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Providing science-based information to serve Hawaii's Farming Community

Hānaiʻ Ai

The Food Provider

September | October | November 2009  

Aloha Kākou


Welcome to the Winter 2009 issue of HānaiʻAi, the sustainable agriculture newsletter of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. The mission of HānaiʻAi is to provide a venue for dissemination of science-based information to serve all of Hawaii's Farming Community in our quest for agricultural sustainability.

Many exciting things have happened since the last issue. We are pleased to announce that Dr. Linda Cox has been appointed Interim Associate Dean and Director of Extension of CTAHR. Congratulations, Linda, and thanks for your continued efforts to promote the economic viability of Hawaii farmers.


We also welcome our new topic leaders Dr. Travis Idol (Agroforestry), Matthew Stevenson (Livestock and Pasture Management) and Dr. Nguyen Hue (Organic Amendments) as our newest topic leaders. They join Dr. Linda Cox (Business Management and Marketing), Dr. Jonathan Deenik (Soil Fertility), Dr. James Leary (Weed Management), Dr. Scot Nelson (Disease Management), Dr. Hector Valenzuela (Vegetable Production), Dr. Koon-Hui Wang (Agroecology), and Dr. Mark Wright (Insect Management).


Also in this issue, we are particularly happy to present the summary of results from the organic industry analysis initiated in 2007, and to announce the organic certification of three acres of land at the Waimānalo Experiment Station.

We hope you find this issue of HānaiʻAi useful, and welcome your input. Happy Holidays!


Feature Farmer

Tane & Maureen Datta

Adaptations, South Kona, Hawaiʻi


Area under production:

Our growing area is 8.5 acres; 1 acre in coffee, 3 acres in intensive production systems and the rest in orchards.


Years farming in Hawai'i:

Started close to 25 years ago


Crops grown:

Herbs, edible flowers, choi, eggplant, micromix, coffee, avocado, citrus, lettuce, poha; medicinal plants such as gota cola, awa and passion vine; squash, cinnamon


Fertility management:

Certified organic with "Organic Certifiers," compost, feather meal, rock fertilizers, silica sand


HOT TIPS from Tane & Maureen Datta

Farming is always a learning experience. To enjoy organic farming, valuing that you are an important link between the natural world and the ever growing human society, the independence and the freedom of the lifestyle along with economics is important. When farming gets discouraging consider modifying your crops or your production system or both.


Mahalo nui loa toTane & Maureen Datta for this interview and photos


Read More

Sustainable & Organic Research &

Outreach News

News from Hawai'i's Researchers and Extension

Fruit and Vegetable Quality: It Matters!

Ted Radovich,

University of Hawai'i at Manoa, CTAHR


Product quality determines marketable yield and often affects price so it has a direct impact on profitability. The exact definition of quality varies by commodity, which means you need to be aware of market standards for each commodity that you grow. This article examines the factors that influence quality and outlines things you can do to improve the quality of your produce.


READ the full article here article here


FMI: Ted Radovich, email: theodore@hawaii.edu

Variety Trial Information for Hawaiʻi

On-farm Variety Trials: A Guide for Organic Vegetable, Herb, and Flower Producer: The article specifically targets organic growers, but the principles are the same for all growers. Organic Seed Alliance.

Growing Your Business

Linda J. Cox,

University of Hawai'i at Manoa, CTAHR


Direct Marketing of Your Agricultural Products


Recent data indicates that farmers receive, on average, only 22.9 percent of every dollar spent on food in the US. As a result, producers may be considering direct marketing in order to increase profitability. Producers involved in direct marketing efforts are likely to incur additional costs, therefore, planning is needed in order to ensure that direct marketing will be profitable.


READ the full article here


FMI: Linda J. Cox, email: lcox@hawaii.edu

CTAHR Sustainable & Organic Research News

News from our researchers

Sunn Hemp.jpg

Managing Shade Trees for Coffee Can Benefit the Soil

Travis Idol and Adel Youkhana

University of Hawai'i at Manoa, CTAHR


Coffee farms often have shade trees that require trimming, which will produce pruning waste. Research indicates that the mulch produced from N-fixing trees improves soil quality and supports sustainable farming practices.


READ the full article here


FMI: Dr. Travis Idol, Email: idol@hawaii.edu; Adel Youkhana, Email: adel@hawaii.edu

Flashcards on Beneficial Insects for Hawaii Available

Mark Wright

University of Hawai'i at Manoa, CTAHR


Conserving beneficial insects such as predators, parasitoids and pollinators in an agri-ecosystem is fundamental to maximizing the effects of these organisms. Avoiding the use of broad-spectrum insecticides is the first step. Pest-specific insecticides (e.g. Bacillus thuringiensis for Lepidoptera pests) are useful in this regard.

Beneficial insects can be encouraged by implementing a number of cultural practices, including:

  • Companion plants that attract predators and parasites to flowers;
  • Cover cropping with plants such as sunn hemp and buckwheat;
  • Planting living mulches, like white clover with cucurbit crops - the cover crops reduce the ability of aphids to locate the crop, and encourage beneficial species;
  • Intercropping crops that have different pest species;
  • Intercropping with plants such as sunflower, which attract generalist predators.

