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CASE STUDY 7 Florida Fresh-Market Vegetable Production: Integrated Pest Management F OUR FARMS IN SOUTH FLORIDA that produce fresh-market vegetables are the subject of this case study. The common element linking these farms is that they are all served by the same integrated pest management (IPM) pest scouting service, Glades Crop Care, Inc. (Table 1~. GENERAL DATA Hun4Zey Farms of Loxahatchee: The farmer, John Hundiey, grows 1,500 acres of sweet corn, 120 acres of cabbage, 3,000 acres of radishes, 1,600 acres of seed corn, and 1,300 acres of leafy vegetables. He also has a 120-acre orange grove and 1,500 acres of sugarcane; he runs cattle on 500 acres of pasture. Ted Winsberg of Palm Beach: This farm consists of 350 acres of irrigated sandy soil. Winsberg has raised fresh-market peppers on all of this land continuously for over 10 years. John GarguiZIo of Naples: The Garguillo Farm is located south of Ft. Myers, on the west side of the state. John Garguillo raises 1,300 acres of staked tomatoes for the fresh market. Fred Barked of Immokalee: Fred Barfield raises 1,000 acres of vegetables, primarily bell peppers (green, red, purple, and yellow), tomatoes, and cucumbers. He has also grown eggplant and yellow squash. The farm in- cludes a 550-acre orange grove, a 1,000-cow purebred Beefmaster herd, and a 1,200-cow m~xed-breed, commercial herd. Glades Crop Care, Inc.: AD four of these farms employ Glades Crop Care, Inc. (GCC), the largest IPM farm pest scouting service in south Florida. The GCC staff consists of about 20 field scouts as well as a backup staff. The scouts have at least a B.S. degree in an agricultural discipline and are supported by a technical staff (with M.S. or Ph.D. degrees) under the 336

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FLORIDA VEGETABLE PRODUCTION TABLE 1 Summary of Enterprise Data for Four Farms in Florida 337 Category Description Farm sizes 350-9,640 acres Labor and All four farms hire the services of an IPM scouting firm during all management phases of crop growth. The firm provides frequent and extensive practices scouting. One grower (Winsberg) retains his labor force even if crop prices decline to the labor cost of harvesting. Marketing strategies Fresh produce is marketed through a regular packing plant owned by the farm firm (Garguillo), a cooperative (Hundley), or a vegetable exchange (Winsberg). Weed control practices Plastic mulch over seed beds smothers and shades the weeds, preventing emergence. Herbicides are used where plastic mulch is inappropriate. Insect and nematode An IPM scouting service is used by all four farms, which greatly control practices reduces pesticide usage. The long, hot growing season, however, necessitates chemical control: endosulfan and fenvalerate in peppers; and methomyl, fenvalerate, and endosulfan in tomatoes. Methyl bromide is used as a fumigant for nematodes. Pesticide usage has been substantially cut in all cases. Disease control The farmers use soil fumigation and rely on several applications of practices fungicides and bactericides to control plant diseases. Soil fertility Commercial fertilizers are used to supply N. P. K, Ca, and trace management elements. Irrigation practices Fields are subirrigated with seepage from parallel ditches 80 feet apart. Crop and livestock No yield impacts were reported. yields Financial performance All four farms appear to be financially sound. The farmers report per-acre cost savings of as much as $400 from the use of IPM pest scouting and ensuing reductions in the frequency of pesticide applications. direction of H. Charles MeDinger. The committee's interviewer was accom- panied on the farm visits by Madeline Biemueller Mellinger, president of GCC. The fundamental concept of IPM is that only when a pest reaches an economic damage level that is, when the expected decline in the value of revenue from sale of the crop exceeds the cost of spraying will treatment (usually a pesticide) be employed. For an IPM program to be effective, the pest scout must be completely familiar with the cultural practices being used on the farm: field preparation, bed fumigation and formation, fertil- izer application, transplanting or seeding, and irrigation. Scouting begins at the transplant greenhouse for some crops to ensure that diseases and insect problems are not spread to the fields. The IPM monitoring program continues in the production fields through the harvest; during this stage, scouts monitor pest populations and evaluate any dis- eases that are present and their severity. GCC has developed extensive field manuals that assist their scouts with pest and disease identification and monitoring techniques.

