Regional efforts among research and extension workers in Southeastern fruit crops have evolved from early meetings to write pest control recommendations to more formal interactions such as regional research projects, meetings and publications. For apples, there are currently three individuals in the Southeast working in more than one state. Why regionalize? Similar growing conditions, the need to react quickly to critical issues, intensification within production, broadening of responsibilities and a dramatic reduction in the number of research and extension personnel to address these issues necessitate cooperative efforts. Regional efforts pose special challenges such as increased workloads and greater travel demands, often without increased funding. Conversely, regionalization may enable specialists and researchers to focus their attention on fewer commodities and areas, thus becoming better resources for growers and the industry. In this vein, regional responsibilities entirely within research or extension might be a better option than split appointments encompassing research, extension and, perhaps teaching, within a state. In the future, state lines will become less distinct with research and extension appointments reflecting regional responsibilities. Growers do not care where their information comes from as long as it is available and pertinent to their operations. Regionalization is a positive step for increasingly challenging times.
David W. Lockwood
Michael L. Parker, C. Richard Unrath, and David Lockwood
With the current situation facing land grant universities of declining resources and a portion of federal funding being dependent upon multistate activities, the search for means to successfully address clientele needs may be handled through multistate activity. In the Southeast, the tree fruit programs, both research and extension, have been evaluating areas that could be addressed with multistate programming. To date, most of the tree fruit multistate activities have been informal in nature. The apple program was the first to look at multistate activity because of the heavy concentration of the industry in the mountains of NC, SC, GA, and TN. The formation of the Southeastern Apple Growers Meeting, which combined the annual educational meeting for apple growers in NC, GA, SC, and TN, was the first initiative. It proved to be very successful with the completion of the eighth joint meeting. In addition, the pest management guides for both apple and peach have been combined for many of the southeastern (five states) and southern states (11 states), respectively. Numerous working groups, workshops, tours, and field days are held on a regional scale as well. However, in order for multistate programming to succeed, our experience suggest the need for several key components. The technical competence in the program to be addressed, a supportive university administration, backing of the industry groups, and personnel that are neither territorial nor resistant to change must be present. From our experience multistate programming can be very successful!
Joanne Logan, Dennis E. Deyton, and David W. LockWood
Peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] production in Tennessee has declined since 1985 due to the occurrence of freezing temperatures that kill the buds, usually in the spring. Analyses of long-term (1951-89) daily temperature data from four locations in Tennessee were used to evaluate the freeze risks for `Redhaven' peach tree buds at those sites. A model using daily accumulated chill units and growing degree hours (base 4.4C air temperature) was used to estimate the dates to begin and end chill unit accumulations and the dates of full bloom of `Redhaven' peach trees for each year in the climatological record. The actual dates of freezes with air temperatures at or below –2.2C and the estimated bud developmental stage on the date of each freeze also were determined. The model was tested using peach orchard records and was found to be an improvement over using only freeze data. The model indicated that Spring Hill had the highest risk for peach production and Jackson the lowest. Recent problems with spring freezes at Knoxville and Spring Hill were due to later than normal freeze dates rather than earlier development of the `Redhaven' peach tree buds. At Springfield, the recent freeze problems were due to earlier breaking of rest, earlier full bloom, and later freezes.
Heather Friedrich, Curt Rom, Jennie Popp, Barbara Bellows, Donn Johnson, Dan Horton, Kirk Pomper, David Lockwood, Steve McArtney, and Geoffrey Zehnder
Southern organic fruit production is limited by a lack of regionally appropriate, scale-neutral, and market-focused research and technology. There has been limited research, outreach, and cooperation among universities on organic fruit crops in the southern region. Organic research and outreach activities, based on producer input, must be focused on the most limiting areas of the organic system in order to allow southern producers to receive the economic and environmental benefits that organic agriculture can provide. With funding from USDA-SARE and USDA-SRIPMC, researchers at the University of Arkansas have collaborated with scientists, extension specialists, growers, and representatives of the organic industry in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee to create a Southern Region Organic Fruit Working Group (SROFWG). The SROFWG conducted in-state focus group meetings through which barriers to production and marketing, and opportunities for organic fruit in the region were identified. Prioritized research and outreach needs that were identified in the focus groups included use and understanding of organic fertilizers and nutrient management; methods, knowledge and awareness of pest disease and weed control including orchard floor management; information on transition to organic; consumer awareness and market development and the economics of organics. The planning activities of the SROFWG support the development and submission of grants for cooperative and collaborative research and outreach programs to sustain and expand organic fruit production in the southern region.
Lloyd L. Nackley, Brent Warneke, Lauren Fessler, Jay W. Pscheidt, David Lockwood, Wesley C. Wright, Xiaocun Sun, and Amy Fulcher
To optimize pesticide applications to the canopies of deciduous perennial crops, spray volume should be adjusted throughout the year to match the changes in canopy volume and density. Machine-vision, computer-controlled, variable-rate sprayers are now commercially available and claim to provide adequate coverage with decreased spray volumes compared with constant-rate sprayers. However, there is little research comparing variable- and constant-rate spray applications as crop characteristics change throughout a growing season. This study evaluated spray volume, spray quality (e.g., coverage and deposit density), and off-target spray losses of variable- and constant-rate sprayers across multiple phenophases in an apple (Malus domestica) orchard and a grape (Vitis vinifera) vineyard. The variable-rate sprayer mode applied 67% to 74% less volume in the orchard and 61% to 80% less volume in the vineyard. Spray coverage (percent), measured by water-sensitive cards (WSC), was consistently greater in the constant-rate mode compared with the variable-rate mode, but in many cases, excessive coverage (i.e., over-spray) was recorded. The variable-rate sprayer reduced off-target losses, measured by WSC coverage, up to 40% in the orchard and up to 33% in the vineyard. Spray application deposit densities (droplets per square centimeter) on target canopies were typically greater in variable-rate mode. However, the deposit densities were confounded in over-spray conditions because droplets coalesced on the WSC resulting in artificially low values (i.e., few, very large droplets). Spray efficiencies were most improved early in the growing season, when canopy density was lowest, demonstrating the importance of tailoring spray volume to plant canopy characteristics.