Patrick OMalley, Field Specialist - Commercial Horticulture, Southeast Area
Growers of produce need timely in season advice on insect and disease problems. The problem during the height of the growing/harvesting season is they have very little time to take advantage of educational opportunities such as field days or workshops.
One of the ways ISU Extension has addressed this need is through Plant Clinics at the three produce auction sites. Nine of these Plant Clinics were held in 2007 during the growing season. This allowed commercial growers to bring in samples and to discuss production problems and ask questions in person with ISU Extension Plant Pathologists, Entomologists and Horticulturists. Growers had an efficient use of their time, since they could take advantage of this service before, during or after the auctions. Samples that could not be readily identified were sent back to ISU for lab analysis.
Most samples and problems were readily identified. Management options for the problems were discussed. A conservative estimate is that 100 acres of produce was represented by growers submitting samples or asking questions. In future years the advice given should increase production at least 10% which would represent about 2000 pounds of produce per acre. At $.50/pound that would equate to $1000 per acre and $100,000 per year of gross produce sales.
131 Production Methods and Systems
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June 13, 2008
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