Friday, May 23, 2014

Liquid Adventures in the Sunshine State

So earlier this week I made my way down to the Sunshine State of Florida to follow up on some research and grower activities.  Now it was a busy time and there were lots of pictures.  I considered making two shorter postings, but with the Memorial Day holiday, I figured you would find time to make it through one long one.  I was met by AgroLiquid field agronomist Mike and Area Sales Manager Jim near Tampa. First we went to a contract research plot on tomatoes.  Below Mike and Jim confer on whether it is in fact to-may-to or to-mah-to.  I didn't want to take sides.
We are testing some different Liquid products and rates applied through drip tape.  It is nearing the end of the experiment, and here is the second of a planned three pickings.  So it was a good day to visit to see how the harvest operation is performed.  Two guys pick the pickable tomatoes from the 50 foot long plots.
 Then they are weighed and recorded.
Next they are graded and sized by using the hole board.  The numbers by size are recorded on the clickers at the top.  Very clever.
For the two outside border rows, no fertilizer was applied.  They did get watered and sprayed for pests.  But no plant food like the rows on the right.  This shows what fertilizer can do for sure. 
 For the different liquid treatments, they use this tank system where the different treatments are applied through the appropriate drip lines.  Here they are making some other applications for some other test.  But this is how they do it in our plots.  Brian uses similar application methods at the NCRS, although with smaller tanks. 
 For dinner that night we ate in Mike's town of Venice, Florida.  We walked down the long pier after dinner and lots of people were fishing.  Saw this cool bird at the end.  As a former bird watcher, I believe it's a juvenile Great Blue Heron.  Right?
You know I like taking pictures of sunsets, so here is the sun going down over the Gulf of Mexico.  Very pretty.
 The next day we visited an orange grove where they are using some Liquid.  Harvest was completed several months ago, but you can see the next crop already sizing up on the tree.  They are green now and kind of hard to see.  But they're there.
 Here is a pallet of Woody Plants & Trees being used and and one of several totes of foliar products awaiting further application.
We also visited the sugarcane plots.  Getting taller all the time.  It is nearly time for the next application, which will now be made by airplane.  It's too tall for the ground rig by now.  It will continue to grow taller until harvest, probably in January.  
 The leaves are really tough and sharp on the edges.  I think I showed a closeup in a previous post.  (Yep, on July 16, 2011 from Louisiana.  You could see a closeup of the serrations like a knife.)  Here is a shot down the row a bit, and how thick the leaves are.  The lower leaves turn brown from lack of sunlight.  But it's the stalks that are harvested.  
In previous visits I was always sad that I never had seen an alligator in the ditches.  Jim and Mike are keeping watch for me.  I think.
 Success!  In fact, this one was one of several seen this trip.  But he was the only one that smiled for the camera.  I am standing one foot beyond the gator striking distance.  Well that is what Mike and Jim told me anyway.
I had no desire to wrestle one though.  I'll leave that to the professionals.  Or whatever they are.