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338 ALTERNATIVE AGRICULTURE Threshold or action levels of acceptable pest populations may be estab- lished by the IPM scouting firm or by the growers themselves, but usually these levels are set through discussion and agreement between the grower and the firm. Once these threshold levels are reached, a treatment is rec- ommended by the scouting firm, subject to approval by the grower. One of the direct benefits of pest scouting is that it quantifies the stages of the insects, thus permitting the grower to apply pesticide to the early instar or egg stage or to the early disease lesions. Therefore, a much lower rate of pesticide can be used and a much higher level of control will result, often eliminating the need for follow-up applications. Climate South Florida has a subtropical climate (Table 2~. Precipitation in the Ft. Myers area, for example, averages 54 inches per year. The normal minimum temperature in January is 52F. Parts of south Florida occasionally have freezing temperatures. PHYSICAL AND CAPITAL RESOURCES South Florida is characterized by flat topography and a high water table that fluctuates between 18 and 24 inches below the surface. The two generic soil types are sandy and an organic soil, muck. Sandy Soils Sandy soils occur on both the east coast west of Palm Beach and on the southwestern half of the state around Naples and Immokalee. The topog- raphy is flat, and the elevation is only a few feet to 10 feet above sea level. Irrigation is provided by a seepage subirrigation system. The land is laser- leveled, and a system of ditches is used to maintain the water table at the desired depth of 15 to 18 inches below the surface. Typically, each field is rectangular, approximately 20 to 40 acres in size, and surrounded by a diked main irrigation ditch. This main ditch can be flooded with a low-lift pump to a level higher than the field. Subirrigation ditches are dug about every 80 feet parallel to the crop beds. Water flooded into these ditches seeps under the beds to wet the roots from below by raising the water table. Water reaches the plant from the perched water table by a capillary-type system. The water moves upward under the raised, plastic-covered beds, except when the fields are being drained. During excessive rainfall the water table can be lowered by reversing the system and pumping the water out of the fields. Maintaining the water table at the 15- to 18-inch level is critical for proper root development and efficient fertilizer and water usage. A higher water table will cause excessive fertilizer leaching and pumping costs and will waste water. If the water table is too low the soil near the vegetable bed

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340 ALTERNATIVE AGRICULTURE surface may become so dry under the plastic that the nutrients from the top-banded fertilizer are not dissolved and therefore cannot be absorbed by the vegetable plants. Typical practice in this area has been to grow sugarcane or other dense plantings along the drainage ditches to minimize wind damage to the crop and also to reduce wind erosion. One grower, Ted Winsberg, grows tropical plants along each irrigation ditch, a practice that gives the fields a beautiful appearance and generates additional income. Muck Soils The muck soils are located in the central part of south Florida on the east and south sides of Lake Okeechobee. Fields composed of such soils are typically flooded in the off-season to control diseases and minimize soil oxidation and subsidence, soil-borne insects, and some weed problems. The irrigation system for muck soils is basically the same as that for sandy soils: fields are divided into 20- to 40-acre rectangles, and the perimeter is sur- rounded by dikes and irrigation ditches. The fields are flooded in 20-day cycles during the growing season. Water is left on the ground for 10 days; the fields are then drained and dried for 10 days. This process is repeated two or three times, depending on the available time between crops, and it appears to reduce significantly the populations of soil-borne pathogens, weeds, and insects. The need for pesticides is also reduced or eliminated. The intensive cultivation of muck soils causes soil subsidence. Madeline Mellinger and John Hundley reported that up to 1 inch of muck soil is being lost each year, primarily through oxidation. Measurements at the Ever- glades Research and Education Center in Belle Glade indicate that, over a 40-year period, nearly 4 feet of muck soil has been lost. Until 10 to 15 years ago, the oxidation of these soils was of little concern to many farmers because the organic soil appeared very deep. In recent years, however, some muck soil areas have become too shallow to grow certain crops, and concern about conserving the remaining soil is great. Local extension personnel have observed that the only major crop that could be produced without a major loss of soil is paddy rice. MANAGEMENT FEATURES Pesticide Use Because consumers, with few exceptions, demand blemish-free fresh veg- etables with cosmetic appeal, commercial-scale vegetable growers produce fruit and vegetables free of insect or disease damage. Consequently, vege- table growers spend a great deal of time and money protecting their crops to ensure this cosmetic appeal. During an interview in 1986, the extension agent in Palm Beach County said that because of the climate in this part of the state, he doubted if it

