Soil and Fertilizer Management for Vegetable Production in Florida
Best Management Practices (BMPs) are specific cultural practices aimed at reducing the load of a specific compound, while maintaining or increasing economical yields. They are tools available to vegetable growers to achieve the TMDLs. BMPs are intended to be educational, economically sound, environmentally effective, and based on science. It is important to recognize that BMPs do not aim at becoming an obstacle to vegetable production. Instead, they should be viewed as a means to balance economical vegetable production with environmental responsibility.
The BMPs that will apply to vegetable production in Florida are described in the ‘Agronomic and Vegetable Crop Water Quality/Water Quantity BMP Manual for Florida’. This manual was developed between 2000 and 2005 through a cooperative effort between state agencies, water management districts and commodity groups, and under the scientific leadership of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/ IFAS). The manual has undergone a thorough scientific review in 2003 and was presented to stakeholders and state commodity groups for feed back in 2004. The manual was adopted by reference in 2006 and by rule in Florida Statutes (5M-8 Florida Administrative Code) and may be consulted on-line at http://www.floridaagwaterpolicy.com/ PDFs/BMPs/vegetable&agronomicCrops.pdf. BMPs are 1-to-3 page long chapters that include a picture, a working definition of the topic, list specific things to do (BMPs) as well as things to avoid (pitfalls), and present existing applicable technical criteria together with additional references.