Meetings next week + help for a project!

Hi Everyone,

Please don’t forget about the two meetings that will be held this month at which we will be discussing the peach marketing order.

The first meeting will be on May 12th, 2015 at the Peach Roundtable held at the Pasco County Extension office, held in Dade City, at 10:00 AM. Lunch will be provided, so please make sure that you RSVP to Gail Crawford (

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. Again, please RSVP for that to Gail Crawford (

The next item that I need some help with – is letters of support for a grant project. We are trying to get funding to see how much water a peach tree actually needs during a season, but we are missing a key calculation, called a crop coefficient. Without this, we are just guessing at scheduling irrigation. This has been established for citrus, and programs like FAWN’s irrigation scheduler have a crop coefficient built into the recommendations. Eventually we will use the data from this project to develop an app, or integrate into the FAWN programs so that you’ll be able to schedule irrigation in your orchards to apply just the right amount of water.

We are applying for a grant through FDACS Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, and I need grower support. If you think this is an important project and would like to support it, please send me a letter by Monday, May 11th, 2015. Here is our abstract in case you would like to know more about our project:

Successful implementation of best management practices (BMP) for horticultural crops in Florida, particularly for irrigation, have growers seeking similar information for low-chill peaches. In temperate climates, irrigation BMPs have been defined to optimize tree growth and fruit quality using specific crop coefficients, which change throughout the season as the tree demand changes. However, using crop coefficients from arid climates with high evapotranspiration rates may overestimate irrigation applications in a subtropical climate. Growers have been using timed sets or irrigation guidelines developed for citrus and may in fact be over-irrigating their peach trees. The goals of this project are to collect soil water content, soil water drainage, and tree growth measurements for a multi-year project to determine a peach crop coefficient for subtropical, low-chill peaches. In-field soil water measurements compared with trees planted in lysimeters will allow for measurement of tree water use in subtropical climates. Data collection and summarization over four years will allow for variation in weather events that may affect the tree water demand and irrigation applications. This will allow us to generate data leading to a stable peach crop coefficient for subtropical peach production.

Thanks everyone, and I hope that you all have a great weekend!