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FLORIDA VEGETABLE PRODUCTION 341 would be feasible to produce vegetables on commercial-scare farms in this area, considering today's technology, without chemical pesticides. He also observed that sugarcane may be the only major crop grown on a large scale in this area that can be produced without the substantial use of chemical pesticides. According to H. C. MeDinger (correspondence, 1987), the cane fields have been infested with the imported fire ant that feeds on cane borers, the principal insect pest of sugarcane in this area. As a result, spraying for borers has been significantly reduced; some fields have not been sprayed in 10 or more years. Sugarcane is replanted each third to fifth year, and, for the benefit of the harvesting crews, the fields are burned each year before harvesting to suppress the fire ants and leaf debris. About half of the 400,000 acres of sugarcane are hand-harvested in Florida. Unlike sugarcane, however, vegetables require pesticide application. Still, the extension agent reports that the extensive use of IPM programs such as that offered by GCC has greatly reduced traditional pesticide usage. But he adds that because of the tropical growing conditions, even with IPM scout- ing, the levels of chemical usage in south Florida are still greater than those in most farming areas of the United States. Except in parts of interior Florida, most vegetable crops are grown using raised beds covered with plastic mulch sheeting. This type of mulching system, which has been used extensively in Florida for about 15 years, has helpect minimize wind erosion and the plant nutrient leaching caused by heavy rains. The use of chemicals, however, is an important part of this system. Most of the plant beds are fumigated each year with chioropicrin and methyl bromide just before the plastic is laid down. Soil fumigation and plastic mulch suppress nematodes, soil-borne diseases, and insects and obviate the use of herbicides. Because of the area's topography and porous soils, drinking water sup- plies may become contaminated by agricultural pesticides. These substances need only sink 15 to 18 inches to reach the water table. The possibility of public policies banning the use of widely used pesticides is a matter of some concern to Florida vegetable growers. The extension agent also indi- cated that vegetable growers are also worried about federal price supports. Some growers maintain that if the price support for U.S. sugar is dropped, the cane fields will be brought into vegetable production and flood the vegetable market, suppressing prices and causing substantially reduced farm income. This view is not held by all experts in the field, however, as noted by H. C. Mellinger (correspondence, 1987~. IPM Features The preliminary results of a 1986 survey of 40 tomato farms conducted by the University of Florida (K. Pohronezny, interview, 1986) indicate that farmers using IPM programs have been able to reduce their insecticide inputs by about 21 percent. Sixty-two percent of the growers hiring com-

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342 ALTERNATIVE AGRICULTURE mercial scout firms reported that their net returns increased (by an average of $121.00 per acre) as a result of their participation in the IPM scouting program. The other 38 percent of the growers reported no change in net returns: scouting costs equaled their savings from reduced sprays. Among growers who monitored their own fields or relied on minimal scouting by chemical company representatives, 54 percent reported a net savings aver- aging $62.00 per acre (K. Pohronezny, interview, 1987~. Scouting tends to reduce insecticide costs and levels of application but causes no reduction in the use of fumigants, fungicides, or bactericides. Madeline Mellinger, president, and H. Charles MeRinger, technical direc- tor, of Glades Crop Care, Inc., maintain that their crop scouting and con- sulting service has a significant impact on the amount of pesticides used in the south Florida farming community (excluding the Homestead area, which is outside of their territory). They estimate that their company serves ap- proximately one-third of the vegetable acreage in this area; another one- third of the acreage is operated by former GCC clients who now employ in- house IPM scouts. Thus, the MeRingers estimate that approximately two- thirds of the total vegetable acreage in south Florida is managed with an IPM program. In addition, there are at least three other IPM scouting companies in south Florida, ranging from a single owner-scout operation to one employing five scouts (K. Pohronezny, interview, 1986~. As part of