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Daniel J. Cantliffe

Seed germination is a critical step to achieve economic success in a transplant operation. Total germination of a seed lot dictates total plant sales by the producer, while uniformity of germination dictates the quality of the transplant crop. Using high vigor seed will help to achieve uniform stands, as well as maximize stands, in the transplant house or field. In order to maintain the highest seed quality, transplant producers should store unused seeds at recommended temperature and relative humidity for the crop species. Methods to promote uniformity and optimum stands under a wide range of conditions include the use of seed priming, film coating with fungicides, and pelleting for ease of planting.

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Daniel J. Cantliffe

Since the establishment of the land-grant systems in the late 1800s, universities and experiment station systems have sought out and tested vegetable germplasm for its suitability in regional and local areas across the United States. The private seed industry continued to grow, both in number and volume of sales through the early half of the twentieth century. It was during this time that many of the public breeding programs at land-grant universities began corollary plant breeding programs in variety development for vegetables. For many years it was a cooperative coexistence between the private seed industry and the public programs, wherein the seed industry derived much of its germplasm for new variety releases from the public sector. Beginning in the 1970s, the numbers of public breeders began to decline, while the numbers, especially of PhD plant breeders in the private sector, began to proliferate. Throughout this 100-year period university personnel were actively involved in vegetable variety trials, both on main campuses as well as at experiment stations, and in many cases in locales in various counties through cooperative efforts with county agents. Up through this period much credit could be given to individual faculty members for their involvement in such endeavors. In the past 10 to 20 years, many things have changed in university operations and perspectives, namely faculty are only given credit for refereed publications, regardless of the area in which they work. Moreover, they must constantly procure money to support their programs. In the past, vegetable variety testing generally did not lead to refereed publications and was not supported by the industry. Moreover, as previously mentioned many of the public programs in germplasm improvement for vegetables across the United States have ceased, thus ending a direct need for variety testing to support these programs. The critical issue for today's faculty is the relative importance of variety testing and delivering information to the general public versus how they would support such a program and eventually get academic credit for conducting such a program.

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Daniel J. Cantliffe

Extension gained strength from its inception in the early 1900s until the early 1980s. Then things changed—trends led to the notion that extension should get out of social programs and let producers pay their own way. These were the Reagan/Thatcher years. England, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada largely dismantled their extension services. This was supposedly due to financial reasons. They let the private sector take up whatever was released. In the U.S. during the 1980s the Extension Service came under similar attacks and some erosion of the services took place in various states. This has led to a reorganization of the extension service at the federal level, bringing the ARS and Extension Service closer together. I believe that this is the future for Extension—to bind and to build with research to improve and promote continued transfer of new technology. I see this as very difficult for the private sector to do. The ARS and university researchers have to be intimately involved with extension personnel. Program development must be two-fold and must begin to cross state lines both at the state and county levels. Extension workers are doing many of the research jobs of the 1960s and 1970s. For example, our Florida county agents are now doing demonstration and applied research studies that the experiment station personnel did up until 1980. For survival, county operations will need further combining and refining. The basis of the future lies in accountability of extension programs to the public and continued public relationships to express the good job that extension does for all Americans.

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Daniel J. Cantliffe

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Daniel J. Cantliffe

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Daniel J. Cantliffe

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Daniel J. Cantliffe

Transplants are grown and shipped locally or over long distances. Shipping conditions and time in transit depend on the distance travelled. Local growers may receive transplants in trays they were grown in while those shipped long distances are pulled and packed in boxes. Plant field performance is directly correlated with seedling vigor at the time of transplanting. Factors which can affect transplant vigor during growing and shipping include the plant hardening techniques employed, mechanical injury at any stage of plant growing, shipping and planting, length and conditions of transit, and storage prior to transplanting. Mechanical injury begins as soon as the plants are removed from the tray, while reduced watering and/or nutrition during hardening may have a long term effect on plant productivity. High temperature during shipping, packing plants too densely, and prolonged storage in the dark can reduce subsequent yields. Knowledge of proper conditions for transplant pre- and post-harvest handling and shipping are not clearly understood by many transplant producers and growers. Such knowledge can greatly improve transplant vigor and potentially give growers better yields.

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Silvana Nicola and Daniel J. Cantliffe

`South Bay' lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) seedlings were grown in a greenhouse during winter, spring, and fall to investigate the effect of cell size and medium compression on transplant quality and yield. Four Speedling planter flats (1.9-, 10.9-, 19.3-, 39.7-cm3 cells) and two medium compression levels [noncompressed and compressed (1.5 times in weight)] were tested. The two larger cell sizes and compression of the medium led to increased plant shoot growth. Conversely, root weight ratio [RWR = (final root dry weight ÷ final total dry weight + initial root dry weight ÷ initial total dry weight) ÷ 2] was highest with the smaller cells without medium compression. Lettuce transplants were field-grown on sand and muck soils. The larger cells delayed harvest by >2 weeks for plants grown on muck soil, but yield was unaffected. When grown on sandy soil, earliness was enhanced from plants grown in 19- and 40-cm3 cells, but head weights were not affected in the spring planting. In fall, heads were heavier for plants grown in 11-, 19-, or 40-cm3 cells compared with those from 2-cm3 cells. On sandy soil, harvest was delayed 13 days in spring and 16 days in fall for plants grown in the smallest cell size. Using the two smaller cell sizes saved medium and space in the greenhouse and increased the root growth ratio, but it led to reduced plant growth compared to using the bigger cells. Yield and earliness were more related to season and soil type than to transplant quality. On sandy soil, plants grown in 2- and 11-cm3 cells matured later, and yield was significantly decreased (8.6%) in fall by using plants from the 2-cm3 cells compared to the other sizes. From our results, compressing the medium in the cells was not justified because it is more costly and did not benefit yield in the field.