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Diane Rowland, a crop physiologist with the UF Agronomy Department, and Elena Toro, agriculture Extension agent in Suwannee County, have been researching and working with growers on sesame production in Florida. Aside from drought tolerance, sesame offers other benefits including nematode resistance, pollinator diversity, and the potential to be an economically beneficial rotational crop in North Florida, where crop options are sometimes limited. After seeing the potential of the crop in UF/IFAS research trials, producers in the Live Oak area have begun growing sesame. Continued trials in Citra and Live Oak have helped Extension agents and growers become familiar with different sesame varieties, planting configurations, irrigation needs, and nutrient partitioning. In 2013, there were nearly 1,000 acres of commercial sesame planted by 15 growers in the Suwannee Valley. The average yields for the two varieties grown were between 720-800 lbs per acre at a contract price of $0.42/ lb. In 2014, on the more than 6,000 acres planted in the Suwannee Valley, contract prices for irrigated sesame increased from $0.42 to $0.50/ lb. -- Sesame Production: A New Crop for Florida / D. L. Rowland (Panhandle Ag e-News, 10/10/2014)


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