Best management practice (BMP) development and implementation in southwest Florida is relatively recent (less than 10 yrs). Therefore, growers need field data validating the effects of BMPs on production and profits under conditions unique to this area of the state. Likewise, regulators with federal and state organizations (e.g. U.S. EPA, Florida Department of Environmental Regulation, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and South Florida Water Management District) need solid science on which to evaluate the effectiveness of present BMPs and to determine the need for additional BMPs to be implemented in the future.
Masters and Ph.D Researches in Soil & Water Science program are conducted in the advisory supervision of Dr. Kelly Morgan. The current stuies in this program Soil Phosphorus Storage Capacity (SPSC)- a chemically-based approach that shows promise as an indicator of P storage or movement into the environment. Nutrients in drip irrigated tomato and sweet bell pepper. And effect of subsurface drip irrigation flow rates and emitter spacing on sugarcane water uptake and production in Florida’s Alfisols.
The objectives of the extension program are to use science-based information to educate Florida growers about improved soil fertility and water management methods through publications and presentations of research data and demonstrations of BMPs so they will be able to sustain yields while protecting water quality.
Specific goals of the extension program encompassing citrus, vegetables, and sugarcane are the teaching and demonstration of:
1. Nutrient-related BMPs
2. Improved irrigation management and grower decision aids.