Vegetable Production and Marketing
Selected Links for
Brent Rowell, Extension Vegetable
(last updated May 2005)
The following is a select list of websites containing an incredible wealth
of useful information of interest to commercial vegetable growers in Kentucky
and surrounding states. Remember that Internet addresses change frequently. If
you are typing these into a web browser, be sure not to
include the period at the end of an internet address--this simply indicates the
end of a sentence in the text below. Some of the addresses may have changed
since the last update. If you are
looking at this document in printed form, the interactive web version can be
accessed directly at http://www.uky.edu/Agriculture/Horticulture/veglinks.htm.
Use this information with caution and at your own risk. You should be very
careful about using any variety, fertilizer, or pesticide recommendation from
another region or distant state. Some pesticides may be legal only for use in
that particular state or production region. Varieties which perform well in
another state may or may not perform well in Kentucky. Refer to the current issue
of our Vegetable Production Guide
for Commercial Growers (publication ID-36) below for specific
recommendations for Kentucky.
UK College of Agriculture
The College of Agriculture's home page at http://www.ca.uky.edu/
provides links to most UK agriculture departments and their publications. The Horticulture
Department's home page at http://www.uky.edu/Agriculture/HLA/welcome.html
has most of our vegetable crop publications. Click on
"Commercial Horticulture” and “Vegetables". The
Horticulture Department pages also link to the New Crops Opportunities
Center at http://www.uky.edu/Ag/NewCrops/
which provides research updates, seminar schedules, and other information on
promising new crops for Kentucky including peppers and blackberries.
Information on tomato production in tobacco greenhouses can be
found by clicking on the "Greenhouse Tomatoes" link at: http://www.uky.edu/Agriculture/HLA/anderson/fl_prog.htm.
Be sure to check out UK's Ag. Weather
Center for an excellent source
of current and historical weather information. You can
link to it from the College home page or go directly to it at: http://wwwagwx.ca.uky.edu/
The University of Kentucky's
Vegetable Production Guide for
Commercial Growers (ID-36) is available online in either Acrobat
portable document (pdf) or html file formats. Using
the pdf version, you can print the entire document or
individual portions which will be identical to the original publication. Most
sites that use Acrobat/pdf formats will also tell you
how you can download the free Acrobat Reader utility you will need to read and
print these publications. Our Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial
Growers and many other UK
extension publications are available from the online publications page http://www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/pubs.htm.
Simply type “Vegetable Production Guide” in the search window. You can
also search for publications by author, department, publication number, or
program area. The production guide is a very long publication has been divided
into several sections for easier downloading and printing.
The html version is easier and faster to use on the Internet although the
printed format will be different from the original publication. You can go
directly to the html version at http://www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/id/id36/id36.htm.
In addition to ID-36, detailed production information and Integrated
Pest Management (IPM)
guidelines for Kentucky
sweet corn, cabbage, peppers, and pumpkins can be found in the Kentucky IPM
Manual series. These are now available in pdf format
Kentucky Fruit and Vegetable
Research Reports are also available online (since 1998); these
include results from vegetable variety trials conducted in the state and can be
found at http://www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/pubs.htm.
You can search by
publication number to to locate reports published
since 1998: "PR 410" (1998),
"PR 423" (1999) "PR 436" (2000), "PR 452" (2001),
“PR 470” (2002), “PR 488” (2003), and “PR
504” (2004). All these reports can also be accessed from the Horticulture
Department’s webpage, (http://www.uky.edu/Agriculture/HLA/welcome.html)
under “Commercial Horticulture” and “Vegetables”.
The companion to
our commercial vegetable crop production guide is the online publication Vegetable
and Melon Enterprise Budgets for Kentucky. This interactive publication
is available for downloading at http://www.uky.edu/Ag/NewCrops/vegbudgets08.html.
The Vegetable & Melon budgets include 17 common
vegetable and melon crops grown in Kentucky: broccoli, Cabbage, Fresh market Cucumbers, Trellised
Cucumbers for Fresh Market, Eggplant, Muskmelon, Okra, Bell Peppers, Jalapeño
Peppers, Fresh Market Potatoes, Pumpkins, Summer Squash, Winter Squash, Sweet
Corn, Staked Tomatoes, Seedless and Seeded Watermelons. These budgets reside in
a Microsoft Excel file. In addition to providing average costs and
returns for most vegetable crops with the default information provided, the
budgets allow users to enter their own cost and price figures to instantly
estimate their returns per acre. Instructions for
using the Vegetable & Melon budgets are included on the introduction and
table of contents pages of the spreadsheet. The budgets are also
available on the New Crops
website at http://www.uky.edu/Ag/NewCrops/vegbudgets08.html.
