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UF Stone Fruit Field Day!

peachHi Everyone, Please save the date for the annual UF Stone Fruit Field Day!

DATE: April 19th, 2016
TIME: 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM
LOCATION: UF Plant Science Research and Education Unit, Citra, FL
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?), Read More…


UF Stone Fruit Department – Winter Newsletter

frost_protectionWell, 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.  Read More>>


Comment Period on Florida 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.
· 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)


USDA Specialty Crops Research Initiative

Many of us know that fruit size is a challenge, but short of thinning at the proper time, from a scientific perspective we really know very little about how to manipulate fruit size in peach.  Thus, I’m collaborating with Dr. Anish Malladi at the University of Georgia, plus other scientists here at UF, and Clemson University to address this issue from a genetics, breeding, and field experiment approach.


We want to be able to, in the end, take the data we have collected and come up with an “app” or program that will allow a grower to put in a set of environmental parameters including budbreak date and then give a guideline of when a good thinning window would be.


Our title is: A systems approach for optimizing fruit size in southeastern peach production – and our objectives are to:


Obj. 1: To determine the effects of the timing and intensity of crop load reduction on peach fruit size characteristics

Obj. 2: To determine the key regulatory gene networks and candidate genes associated with peach fruit growth regulation using transcriptomics

Obj. 3: To Identify QTLs, related candidate genes and functional SNPs associated with peach fruit growth regulation

Obj. 4: To develop a thinning decision assist application for minimizing risk while optimizing peach fruit size for the southeast


If fruit size is an issue for your farm, would you consider writing a letter of support for this project?

Send letters to:

Mercy Olmstead, Ph.D.
Stone Fruit Extension Specialist
2135 Fifield Hall
Gainesville, FL 32611-0690

Letters need to be received by NOVEMBER 30th, 2015.  THANK YOU!!!




I’ll be holding our annual winter pruning workshop at the Indian River Research and Education Center in Fort Pierce, FL on December 10th, from 9:00 AM – 11:30 AM.  I’ll be addressing the following:

–          Pruning techniques

–          Disease management in an El Nino year

–          Update on Peach Marketing Order

–          Hands-on pruning in Fort Pierce IRREC orchard.


Directions to IRREC:


I hope to see you there, and please bring your pruners and/or loppers so that we can work on trees together!


If you have any questions, please let me know.



Mercy Olmstead