the service provided by GCC, the customer's fields and plants are monitored twice weekly, and the grower is told what insect and mite populations are present, their instar or stage, their locations on the plants, their in-field distribution, and the size of the population. The scouts iden- tify the diseases present, quantify their severity, and pinpoint new activity or spread. An important aspect of GCC's disease control service is a system of field management in which GCC works closely with the grower to elimi- nate introductory sources and reservoirs of disease in and around the fields and to eliminate or reduce the spread of a disease in the fields once the plants have become infected. A grower who relies on the observations of a pest scout applies less insecticide than non-IPM growers for two reasons: (1) pesticides are applied only for those pests present in the field, and (2) lower rates of pesticide can be applied because the scout reports the eggs and early larval instars rather than waiting until populations of larger insects have reached critical levels. The scout also helps to identify and refine routine prophylactic and reme- dial insect and disease control practices used by the grower. According to H. C. Mellinger, some growers also use the Bacillus thurin- giensis products extensively for larval control; other more specifically tar- geted insecticides are also used to take advantage of the beneficial insects that may control more harmful species. K. Pohronezny has observed that this practice became quite popular in the late 1970s but has since been largely replaced by applications of a new class of insecticides, the synthetic pyrethroids. Regarding the direct costs of a pest control program with and without the

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FLORIDA VEGETABLE PRODUCTION 343 IPM scouting, H. C. MeDinger reported that, for a fresh-market tomato crop, an average routine pesticide program applied preventatively every 2 to 5 days (without scouting) will cost the grower between $450.00 and $700.00 per crop acre for control products alone. Using IPM, a grower's direct pest control costs range from $200.00 to $300.00 per crop acre for average insect stress years. Much of this cost reduction results from the proper timing of insecticide use, which often eliminates the need for repeat applications; reduced rates of use because insecticide is applied to the early instars and stages; and the application of products only when necessary, that is, for those insects present at economic threshold levels. Another major benefit of IPM is reduced stress on the environment. Finally, there are the other benefits of reduced pesticide use, including less exposure for workers, less demand for and wear of spray rigs, fewer empty pesticide containers to dispose of, and fewer supervisory hours. For the bell pepper crop the costs are similar to those for tomatoes; the crop growing season is longer, but the insecticide usage is slightly less intense than in growing tomatoes. The same principles apply: using biolog- ical control materials along with the other IPM tools. In fact, the pest spectrum of bed peppers makes then more-amenable than the tomato crop to a greater use of biological and more specifically targeted insecticides. Sweet corn is another widely planted vegetable crop with major insect and disease problems. The Mellingers estimate that scouting has had a substantial impact on both insecticide and fungicide usage in the sweet corn industry. Of the tens of thousands of sweet corn acres in south Florida, about 80 to 90 percent operate under an IPM program (Tables 3 and 4~. Most of the insect problems in sweet corn involve larvae feeding in the stalk or ear. Methomy! (in liquid or granular form) is most commonly used for larval control, and mancozeb or chlorothalonil is commonly used for blight diseases. According to H. C. Mellinger, IPM scouting can now reduce sweet corn pesticide applications by up to 50 percent for insects and 25, percent for diseases. [PM practices on other vegetable crops have produced similar results. Glades Crop Care finds its largest task to be one of educating growers about the life cycles of pests, disease dissemination principles, and modes of action of pesticides and their spectra. Once this educational process is completed, the grower's progress toward an effective IPM program is often swift and sure. The four farmers profiled in this case study are good exam- ples. John Hundley of Hundley Farms has been a GCC client for the past 14 years. He employs the company to scout all of the vegetable fields, which are mainly composed of peat soils. Based on GCC's findings, Hundley decides what pest population levels can be tolerated before spraying his crop. He relies primarily on flooding and cultivation for weed control; some herbicides are used, but few herbicides are registered for use on minor crops. Before hiring GCC, Hundley reported that he followed a prophylactic or regularly schedulecl pesticide spray program for each crop, spraying