These budgets allow growers to quickly examine the effects of fluctuating
market prices on returns per acre. In addition to these crop budgets compiled
for Kentucky, links are provided to a large number of vegetable crop budgets
from a number of states at University of Florida's Southwest Florida Research
and Education Center site: http://www.imok.ufl.edu/liv/groups/economic/budglnks.htm.
New growers or tobacco
growers considering vegetable production,
should take a close look at UK's
publication Marketing Options for Commercial Vegetable Growers
New growers should also look at some of the horticulture publications from
Kansas State University at: http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/library/hort2/.
Farming a Few Acres of Vegetables (pdf
format) listed on this page is an excellent introduction together with Kansas
State's publications on
drip irrigation for commercial vegetables. Another excellent extension
bulletin on plastic mulch and drip irrigation is Georgia's
Plasticulture for Commercial Vegetable Production
extension has an excellent vegetable crops information site: http://www.ag.ohio-state.edu/~vegnet/
which includes a link to their production guide. Links to the extensive library
of OSU and other states’ extension publications on vegetable crops are
found at http://newfarm.osu.edu/crops/vegetables.html.
also has information pertaining to our geographical area; some of their
extension publications are available online at: http://www.agcom.purdue.edu/AgCom/Pubs/hort.htm#1.
Additional vegetable and other horticultural crop links from Purdue can be
found at: http://www.hort.purdue.edu/hort/ext/veg/.
These include a link to information on aromatic
and medicinal plants.
North Carolina State University's
Horticulture Information Leaflet series for fruits, vegetables, and postharvest information are available from http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/veg-index.html.
North Carolina also provides a
good source of information on many aspects of sustainable vegetable production practices for the south at http://www.cals.ncsu.edu:8050/sustainable/peet/.
North Carolina in cooperation with Kentucky and other states provides forecasts
for downy mildew on cucurbits (melons, pumpkins, cucumbers,
squash, etc.) at http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/pp/cucurbit.
For the latest downy mildew forecast, click on the year followed by the month
and the day. Links to a photo gallery of symptoms and control recommendations
are also provided at this site; however, Kentucky growers should also consult
the Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers (Publication
ID-36--see link under "General vegetable/agricultural information
sites" above) before using any new chemical control. Other states may have
special needs or emergency labels for chemicals that may not be legal in
The University of Florida offers a wide range of
horticultural information through its electronic distribution (edis) pages: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/.
Commercial vegetable information can be linked to from this page by clicking on
"Topic Areas" and then "Crops” followed by
“Vegetable Crops". Florida's extensive vegetable production guide
(SP170) is available from this site. Information is also available on plant petiole sap testing for nitrogen
nutrition using Cardy meters.
Southern Florida's Vegetable Transplant
Newsletter is available at: http://www.imok.ufl.edu/veghort/pubs/news/news.htm.
A list of Florida transplant
producers is available from: http://www.imok.ufl.edu/veghort/tgrowers.htm.
The University of Georgia
has an excellent publication on transplant production on the
web at: http://pubs.caes.uga.edu/caespubs/pubcd/B1144.htm.
Another transplant publication is available from Mississippi
Extension's information on fruits and vegetables is available from: http://www.ext.vt.edu/resources.
A wealth of greenhouse tomato production information is
available from Mississippi State University at http://msucares.com/crops/comhort/greenhouse.html.
Scroll down the page to find links to publications like The Greenhouse
Tomato Handbook, Starting Vegetable Transplants, and Fertigation: The
Basics of Injecting Fertilizer for Field-Grown Tomatoes. Links are also
provided to other sources of greenhouse production and pest management
Weekly vegetable IPM and other
Kentucky Pest News periodically has important articles on vegetable
pest and disease problems. Access the current and back issues of KPN at http://www.uky.edu/Agriculture/kpn/kpnhome.htm.
of Entomology also makes their vegetable insect publications (ENTFACTS)
available online which can be linked from the Dept. of Horticulture website or
Both the University of Illinois and Purdue University provide weekly
newsletters on pests and other information on fruits and vegetables during the
growing season. These are available at: http://www.aces.uiuc.edu/~ipm/news/fvnews.html
(Illinois Fruit & Vegetable News) and http://www.entm.purdue.edu/entomology/ext/targets/newslett.htm
(Indiana's Vegetable Crops Hotline).
