How sweet it is

05/01/2008 02:00:00 AM
Jim Offner

"You have to be pretty vigilant," he says. "You keep it away from the regular crop. I actually had a guy from the university coming down to do some research on basically where they get started from. They have control measures."

Prevention is essential

Perhaps the best measures to control pests and diseases are preventive ones, and that's where field scouts come in, Perryman says. He hires Glades Crop Care, a consulting firm and scouting service.

"They walk every field," Perryman says.

Having eyes in the field reporting on what they see and don't see can help control the impulse to spray, Perryman says.

"We don't just go out and spray on a regular basis just to be spraying," he says. "We go out and get crop reports to make sure what we're finding is what we're actually treating for. We go with varying amounts of pesticides, and these guys walk and everything is documented."

In a high-stakes business, it only makes sense to minimize the gamble, Bergmann says.

"Farming is risky business," Bergmann adds. "There's a lot of perils out there, and the reward has to justify the risk, or why do it?"

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