symptoms.
  • With orchards that have a history of inking, leave harvested fruit in cooler for 48h prior to packing to observe inking symptoms; remove before packing.

As always, call or email me with questions!

Cheers,

Mercy

 

 

Florida Peach Marketing Order Hearings

Hi Everyone,

As you all know, I have been trying to get a Florida Peach Growers Association up and running. Phil Rucks has taken the reins to investigate the possibility of getting a Statewide Marketing Order for peaches that will help to provide resources for marketing and research.

There must be two public hearings before a vote can go to the growers in the state; and the first one will be on May 12th, 2015 at the next Peach Roundtable to be held in Dade City at 10:00 AM at the Pasco County Extension Office, 36702 State Road 52, Dade City, FL 33525.

The second public hearing will be on Wednesday May 20th, 2015 at 2:00 PM at the Polk County Extension office in the Stuart Center, 1702 Highway 17 S, Bartow, FL 33831.

I hope that you will be able to attend – and Phil would like the name of anyone that is willing to serve on the advisory committee for the marketing order. See Phil’s email for more information. I am also attaching the paperwork that is needed to re-establish the Florida Peach Growers’ Association.

In addition, two contacts at FDACS for marketing orders are:

Marshall Wiseheart – 850-410-2290

Milton Rains – 352-406-0707.

Hope to see you there!

Harvesting Good Peaches and Fungicide Management

I love this time of year, as hectic as it is.  For most people in south central/central Florida – things are winding down, while in north central Florida, we are in the midst of harvesting.

Most people this year had a great season, with great fruit quality and flavor.  However, we did have a wet spring (20 inches from January 1 – May 20th) in Citra and north central Florida, while in other years we get less than 10 inches in that same time span.  Cloudy and wet weather affects a number of plant processes such as:

  • Carbohydrate fixation and accumulationaka making sugar in enough quantities to have good brix content in the fruit.  I also saw overripe fruit because growers were waiting for the fruit size to get bigger, but because perhaps of the cloudy/rainy spring, cell division (stage 1) of fruit development wasn’t as good as it has been in years past.  It didn’t help the fruit quality in the store – and this was the result:

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  • Wet feet – in orchards that have poor drainage, you can have problems with leaf drop and/or fruit drop due to damage in the root systems due to suffocation of the roots (anoxia).
  • Increased disease pressure – We also saw a bit of anthracnose ripe rot and botyrosphaeria rot in the fruit after the rains and some of the warm weather we had in the late part of April/early part of May.  It’s important that if we do have successive rain events that you apply fungicides and rotate the chemistries to avoid resistance.  Common fungicides like Abound and Topsin-M are great, but are categorized as medium or high risks for resistance and should be used sparingly or in a diverse rotation of chemicals.

Fungicide management is easy to do – but if you don’t know what a FRAC code is (and no – Battlestar Galactica fans, I’m not swearing…) here is a website that will take you to the codes for each chemical.  http://www.frac.info/publication/anhang/2014%20FRAC%20Code%20List.pdf.  You’ll notice that this chart does not have the company (trade) names of the chemicals so you will have to READ the LABEL to find out what chemical your fungicide contains – and the FRAC code should be listed there as well.

Hints for Next Season

At our winter field day this year in Fort Pierce (typically held the 2nd week of December) we will be talking about thinning.  There was a lot of small fruit put into local supermarkets, and much of this can be alleviated especially in UFSun with more aggressive thinning.  Instead of 6″ between each fruit as is suggested with other Florida peach varieties, UFSun should be thinned to 9-12″ between each piece of fruit.  In addition, anything that can be done to encourage leaf area expansion will be key to getting good fruit size and flavor development.

The use of hydrogen cyanamide is looking promising for peach growers that are down south especially as it appears to help with leaf emergence – an important stage of growth to help fruit develop its maximum potential for fruit size and good flavors.  However, we need more research on timing, and I have some key growers set up around the state this year to look at a couple of different timings and see what the impact is on leaf growth and fruit size/harvest date.  If we can get more uniform leaf emergence and bloom, then we should be able to narrow our harvest window and minimize the number of pickings necessary to harvest the entire crop.  More research to come in 2014-2015!

As always, if you have any questions – please call or email me!

Mercy

 

U.S. Stone Fruit Being Exported to Australia

The first shipments of U.S. stone fruit including peaches and nectarines from Idaho, Oregon and Washington arrived in Australia this year.  An article in the Fruit Growers News tells the details: http://fruitgrowersnews.com/index.php/efgn/entry/australia-opens-borders-to-u.s.-stone-fruit-efgn-october-2013.

This is great news for our growers focused on early production and working with western U.S. fruit marketing entities.  With an estimate of $50 million over the next 5 years, this news is a great boon to growers here in the U.S. The article doesn’t specify if the peaches being sent are melting or non-melting flesh, but it would be great to do an export test to see which ones hold up better during transit and at the consumer end for quality.

In my opinion – “a rising tide lifts all boats”.

Selling Produce to Local Schools

Have you ever wanted to sell produce to your local school system so that kids can enjoy our bounty of Florida fruit and veggies during the winter and spring months?

school lunchThen this seminar, sponsored by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) is for you!  They are conducting a “webinar” (a seminar over the web) that will give growers all the information needed about the school food service for the state of Florida.  They will cover several goals, including a description of program, the goals of each school food service department within each district, how they obtain the produce, and what factors are important to them when they purchase produce.  Finally, each meal must be within a certain price range, considering school meals range between $3.00 – 4.00 for lunch per child.

With our statewide average of 10-15 acres per operation, there are several peach orchards that could divert and diversify their marketing strategy to include farm to school avenues.  If you have any questions about the webinar or about the program, contact the FDACS Division of Food, Nutrition and Wellness at 1-800-504-6609.

Program Director:
Christie Meresse
Program Director I – Procurement Compliance Division of Food, Nutrition and Wellness Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
(850) 617-7427
Christine.Meresse@FreshFromFlorida.com