Organic vegetable production
Organic vegetable growers can use much of the information on cultural
practices, resistant varieties, disease management, and insect management in
UK's Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers (ID-36) cited above
under "General vegetable/agricultural information sites". This
publication now includes a section on Organic Manures and Fertilizers for Vegetable Crops which
is also available at http://www.uky.edu/Agriculture/Horticulture/manures.htm.
This will help you convert the ID-36 fertilizer recommendations into equivalent
amounts of organic fertilizers. There are many other good books and references
that provide more of a systems approach to organic vegetable production. One of
the best comprehensive books on sustainable (including organic) vegetable
production is Sustainable Vegetable Production from Start-up to Market
available from http://www.nraes.org/publications/horticulture.html.
You will find a good synopsis of relevant books and extension materials on
organic production methods together with links to selected publications at http://www.msstate.edu/dept/cmrec/organic/organicresources.html.
Although these pages were compiled by Mississippi
much of the information is applicable to Kentucky.
USDA offers publications and other general information on organic food
production, sustainable agriculture, and community supported agriculture (CSA)
at the Alternative Farming
Center site: http://www.nalusda.gov/afsic. The
USDA’s National Organic Program
(NOP) at http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/indexIE.htm
provides links to new NOP standards.
The Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA) website has a number of online organic vegetable
production guides: http://www.attra.org/.
Look at the column of links on the left of the page to find
“Horticultural Crops” and then “Vegetables”. The University
of Florida also makes available
information on selected organic production topics at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ under
“Topic Areas”, then “Crops” followed by “Organic
provides good basic biological control (for insect pests)
information with links to other online biocontrol
resources at http://www.nysaes.cornell.edu/ent/biocontrol/.
Cornell also provides a link to a good publication on tillage equipment for
weed control on their Horticulture Department’s website http://www.hort.cornell.edu/extension/commercial/vegetables/index.html;
click on the “Online Resources” link.
For information on Kentucky
organic certification, go to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s
organic page at: http://www.kyagr.com/mkt_promo/wood/programs/organic/index.htm.
Here you will find all the necessary certification forms and links to other
sources of organic information.
Marketing and market prices
Most new growers and marketers should study UK's
Marketing Options for Commercial
Vegetable Growers (ID-134) publication available online at http://www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/id/id134/id134.htm
in both html and pdf formats. Written specifically
with tobacco growers in mind, this publication compares and
contrasts most of the available produce marketing options including direct
markets, produce auctions, cooperatives, local wholesalers, direct store
deliveries, chain stores, terminal market brokers, etc. Market channel
comparisons are made in a table with headings such as "difficulty getting
into the market", "compatibility with tobacco production",
"capital investments required", "price stability", and
others. A number of other marketing fact sheets and for vegetable and fruit
crops grown in Kentucky are
available from the Kentucky Horticulture and New Crops Marketing
website at http://www.uky.edu/Ag/NewCrops/marketing.html.
Terminal market (wholesale) vegetable prices can be easily
obtained from: http://www.agribusinessonline.com/.
Click on "Market Prices". This site also
provides fruit, flower, and herb prices when available and has links to other
sources of ag. information. USDA provides the same wholesale price
information and also specialty, auction, and farmers' market reports at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/fv/mncs/fvwires.htm.
ProduceLinks.com at http://www.producelinks.com/
claims to be the largest free list of produce and agricultural industry websites
in the world. This site may help you find new suppliers, customers, services,
and even recipes.
Today's Market Prices, a commercial site at http://www.todaymarket.com/, is perhaps
one of the most comprehensive. Its Market Price Service offers daily
terminal market wholesale prices from more than 30 market locations in the U.S.
and worldwide for all vegetables (and herbs) being sold on those markets. It
also reports Shipping Point Market Trends from major growing areas
with comments about supplies of different commodities. The site also has Green
Web Links (no charge) which will connect you to many other useful
agricultural websites. Subscriptions cost is $25/month ($240/year); free trials
Remember that these terminal market prices are the average prices at which
wholesalers at these locations are SELLING produce. If you plan on selling to
them, you can expect, on the average, about 15% less than the prices posted.
Prices will also vary from those posted based on supplies and quality at any
given time. Use these prices only as guidelines or to supplement other sources
To find out what's available from Kentucky
farmers' markets during the summer months, check out the new Kentucky
Garden Basket website at http://www.ca.uky.edu/gardenbasket/.
For wholesale prices
being received at North
regional farmers' markets, see http://www.agr.state.nc.us/markets/mktnews/vegetabl.htm.
This site also lists links to FOB prices from North Carolina and other southern
states. For descriptions and information about North Carolina's extensive
network of state and regional farmers' markets, see http://www.agr.state.nc.us/markets/.
