Best Management Practices in South Florida: A Success Story

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A mandatory Best Management Practices (BMP) program was implemented on Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) farms in 1995 as required by the Everglades Forever Act to reduce phosphorus (P) loads from drainage waters that enter the Everglades ecosystem. All farms in the EAA basin implement mandatory BMPs. Our objective was to determine long-term P load trends of the basin as well as ten individual farms after implementing BMPs for 7 to10 yr. Mann-Kendall trend analysis was used to determine the degree of change in water quality trends. Decreasing trends in P loads were observed in the outflow of the basin and two of its sub basins, the S5A and S8. A decreasing trend in P load was observed on sugarcane farms, while mixed crop farms showed either decreasing or insignificant trends. The insignificant trends are likely related to management practices of mixed crop systems. The EAA Basin P load reductions have consistently exceeded the 25% reduction required by law, indicating the success of the program. Differences in P load reduction exist between farms and sub-basins due to differences in cropping and management systems, and environmental factors. Key Words Best Management Practices (BMP), phosphorus (P), Everglades agricultural area (EAA), South Florida, Everglades Forever Act (EFA). Introduction The Everglades in south Florida is the largest contiguous body of organic soils in the continental United States (Stephens 1956) originally occupying approximately 778,000 ha (Jones 1942). A portion of the northern Everglades was drained at the beginning of the 20 th century for agricultural and urban purposes, becoming what is known today as the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA). The EAA basin is located south and east of Lake Okeechobee and north and west of Water Conservations Areas (WCA) in Florida, U.S. (Figure 1). The EAA comprises an area of approximately 283,300 ha and is planted predominantly to sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) with the remaining arable land planted to winter vegetables, sod and rice (Oryza sativa L.). The EAA basin has four sub-basins (S5A, S2/S6, S2/S7, and S3/S8).The soils of the EAA, classified as organic (soil order: Histosol), were formed under anaerobic conditions (Snyder and Davidson 1994). Drainage of organic soils has caused the loss of soil through decomposition leading to soil subsidence and variable soil depths. Soils are deepest in the S5A sub-basin and shallowest in the S3/S8 sub-basin. To farm successfully, growers in the EAA actively drain their fields via an extensive array of canals, ditches, and large volume pumps. Excess water is pumped off farms into South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) conveyance canals, from which it is pumped to Stormwater Treatment Areas (STA). After treatment, water is sent southward to the WCAs and the Everglades National Park (ENP). Concerns about the quality of drainage water leaving the basin and entering the ENP prompted the Florida legislature to adopt the Everglades Regulatory program, part of the Everglades Forever Act (EFA). The main objective of the program is to reduce P loads from the EAA basin by 25% or greater compared to a ten-year, pre-Best Management Practices (BMP) baseline period which spans from 1978 to 1988.

 

Authors: Samira H. Daroub, Timothy A. Lang and Stuart Van Horn

University of Florida/IFAS, Everglades Research and Education Center and Soil and Water Science Dept, Belle Glade, FL.

Full Article can be found here: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228520604_Best_Management_Practices_in_South_Florida_A_Success_Story

George H. Wedgworth

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In January 2012 the Cooperative marked the end of an era when George H. Wedgworth, after 52 years, stepped down as President and CEO. He started full retirement in August 2013. All of Florida Agriculture admires his leadership, vision and second–to-none cooperative spirit to solve agriculture’s toughest challenges.  Watch the video that chronicles his life and accomplishments.

How a Florida Rancher Grew More Forage with Nu-Trax P+™

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Growing a Legacy

Last year Alex worked with Wedgworth’s Fertilizer to add a new fertilizer, Nu-Trax P+ from Compass Minerals, to the ranch’s spring applications. Coated onto dry fertilizer granules, Nu-Trax P+ provided an ideal blend of phosphorus, zinc, manganese and nitrogen for spring growth and root vigor.

“Grass pulled in quicker. It had quicker green up; It seems to me that we’ve had more root mass built, so the canopy of the forage was thicker.”

Alex Johns has a lot to manage. The Seminole Tribe of Florida’s 105,000-acre cattle ranch runs 10,000 cows among 67 herds, and Alex oversees all of them. His pride for his tribe and their history with cattle inspires him to keep innovating and doing the right things – so the ranch can carry on into the future.

“We were one of the first ranches to utilize EID (electronic identification) technology,” Alex explains. “EID allowed us to give every cow, calf, bull an identification that was easy to put into a database and manipulate and extract data from.” Managing forages is a major focus for Alex. And to do so, he continues to improve how the herds practice intensive grazing.

“We’re constantly cutting pastures down, fine-tuning our rotation, figuring out how many days we can keep a herd on a pasture,” Alex says. He also focuses on how fertilizer can boost forage growth. “We try to time our fertilizing to happen during the spring,” Alex explains, “so we get a big punch from the fertilizer before we get the heavy rains and the leaching that comes with that.”

Wedgworth’s Inc. Named as the Exclusive Distributor in Florida for Amp Agronomy

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FOLEY, Ala.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–GCO, in partnership with Sod Solutions, is pleased to announce Wedgworth’s Inc. as the exclusive distributor of Amp Agronomy™ in the state of Florida. Wedgworth’s, Florida’s largest custom fertilizer dealer, offers Florida farmers even more solutions for success with the addition of Amp Agronomy’s nutritional line to their existing portfolio of products.

“As leaders in the Florida farming industry, selecting Wedgworth’s as our exclusive distributor in the state was a perfect fit for Amp Agronomy,” said Patrick Chapman, president of GCO.

Jimmy Matthews, senior vice president & general manager of Wedgworth’s states, “Adding Amp Agronomy products to the Wedgworth’s portfolio complements our existing product line. With Amp Agronomy’s advanced technologies, providing our customers with the newest products on the market is our goal.”

Catalyst Technology™, Amp Agronomy’s proprietary process, is a foliar nutritional line that provides the most efficient nutrient delivery system available on the market today. Amp Agronomy’s Catalyst Technology uses ultrasonic cavitation to convert nutrients into nano-particle sized nutrients for increased plant uptake. At the essence of Catalyst Technology, neutralized, nano-sized particles are protected and chelated for maximized plant uptake. Amp Agronomy’s solutions are developed to achieve each plant’s genetic potential through ultra-low inputs that are ready to use and have high impact.

“Amp Agronomy is a game changer in nutritional technology for all aspects of agriculture. The patented process is unique and delivers fertility to plants in a more effective, efficient and environmentally friendly method,” said Drew Wagner, chief technical officer of Sod Solutions.

With a complete line of foliar products, Amp Agronomy has programs available to fit a variety of crops.

About Amp Agronomy

GCO, a full service green industry supplier, in partnership with Sod Solutions, Inc., an international turfgrass research and development company, launched Amp Agronomy in 2015. Amp Agronomy is a product line of specialty fertilizers designed to maximize agriculture products and yields. Enhanced with Catalyst Technology, Amp Agronomy, is a foliar nutritional line using nano size nutrients for faster plant uptake. For more information, visit ampagronomy.com.

Contacts

Amp Agronomy
Heather Moldenhauer, 843-284-2338
heather@sodsolutions.com

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