Cole Crop Field Day Looks at New Crops on the Horizon

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Researchers from the University of Florida Hastings Agricultural Extension Center (UF HAEC) gave growers updates on cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and more at the annual Cole Crop Field Day held at the center’s research farm.

Cole Crop
Cauliflower being grown at the research farm.

Cole crops continue to be a cornerstone crop of the Tri-County Agricultural Area. Gary England, director of the UF HAEC, summarized a few of the takeaways from the field day.

“Cabbage really was the main one being grown, but growers are now looking at a lot of other cole crops,” England said. “Cauliflower has recently become of interest, and there’s also been a little bit of interest in Brussels sprouts, so we’re doing some work on that.”

Attendees had the chance to explore several plots of cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. They also heard about phosphorus fertilization, black rot diagnostics and new production methods for cabbage.

“It (black rot) has been a serious problem over the years,” England said. “We are looking at what we call advanced production systems; we looked at cabbage which we’re actually growing on plastic with drip low-volume irrigation.”

In addition, scientists at the UF HAEC are researching broccoli production in an effort to establish an East Coast market for broccoli to be able to compete with California.

“Broccoli’s been around for 20 years and seems to be increasing in popularity,” England said about the project headed by Cornell researchers. “The whole goal is to have a consistent supply on the East Coast United States.”