Publications on facilities for roadside markets and produce handling for direct marketing are
available from http://www.nraes.org/publications/horticulture.html.
USDA now has all of its fresh fruit and vegetable grading standards
online at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/standards/stanfrfv.htm.
You may need to download Acrobat Reader (also available from this
site) to view these leaflets. Also, while you're checking out government
documents, take a look at the Economic Research Service's excellent Fresh
Market Tomato Briefing Room at: http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/Tomatoes/.
The USDA also hosts a Direct Marketing
Home Page at http://www.ams.usda.gov/directmarketing.
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture's innovative home
page can be found at: http://www.kyagr.com/.
Click on the “Ag Marketing” link on this page and then the
“Value-added Plant Production” link to go to the Horticulture
Division’s fruit and vegetable marketing programs including cost share
and grant programs for direct marketing and value-added. These pages provide
links the Kentucky Produce Shipper's Directory. This page: http://www.kyagr.com/mkt_promo/hort/programs/hort/Co-ops/cooperative.htm
provides contact information for Kentucky's
four vegetable marketing cooperatives.
An exciting program is the KDA's web page design and hosting service. The Department will help
eligible Kentucky producers build
their own website at no charge. For instructions on developing your web page,
go to http://www.kyagr.com/buyky/webbuild/index.htm.
Individual websites are linked under the producer's listing on pages like the KDA
Country Store at http://www.kyagr.com/buyky/cstore/cstore.htm.
For information on Kentucky
organic certification, go to the Kentucky Department of
Agriculture’s organic page at: http://www.kyagr.com/mkt_promo/wood/programs/organic/index.htm.
Here you will find all the necessary certification forms and links to other
sources of organic information.
Kentucky Farm Bureau's website at http://www.kyfb.com/
also provides a link to its map and directory of Kentucky Certified
Roadside Farm Markets for fresh fruit and vegetables: http://www.kyfb.com/federation/Member%20Benefits/roadside.asp.
Information on legislation and programs promoting agricultural
diversification in Kentucky can
be found at the new Commodity Growers Cooperative website at http://www.commoditygrowers.org/. A
good source of small farm direct marketing information can be found in past
issues of University of California's Small Farm News. Links to
previous issues and articles are found at the UC Small Farm Center site
at: http://www.sfc.ucdavis.edu/. You
can also order their excellent Specialty and Minor Crops Handbook
under links to “Publications” and “For sale
publications”. Also, for some great information on farmers' markets
(probably the best available), look at the University of Arizona's direct
marketing handbook. You can order it in loose-leaf notebook form or
print the portions you want at: http://ag.arizona.edu/arec/pubs/dmkt/dmkt.html.
Postharvest and food safety (including
handling, cooling, grading, packaging, etc.)
Some good information on containers and retail
weights of fruits and vegetables is found in Georgia's publication Weights and Processed Yields of Fruit and
Vegetables in Retail Containers
available online at http://pubs.caes.uga.edu/caespubs/pubs/
(scroll down the long alphabetical list to find it). While North Carolina State
has some postharvest information in its production leaflets at http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/veg-index.html,
the best sources are their excellent postharvest
commodity series publications posted at: http://www2.ncsu.edu/bae/programs/extension/publicat/postharv/index.html.
These include publications on precooling and
packaging requirements for vegetables.
Other crop-specific postharvest guidelines ("Produce Facts")
are available from the University of California
UC Davis also provides comprehensive information on chlorination
of produce and food safety. Go to their "Vegetable
Information Page" at http://vric.ucdavis.edu/veginfo/veginfor.htm, highlight "Food Safety" in the drop down
“Topics” menu. Chlorination and other documents are linked on the
right of the page. Additional information and resources are available from UC's Postharvest Technology
Research and Information Center
Some of the best information on food safety and good agricultural practices
for growers is available from Cornell
University at http://www.gaps.cornell.edu/. Check out
Safety Begins on the Farm—A Growers Guide under the
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services provides some information for
agricultural employers from their home page:
You can also download and print copies of I-9 forms from this
site at http://www.ins.usdoj.gov/graphics/formsfee/forms/i-9.htm.
The USDA has information on the H2-A guest worker program
and worker protection standards at this site: http://www.usda.gov/agency/oce/oce/labor-affairs/affairs.htm.
A more detailed publication on farm labor including migrant labor is the Ohio
Farm Labor Handbook, a summary of which is online at: http://ohioline.osu.edu/hrm-fact/0005.html.