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344 ALTERNATIVE AGRICULTURE every other day or so. If a pest build-up problem occurred, he increased the rate of pesticide application. For the past 12 years, however, GCC has monitored each field, and Hundiey now sprays only when necessary to prevent an economic level of damage (the value of the crop loss exceeds the remedial treatment cost). In his 1986 sugarcane crop, Hundley sprayed for sugarcane borers for the first time in 3 years. Normally, high populations of fire ants control the borers satisfactorily. He thinks that the reason he had to spray was because he had planted sweet corn next to the sugarcane fields, and drift from the spraying for sweet corn pests killed the fire ants in the cane. Ted Winsberg has been growing peppers continuously on the same 350 acres for 30 years. For the past 12 years, he has been using the raised-bed TABLE 3 Per Acre Pesticide Application for Fall Sweet Corn Under IPM in the Everglades Agricultural Area, 1980 Pesticide Methomyl Date (Insecticide) Toxaphenea Mancozeb (Insecticide) (Fungicide) Manganese (Fertilizer) Cost/Active Ingredient 9/30 1 pint 10/6 1 pint 10/11 1 pint 10/14 1 pint 10/17 1 pint 11/1 1 pint 11/2 1 pint 11/3 1 pint 11/5 1 pint 11/7 1 pint 11/9 1 pint 11/11 1 pint 11/14 1 pint 11/17 1 pint 11/19 1 pint Insecticide, fungicide, and manganese $48.75 $5.30 Application (15 applications at $2.00 each) Herbicide (2 pounds atrazine + 1 quart 11-E oil postemergence) Scouting Total aThe Environmental Protection Agency has cancelled toxaphene for all agricultural uses except as a livestock dip for parasites. SOURCE: K. Shuler, Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Palm Beach County, Florida, correspondence, 1986. 1 pint 1 pint 1 pint 1 pint 1 pint 1 pound 1 pound 1 pound 1 pound $ 6.40 1 pound 4.31 4.31 4.31 6.40 3.25 3.25 3.25 3.25 3.25 3.25 3.25 3.25 3.25 3.25 Costs $3.80 $0.38 $ 58.23 30.00 4.44 7.50 $100.17

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FLORIDA VEGETABLE PRODUCTION 345 TABLE 4 Typical Per Acre Pesticide Application for Fall Sweet Corn Not Using IPM in the Everglades Agricultural Area, 1980 Pesticide Methomyl Date (Insecticide) Toxaphenea (Insecticide) Mancozeb Manganese (Fungicide) (Fertilizer) Cost/Active Ingredient 9/30 10/2 I/` pound 10/5 I/` pound 10/7 I/` pound 10/11 I/. pound 10/14 I/. pound 10/17 ~/ pound 10/20 I/` pound 10/24 I/` pound 10/27 i/` pound 10/30 I/` pound 11/2 i/. pound 11/5 I/. pound 11/7 I/. pound 11/9 I/` pound 11/12 I/. pound 11/14 I/` pound 11/16 i/. pound 11/18 I/. pound 11/20 I/. pound 11/22 I/. pound 11/25 i/. pound 11/27 }/4 pound 1 quart 1 pint 1 pound 1 pound 1 pound 1 pound 1 pound 1 pound 1 pound 1 pound 1 pound 1 pound 1 pound 1 pound 1 pound 1 pound 1 pound 1 pound 2.13 6.26 5.20 5.34 5.34 5.20 5.34 5.34 5.34 5.20 3.25 3.25 5.20 3.25 3.25 5.20 3.25 3.25 3.25 3.25 3.25 3.25 3.25 Insecticide, fungicide, and manganese $71.50 $3.19 Application (23 applications at $2.00 each) Herbicide (1~/z pounds atrazine postemergence) Total Costs $21.45 $0.70 $ 96.84 46.00 2.48 $145.32 aThe Environmental Protection Agency has cancelled toxaphene for all agricultural uses except as a livestock dip for parasites. SOURCE: K.Shuler, Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Palm Beach County, Florida, correspondence, 1986. plastic mulch cultural practice. Winsberg has used GCC pest scouting for 10 years. Peppers are planted in August and September through a layer of plastic, the top surface of which has been colored white to reflect the heat. This material costs $300.00 per acre. Later plantings (after September) are planted on black plastic, which costs $200.00 per acre. Although the use of plastic with the bed system has doubled his yields, Winsberg said that his costs

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346 ALTERNATIVE AGRICULTURE have more than tripled. The ground is fumigated with methyl bromide at a cost of approximately $124.00 per acre, plus labor, equipment, and plastic. To make the plastic mulch system work, all fertilizer must be applied before the plastic is spread over the field. Over $300.00 worth of fertilizer is applied prior to planting, including 300 pounds of nitrogen per acre. One hundred pounds of nitrogen in the form of sulfur-coated urea is broadcast before the beds are made. (The shaping of the beds helps incorporate the fertilizer into the soil.) Then 200 pounds of nitrogen, in a 16-0-23 nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium formulation, are applied as a band fertilizer approximately 10 inches from the plants. The plastic helps eliminate the leaching of nutrients by rain. The soil is tested each year, but in practice, ah fields receive about the same application rate of fertilizer. Weeds and nematodes are controlled through the use of fumigation. The plastic mulch also controls most other weeds except in the area between the beds, which is typically sprayed once or twice with paraquat and glyphosate (K. Pohronezny, interview, 19861. Ted Winsberg believes strongly in using pest scouting to determine the minimum frequency and dosage of