March 2019 - 10

Genetics, sprays, IPM methods help Florida tomatoes
By Stephen Kloosterman
Associate Editor
Florida tomato growers are arming
themselves with a wider arsenal of tools
for the annual fight against whiteflies
and the virus they carry.
Genetic traits, new chemical sprays
and integrated pest management (IPM)
techniques all help to manage the pale
tiny insects, which are each only onesixteenth
of an inch long.
Florida growers' piece of the tomato
market are high-dollar fresh steak
tomatoes, transplanted into plastic mulch,
staked and tied, with 3-4 pickings per
season, Mitchell said.
There are two seasons. During the fall
season, plastic starts being laid late summer
and transplanting starts in September, with
the tomatoes being harvested in November
and December. During the spring season,
plastic is laid in January, he plants go in the
ground in February, with fruit being taken
off in April or May, depending on the region
of the state. The fields typically go idle
during the summer.
Whiteflies feed on the plants with a
piercing-sucking feeding action, which
makes them a vector or carrier for the
spread of tomato yellow leaf curl virus
" If they're bad enough, they can distort
the plant just themselves, but the biggest
concern for growers is the tomato yellow
leaf curl virus, " said Joe Mitchell, who is
a BASF technical service representative
based in Florida. " Management of
whiteflies is a real key point that growers
focus on in their season. "
New commercial varieties of tomato
have been bred for tolerance of
TYLCV, said Hugh Smith, a University
of Florida associate professor of
entomology and nematology.
" There are a few, and they kind of vary
from region to region, " he said.
Not all of the TYLCV-tolerant varieties
produce yields competitive to that of
Whiteflies are only one-sixteenth of an inch
long but are a vector for the tomato yellow
leaf curl virus. Photo: Scott Bauer/USDA,
Anthem XR II from Seminis provides you
with the rust protection of Anthem XR with
the RoundupĀ®
tolerance and BT Performance
Series traits of Anthem II in one convenient
other commercial tomato varieties, Smith
said, so in many cases when choosing
their tomato, growers face a " trade-off "
for yield versus disease resistance.
A few varieties, such as Harris Moran's
1823, a medium-size tomato, show good
yields and fruit quality in addition to the
virus tolerance. Harris Moran 1823 was
selected as the 2017 " rodeo tomato " of the
San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo,
based on 2-3 years of trials by Texas A&M
AgriLife Extension Service.
Smith said a wide variety of chemical
product is available for controlling
Group 4a neonicotinoids such as
Sivanto can be used in a rotation with
group 28 diamides such as Verimark and
Exirel. Another option is Sefina, a group
9b insecticide that was released by BASF
in 2018.
" Typically growers will use a soil
application first, and that's right at planting,
when they put the plants in the ground,
they inject a soil insecticide and that
literally holds the plants for 4-5 weeks,
depending on how the weather goes, and at
that point growers come back with a foliar
application, material like Sefina, " Mitchell
said. The benefit to using Sefina is it has a
unique mode of resistance and is the only
9D-group insecticide on the market.
" It works very quickly and disorients the
whitefly, so they don't know how to feed,
and a lot of times they'll fall off the plant, "
he said. " It makes it difficult for them to
Super Nectar is an excellent
main season honeydew with
smooth, dense flesh and
savory flavor. The vigorous vine,
of this Sakata melon, provides
good cover and protection
from sunburn.
Gold Nugget, provides a
uniform carrot with sweet flavor.
This Vilmorin variety yields well
and has a strong top that aids in
harvesting by top lifting.
Bisbee Gold is a very dark
orange, small pumpkin with
black handles. This Rupp variety
provide high resistance to
powdery mildew.
get to other plants, and that's why we've
seen the use of Sefina really reduce the
movement of (TYLCV). " Sefina is supposed
to be safe for bees, Mitchell said.
Using a variety of chemical compounds
on the insects makes it less like they'll
develop a tolerance for the insecticides,
Smith said.
" It's important to take advantage of all
the ones we have out there, " he said.
IPM methods
Growers can also minimize insect
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movement and virus movement by
practicing IPM.
Plastic and silver mulches can help
control whiteflies, Smith said. He added
that it's important to destroy the tomato
field after the last harvest, which will take
the virus and insects away from the field.
Mitchell said whiteflies can overwinter
on other plants during the winter, so
keeping the hedgerows clean from TYLCV
or host plants is important.
" You just want to make sure your stuff is
as clean as possible, " he said. VGN

March 2019

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