Last year, the Citrus Expo event broke new ground by adding a day-long program devoted to vegetables and specialty crops, curated by experts with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
This year, when the program returns to Citrus Expo Aug. 14-15 at the Lee County Civic Center in North Fort Myers, organizers will use the occasion to debut the “2019-2020 Vegetable Production Handbook of Florida,” which was produced by a team of UF/IFAS Extension faculty.
The 400-page softback book will be available free of charge and supplies should be plentiful, said Hugh Smith, a UF/IFAS entomologist who led the handbook’s editorial team this year. The handbook will also be distributed by UF/IFAS Extension county offices while supplies last, and an online version will be posted Aug. 14 to the UF/IFAS Electronic Data Information Source at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.
“This is a great time for us to get updated information to stakeholders,” said Smith, an associate professor stationed at the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm. “In August, Florida strawberry and vegetable growers are preparing to plant fall crops.”
The handbook is designed for use in commercial operations and is updated annually by a multidisciplinary team of UF/IFAS Extension specialists and agents, with expertise in topics such as entomology, nematology, weed science, horticulture, soil and water science, and plant pathology, he said.
“The handbook contains introductory chapters that outline fundamental principles of managing fertilizer, irrigation and pests in Florida vegetables and strawberries, with an emphasis on best management practices,” Smith said. “Then, there are 14 chapters that provide information on cultivars, fertilization, irrigation and pest management for key crops and crop groups. Each of these chapters contains tables summarizing the fungicides, herbicides, insecticides and nematicides registered for use in each crop group.”
The handbook concludes with a chapter on biopesticides and alternative products for management of diseases, arthropods and nematodes, including products registered for use on certified organic farms, he said.
This year’s handbook was published by AgNet Media, the same enterprise that promotes Citrus Expo. For information about Citrus Expo and Vegetable and Specialty Crop Expo, visit http://citrusexpo.net.