pesticide application. Yet, he also said that, because of past experience, he is afraid not to spray. He reported that 12 years ago he eliminated chemical sprays in his pepper crop for 2 years because of health concerns. In addition, based on extensive readings of biological pest control literature, he released many beneficial insects to control pests. But a severe outbreak of pepper weevils caused major finan- cial losses. Ted Winsberg is still very much interested in using less chemical pesticide on his crops, but because of the huge investment involved in each acre of peppers (up to $3,000 in operating costs before harvesting) (Table 5), he believes that he cannot afford to not spray. He hires GCC to Took for various pest problems, particularly insect pests and diseases, and an {PM scout is in the field looking for pests every second or third day. Although pesticide applications are made every second or third day, a much lower rate of insecticide is now applied as a result of recommendations from the scouting service. Winsberg also reported that IPM scouting is saving him up to $200.00 per acre in pesticides. For example, he now sprays methomyl for worms twice per week at 1 ounce per acre; before {PM scouting, he was spraying twice a week at 1 to 2 pounds per acre. During the growing season of peppers (160 days), insecticide and fungicide sprays will cost a total of $200.00 to $300.00 per acre and involve 40 to 80 applications. This does not include the cost of fumigating, which is generally more than $100.00 per acre not including labor, equipment, and plastic to seal in the fumigant. During the past 7 years, bacterial spot in peppers has become more and more of a problem. To control the disease, copper-containing fungicide in combination with maneb is sprayed on the plants every third day. Up to 60 pounds of bactericide is applied annually to control the spot. Winsberg expressed concern that excessive copper in the soil from the fungicide may become an increasing problem.

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FLORIDA VEGETABLE PRODUCTION TABLE 5 Representative Costs for Bell Pepper Production in Palm Beach County, 1984 (in dollars) Category 347 Average/Acre Operating costs Cultural labor Fertilizer Gas, oil, grease Interest (4-month operating cost) Machine hire Miscellaneous Pesticides Plastic Repair and maintenance Seed and transplants Sterilants and herbicides Total operating costs Fixed costs Depreciation Insurance and licenses Land rent Total fixed costs Harvesting and marketing costs Containers Hauling Picking and packing Selling fees Total harvesting and marketing costs Total costs Total receipts Net return 1,089.56 314.14 128.86 127.54 60.26 148.20 373.02 268.60 238.75 166.72 110.23 3,025.88 182.40 94.88 124.46 401.74 391.68 87.04 832.32 174.08 1,485.12 4,912.74 4,373.76 (-538.98) Yield (bushels) SOURCE: K. Shuler, Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Palm Beach County, Florida, correspondence, 1986. 544 John GarguilZio reported that he uses a three-tiered system of pest moni- toring for his 1,300 acres of fresh-market tomatoes: he has employed GCC for 6 years to provide a full-time professional crop monitoring service; he has trained in-house scouts, who examine the fields daily; and he also uses another private crop consultant. Based on the findings of these three sources, and using certain threshold levels, Garguillo decides which pesti- cides to apply and when to spray. The grower refused to discuss his spraying program and action threshold levels, calling them proprietary and confidential and indicating that he considers this to be an area in which he may have a competitive edge. He did say that by using {PM, he has been able to cut his pesticide costs almost in half over the past 5 years from over $500.00 per acre to $250.00 to $260.00 per acre. Garguillo did report that he directs his field managers to apply 350 pounds

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348 ALTERNATIVE AGRICULTURE of nitrogen per acre, which is broadcast and worked in with a rotary hoe prior to the shaping of the beds. The soil pH is adjusted to 5.5. He estimates that the salts in the fertilizer reduce the pH by one point. Potassium (K2O) is applied at 1.5 to 2.0 times the amount of nitrogen. From 50 to 100 pounds of phosphorus (P205) plus 1,000 pounds of calcium are applied per acre. Based on soil tests, boron, manganese, zinc, and sulfur may also be added. As much as 60 pounds of copper-containing bactericide per acre are applied each year to control bacterial spot. After the beds are shaped, the soil is fumigated with methyl bromide and plastic is spread over a smooth seed- bed. Fred BarfieZ~ relies exclusively on the pest scouting services of GCC and has used the company for 3 years. Barfield maintains that today's farmer cannot afford to be out looking for insects and other pests 4 to 5 days per week, which is what it takes to grow the quality and quantity of produce needed to stay in business. He therefore relies on GCC to fulfill his pest scouting requirements. He said that by spraying