Road to Recovery

Puerto Rico Winter Farm Report by Lizandro Perez – Station Manager

2018-19 was a good season for the farm. In terms of weather no storms affected the island. While part of the island had abnormally dry weather or moderate drought we received what we needed in the way of rains by late May. Most of the farm's available acreage was planted. New crops and new projects were also planted and a couple of new clients started using our farm services. New crops included mung beans and cowpeas. New projects were sorghum growouts and sunflower nursery requiring emasculation.

For corn we planted nurseries, isolations and growouts. This was the first year for longer rows with the same amount of seed per row for corn growouts. Results were less double plants and better seed spacing. Alleyways were shorter but did not cause much of an inconvenience. Feedback from clients was excellent and we are going to incorporate our longer rows for all corn growout plantings. Sorghum services included nurseries, isolations and growouts. Both fertile and sterile sorghum growout entries were planted. The client graciously provided us the necessary training to read both sterile and fertile entries. We now have farm personnel capable of doing sorghum growout readings. Soybean projects included crossing blocks, generation advances, growouts and increases. New for this year was a soybean crossing block inside insect proof cages. The main reason for the cages was control of white flies and subsequently preventing virus infections destroying susceptible plants. Inside the cages we had healthy plants with good pollen. Cages are something we can offer our clients for materials susceptible to carlavirus.

Sunflower nursery and growouts were a big part of the farm work this past season. One of the nurseries was for emasculation. Emasculation, removing the male flower parts, is something we have not done in the past but a crew was trained and the nursery was a success. Sunflower growouts for confection types and oil types were also evaluated this season. Other crops planted were dry beans, barley, peanuts, tobacco and wheat.

PRABIA, INC (Puerto Rico Agricultural Biotechnology Industry Association) and IRAC (Insect Resistance Action Committee) provided a three days training for its members regarding measures to extend the useful life of insecticides in Puerto Rico. Attendees from IL Crop were our farm manager Emmanuel Lasalle and our intern Marilys Rivera. The purpose of this initiative is to establish and maintain fall armyworm colonies by county to evaluate for insecticide resistance. One of the goals is to determine if there are resistance regions. The "windows insecticide initiative" involves the use of different modes of action on a two month window of rotation. The program continues to operate on PRABIA, INC members' farms.

New equipment was also added including a Hagie DTS10 that was bought in November of 2018. All tractors, harvest and threshing equipment served us well. Facilities repairs to the damage caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017 continue on the farm and in our communities. We are looking forward to another season of winter services. We appreciate your business and support.

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