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W.J. Florkowski, J.C. Purcell and E.E. Hubbard

Several standards for pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] grades and the relationship between selected quality attributes and prices indicated the complexity of communicating about quality attributes. Clear communication about quality attributes preferred by end users within the pecan industry and horticulturists facilitates the improvement of cultivars and strengthens the competitive position of the industry. A survey of Georgia pecan growers provided information about knowledge and perceived adequacy of pecan quality standards. Logit models were used to identify variables influencing knowledge of pecan grades and their perceived adequacy. Estimation results suggest that larger and more experienced growers were more familiar with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture standards for grades than small and new growers. The geographical location of a grower did not significantly affect the results. Knowledge of quality attributes demanded by the market requires familiarity with standards for grades and with industry practices to develop improved pecan cultivars.

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G. Lysiak, W.J. Florkowski and S.E. Prussia

Peaches (Prunus persica) were evaluated for storability after dipping in a 2% calcium chloride (CaCl2) solution at 20 °C for 30 min and storing them at 4 °C for 2 weeks in boxes uncovered or covered with polyethylene bags. Generally, there were significant improvements in storability resulting from the CaCl2 and the polyethylene barrier. The CaCl2 treatment improved firmness, largely maintained the soluble solids content, and increased the ratio of soluble solids-to-titratable acid ratio. Polyethylene bags minimized weight loss, and two out of three times, bagged fruit had lower acids after storage than did the control.

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W.J. Florkowski, B. Brückner, C.L. Huang and I. Schonhof

Chemicals used in fresh vegetable production leave residue. Although the typical residue amount is below allowable limits, producers must recognize consumer preference for less residue. Atlanta and Berlin consumer surveys showed difference in opinions about chemical residue in fresh vegetables, need for government testing, impact of residue on amount of consumed vegetables, and willingness to pay for vegetables with less residue. In general, Atlanta residents were more likely to agree about certifying vegetables as containing only allowable residue amount, while Berlin consumers were more willing to pay for government testing and vegetables with less residue. Two equations were estimated to identify factors influencing the preference for less residue. Respondents with higher incomes showed less preference for less chemical residue; similar preferences were demonstrated by older and single Berlin respondents. Growing vegetables with less chemical use offers opportunity to market fresh vegetables differentiating them from vegetables produced using traditional practices, especially given the willingness of overseas consumers to pay higher prices for vegetables with less residue.

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S. Varlamoff, W.J. Florkowski, J.L. Jordan, J. Latimer and K. Braman

A survey of Georgia homeowners provided insights about their use of fertilizers and pesticides. Knowledge of current homeowner practices is needed to develop a best management practices manual to be used by Master Gardeners to train the general public through the existing outreach programs. The objective of the training program is to reduce nutrient runoff and garden chemicals and improve the quality of surface water in urban water-sheds. Results showed three of four homeowners did their own landscaping and, therefore, fully controlled the amount of applied chemicals and the area of application. Fertilizers were primarily applied to lawns, but a high percentage of homeowners also applied them to trees, shrubs, and flowers. Insecticides were applied by a larger percentage of homeowners than herbicides. Control of fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) was likely the reason behind the frequent use of insecticides. The desire for a weed free lawn was the plausible motivation behind the use of herbicides, which were used mostly on lawns. Fungicide use was infrequently reported by Georgia homeowners. The pattern of fertilizer and pesticide use suggests that the developed manual should emphasize techniques and cultural practices, which could lower the dependence on chemicals, while ultimately assuring the desired appearance of turf and ornamental plants.

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W.J. Florkowski, E.E. Hubbard, G.W. Landry and T.R. Murphy

Using three types of pesticides is related to selected lawn-care firm characteristics. The data were collected through a survey of 95 randomly selected firms, which yielded 68 usable questionnaires. From that number, 50 firms specializing in lawn-care services other than mowing were selected. Statistical relationships were formulated using herbicide, insecticide, and fungicide expenditures as dependent variables. In estimated relationships, the impact of variables significantly different from zero (i.e., firm's gross revenue, number of commercial customers serviced, annual labor cost, and size of the treated commercial landscape) was in the same direction but differed in magnitude. In general, commercial account additions and firm size (measured by gross revenue) increased pesticide expenditures. Pesticide expenditures decreased, however, as the labor cost and the size of the treated commercial landscape increased. The firm's perception of pesticide regulations had no impact in the specified relationships.