2014 Stone Fruit Field Day Posted!

Exciting news – the sponsors are set, the agenda and speakers have been finalized!  This year’s annual UF Stone Fruit Field Day will be held at the Frank Stronach Conference Center, at the Plant Science Research and Education Unit in Citra, FL on April 22nd, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. – 3:30 pm.

We have a great agenda planned with presentations on postharvest management of peaches, the impact of our current climate on the southeastern U.S., new AgroClimate apps, chill accumulation and options for management in peaches, crop insurance progress and options, and the quest to find out why our rootstock, ‘Flordaguard’ is resistant to nematodes.

Lunch will be free again this year, thanks to our very generous sponsors, which include: Philip Rucks Citrus Nursery, ColdPICK Technologies, Maxijet, Inc., Island Grove Ag Products, Growers Fertilizer Corporation, KeyPlex, Valent Biosciences, Syngenta, and Carden and Associates, Inc.

Please register by April 15th, so that we have an accurate headcount for lunch.  There is a place on the registration form to input any dietary restrictions so that we can get the appropriate lunch for you and you won’t go hungry!


The link for registration is: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/2014-uf-stone-fruit-annual-field-day-tickets-10742449957.

As always, if you have any questions, please let me know!


2013 Winter Pruning Field Day

There will be a winter pruning field day with opportunities to talk with UF Stone Fruit Extension Personnel and get hands-on experience in the field!  It will be held at the Indian River Research and Extension Center in Fort Pierce, FL.  We will start at 9:00 am, and finish by 11:00 am – my daughter has a solo in her holiday concert that night!

There is no RSVP – so I hope to see you there!

Directions to IRREC

See below for the agenda:

9:00 a.m.   – 9:05 a.m. Introduction   and Welcome Dr. Mercy Olmstead
University of Florida/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL
9:05 a.m.   – 9:30 a.m.  Pruning Peaches for Optimum Cropload and Fruit Quality
Dr. Mercy Olmstead
University of Florida/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL
Dr. Olmstead will talk about how the warm winter weather may affect pruning   decisions and the basic pruning principles for optimum cropload and fruit   quality.
9:30 a.m.   – 10:00 a.m. Peach Roundtable and Discussion
Dr. Jose Chaparro and Mercy Olmstead
University of Florida/IFAS Extension and Horticultural Sciences Department, Gainesville, FL
This is an opportunity to chat about some of the challenges that have been puzzling you as a grower and to get some answers, as well as a feedback   mechanism for the researchers to direct efforts to solve problems.
10:00   a.m. – 10:30 a.m. 2013   Harvest in Review and Tools for Success
Dr. Mercy Olmstead
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Dr. Olmstead will chat about the challenges of the 2013 season, and some new tools to help with the business aspect of running a peach orchard.
10:30 am   – 11:00 am Field Visit to IRREC Orchard to get Hands-on Pruning Experience



Stompin’ Around the Orchards

‘Flordaprince’ Peach

August 10, 2011

Thus far 2011 has been a great year!  We had a pretty warm spring that was relatively dry and most growers harvested a fantastic crop of peaches.  Some growers were harvesting as early as late March, a few weeks earlier than the typical start date in early April.

Our program staff has expanded with the addition of a Ph.D. graduate student, who is working on determining optimal rates of nitrogen for subtropical peach production and a new biological scientist who has been a HUGE help in the orchard this season.  Unluckily for him, he started at the beginning of harvest, and was thrown into the lion’s den of research.

We are working on several research projects in the program:

  • Impact of Nitrogen Rate on Peach Tree Growth and Fruit Quality
  • Rootstock evaluation for resistance to M. floridensis and genetics of resistance
  • Economics of orchard establishment and production
  • Impact of IBA concentration on rooting softwood, semi-hardwood, and hardwood cuttings
  • Impact of gibberellic acid on tree growth and fruit quality

The other part of my program is Extension and outreach – and we have had several field days that started with our annual Citra Field Day on April 27, 2011, then the May 2011 Conserv II Field Day, and a Variety Showcase in Hastings, FL.  I am also involved in a couple of national grants that do research and extension on a national level – RosBREED, and Tree Fruit Genomic Database Resources (tfGDR).  These projects serve to further the Rosaceae industry (the parent family for peaches, plums, nectarines, and other crops) and I am trying to integrate outreach and breeding to trumpet the successes of these programs and involve stakeholders that help us to get funding on a national level.  If you have questions about these projects or the tools provided by these projects, please let me know!

Growers at the Stone Fruit Field Day, Citra, FL
April 27, 2011
Peach Pruning Demonstration, Conserv II, Winter Garden, FL
May, 2011
Peach Variety Showcase, Hastings, FL
Peach Variety Showcase, Hastings, FL
May, 2011

If you would like to be notified of these events, please send me an e-mail at mercy1@ufl.edu to get on my peach mailing list.

Finally, we installed a research and demonstration orchard down at the Indian River REC in Fort Pierce, FL last week – and it was stinking hot!  We tried to start at 7 am, and it still wasn’t early enough! We will be using this orchard for field days in the future and rotate between our Citra orchard and the Fort Pierce facility.

Peach Bed Preparation
Prepared Bed with Two Rows
Peach Orchard Establishment
Peach Tree Ready for Planting
Orchard Establishment, Fort Pierce, FL
Established Orchard, IRREC, Fort Pierce, FL

I also continue to get around the state to see new orchards being established and teach groups of growers about production techniques – I can’t get around to everyone, but let me know if you need some help and we can usually solve the problem with e-mails and phone calls!

Have a great summer!