Friday, November 15, 2013

This Week, Why Not Florida?

So last week I made a fertilizer mission to California, so this week, why not Florida?  As with CA, it's been quite a few years since I've been on the job in Florida, so this would be a great time to check out some of the research projects and other fields of interest down there.  So here I was on Tuesday leaving Detroit behind.  That's Windsor, Ontario across the river.
I would also be leaving behind the remnants of the first snow of the season.  It wasn't much, but a peek at things to come. 
I thought the clouds over Lake Erie looked cool. 
 So the view over Florida was sans snow.  In fact there is plenty of winter agriculture to see, although I'm not sure exactly what it is.  But I would guess much of it is orange groves, and maybe tomatoes or something.  Back at the NCRS we are getting fall fieldwork completed before winter comes and here they are just getting started with some crops.
Here we are coming into Ft. Myers.  You could see some boats out on the water.  And maybe spending the winter in one of those high rises overlooking the Gulf would be a good time. Hmmmm. But I splashed some Fresca on my face and remembered I am on a fertilizer mission.  It was in the 80's when I landed.  No wonder so many people from Michigan make this their winter address.
That afternoon SAM Paulino and I looked at this field of young tomatoes growing with Liquid.  Keep it coming, they are going to need it.  There is a drip line under that plastic. 
If only this guy would have held on a little longer until AgroLiquid came to Florida.
The next day we were joined by Area Sales Manager Jim and visited a sugarcane test field in Clewiston.  You may recall that we have been doing some wildly successful sugarcane research in Louisiana.  But the growing culture is quite different in Florida.  The cane keeps growing all winter long here, but takes a time-out in Louisiana.  As such, fertilizer applications occur at planting in September/October as well as again here in a few weeks.  The planting season was very rainy, and planting occurred over an extended period of time.  So there was cane of all different sizes that we saw.  These plants were planted earlier and had Liquid, and are of good size.   
Here is a more recent planting.  This is a piece of seed cane that I pulled up.  It is harvested from another field and planted just for propagation.  These pieces are planted right on top of the fertilizer band in a furrow, and then covered up.  You can see the shoots growing from the "eyes" of the cane piece. 
Below Paulino, the farm manager and Jim examine the growth. 
It was really windy out.  The shoots are making sand art with their leaves.  If you look closely, you can see some shoots still coming up. 
Paulino is making some stand counts of the emerged shoots, and has quite a walk to go to the end of the field. 
It was really getting windy with blowing sand.  Hard to believe that it will grow anything.  But it can with fertilizer and water.  I will talk about how they keep the soil moisture good for growing some other time.  But it's pretty cool. 
Well it was a fast two days, but it was good for me to get down there and see what's going on.  There is more research being hatched even as we speak.