only when necessary, he has saved from $200.00 to $400.00 per acre in pesticide costs. Barfield fumigates his fields with 180 pounds of methyl bromide per acre prior to spreading the plastic mulch. Before 1970, however, Barfield followed a different course. He had large areas of virgin soil, and rather than fumigate soil that had become infested with pathogens and pests, he would bring new land into production, farm it for a few years, and then convert * to cattle pasture after soil pests became too much of a problem. Today, the costs of bringing new land into produc- tion are increased by legal requirements for engineers, water-use consult- ants, and environmental impact studies. Consequently, he now relies on soil fumigation. PERFORMANCE INDICATORS Ted Winsberg markets all of his peppers through a vegetable exchange. He reported that since he began using the plastic-covered bed system to pro- duce peppers 12 years ago, his yield has doubled to its current rate of 500 to 600 cartons per acre. (A carton is approximately 1.1 bushels.) He ob- served that almost every pepper grower is using the same cultural system. Winsberg begins planting peppers in early August and continues until October, and he markets his peppers from September until May. In south- ern Florida, according to Winsberg, producers can plant year-round, but the marketing of peppers by states further north eliminates the southern Florida producers' market during the months of June, July, and August. Buyers, and therefore trucks, will not come as far south as southern Florida if they can get the supply that they need further north, closer to northern population centers. The price received for peppers fluctuates widely depending on weekly supply and demand. Winsberg recalls prices as high as $38.00 per carton after a large freeze and as low as $2.00 per carton. Typically, the price varies

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FLORIDA VEGETABLE PRODUCTION 349 from $4.00 to $20.00 per carton. Winsberg reported that his break-even price is $5.00 per carton. To retain his labor force year-round, he will con- tinue to harvest even if the price falls to $2.00 per carton, which is basically the cost of harvesting. The grower indicated that one of his worst pest conditions is market related. Whenever there is a surplus of peppers on the market and the prices drop to below harvest costs, neighboring fields are often abandoned. Growers are typically reluctant to plow the peppers under because they hope for a price rise in future weeks. Yet, in order to minimize their losses, they typically discontinue their spraying programs, and pest problems tend to multiply. John GarguiZIo markets all of his fresh-market tomatoes (which beginning in 1986 carried the firm's brand name, Naples Fruit and Vegetables, Inc.) through his own packing and shipping plant. He harvests nearly 75 million pounds of tomatoes per year, all of which are harvested green. Nearly 20 percent are culled at the plant and given to a local farmer for animal feed; only blemish-free tomatoes of a uniform size are marketed. Because the packing house is integrated into the business of production, Garguillo will continue to pick tomatoes as long as the packing house makes money. Florida tomatoes are sold under a marketing order, on consignment, and are owned by the farmer all the way up to the retail level. If they deteriorate or do not sell, the farmer is not paid. Hundley Farms' operation is vertically integrated; everything grown on the farm is marketed through a cooperative. The cooperative HundIey uses consists of five area farmers, and it is currently trying to develop brand- name recognition. In addition to the superior appearance of their products, the growers are seeking to develop a reputation for the excellent taste of their products. To this end, Hundley has changed the varieties planted on his farm and the way certain vegetables are packed, stored, and marketed. The high-sugar hybrid sweet corn is a good example: HundIey said that he has been able to market more of this corn. The fruit and vegetable business is extremely competitive. None of the owners of the four farms visited were wining to disclose details of their spraying programs or the pest threshold levels they used to determine when they sprayed. Consequently, specific information regarding cost savings on these farms is not available. It is apparent, however, that the use of IPM by these vegetable producers has improved the monetary and environmental performances of these farms; cost savings of as much as $400.00 per acre were reported. Another benefit is that the amounts of some pesticide appli- cations are reduced through the use of IPM scouting, through the avoidance of unnecessary insecticide spraying, by the selection of different pesticides, and by the use of lower rates of pest control materials. Soil sterilization and the application of bactericicles and fungicides have not diminished, how- ever, and the consequences of their continued use for water pollution and chemical residues on foods are unknown at this time.