Bear in mind that depending on biological control of pests means that you have to tolerate a presence of pests on your crop, albeit below a threshold that results in economic damage to your crops. It is important to be able to identify pests and beneficial insects, so that you can track what their populations are doing over time. These identification cards provide assistance with identifying some of the most commonly encountered beneficial species in Hawaii crops.

Flashcards Available for: Braconid Wasps, Encrytid Wasps, Hover Flies, Ichneumonid Wasps, Lacewings, Lady Beetles, Predatory Mites, Pteromalid Wasps, Trichogramma Wasps

FMI: Dr. Mark Wright, Email: markwrig@hawaii.edu


Strip Tilling and Row Shifting:

New Approaches of the Sunn Hemp Superhero Project


Koon Hui Wang and Cerruti Hooks

University of Hawai'i at Manoa, CTAHR


While cover cropping can improve soil health, conventional cover cropping requires valuable land to be sacrificed for a period of time without cash crop production. Sunn hemp cover cropping that involves strip tilling and row shifting can be used to avoid this problem.

Sunn hemp is grown for three months prior to planting the cash crop, flail mowed and strip-tilled into the soil as a green manure. Then the cash crop can be planted into the strip-tilled rows. The sunn hemp will suppress plant-parasitic nematodes, while serving as green manure. The remaining sunn hemp residues will remain as organic mulch between the cash crop rows to help suppress weeds and reduce soil erosion. After the first cash crop cycle, a second crop will be planted in the sunn hemp mulch (i.e. area between the initial cash crop rows). This row shifting technique will allow consecutive cash crop plantings in the same field without causing a buildup of plant-parasitic nematodes.


FMI: Dr. Koon-Hui Wang, Email: koonhui@hawaii.edu. Dr. Cerruti Hooks, Email: crrhooks@umd.edu

Breeding crops for sustainable pesticide-free production in Hawaii: History of sweet and field corns bred at CTAHR 

James L. Brewbaker

University of Hawai'i at Manoa, CTAHR


Plant breeding with selection for disease resistance reduces pesticide use and is of particular importance for sustainable and organic production. Dr. J. Brewbaker has spent more than 40 years breeding sweet corn at the University of Hawaii by incorporating multiple genes for disease resistance in a single variety or pyramiding using conventional breeding. This strategy was based on Dr. J. Gilbert's approach to breeding tomatoes and other vegetables. Disease resistant sweet corn and other vegetables developed by CTAHR breeders for sustainable production are available through the Agricultural Diagnostic Service Center's Seed Program.


READ the full article here


FMI: Dr. James Brewbaker, Email: brewbake@hawaii.edu

Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties: The Gardener's & Farmer's Guide to Plant Breeding & Seed Saving by Carol Deppe (Chelsea Green Publishing)

CTAHR Publications & Programs

for sustainable and organic production system


Overview of Organic Food Crop Systems in Hawai'i: Prior to 2007, the specific challenges faced by organic producers in Hawai'i were unknown. In that year, UH-CTAHR initiated an analysis of organic agricultural systems, in partnership with the Hawai'i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) and The Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation (HFBF), to determine the issues faced by this group and the actions required to address critical issues. This publication describes this effort, gives a summary of the results, and includes a discussion of the implications suggested by the analysis.



The Agribusiness Incubator Program assists agribusinesses in business-related areas such as business startup, business planning, marketing, accounting, and project analysis/management. They serve clients on all islands and have helped clients increase annual profit by an average of 360%.

Farmer Action Center, Kaneohe Extension Office On-line has information for commercial growers and backyard growers about agricultural programs, including newsletters and publications of interest to the Oahu farming community.

Video Resources


New Herbicides in Fireweed Management: Dr. James Leary, CTAHR Invasive Weed Specialist, conducts new field trials on windy Waimea ranchland, Hawaii Island, targeting fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis).


Utilizing Wet Blade® to control Fireweed: Dr. James Leary, CTAHR Invasive Weed Specialist, initiates a field trial at the Maui Horse Center targeting fireweed, Senecio madagascariensis. The Wet Blade® chemical delivery system is evaluated using herbicides with the active ingredients 2,4-Dichlorophenol, metsulfuron methyl and chlorsulfuron, and aminopyralid under high wind conditions.


Hawaii FarmerChef Channel at YouTube: Farmer Chef videos with Ken Love featuring interviews with Chefs Peter Merriman, Paul Heerlein and Bill Trask (leaders in the use of Hawaii grown produce) and local farmers Chuck Boerner (Ono Farms) and Richard Johnson (Onomea Farms).

CTAHR VIdeos: features titles such as Vog Damage on Selected Crops, Food Safety, and Harvesting and Packing Lychee, Longan & Rambutan.



Specialty Crops for Pacific Island Agroforestry 2007-2010. Eight new profiles available for download (.pdf) at http://agroforestry.net/scps/


  • Black Pepper (Piper nigrum): Dr. Scot Nelson, CTAHR and K.T. Cannon-Eger
  • Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis): Dr. Diane Ragone, NTBG
  • Coconut (Cocos nucifera): Dr. Mike Foale, University of Queensland, Dr. Hugh Harries, Royal Botanical Garden Kew
  • Coffee (Coffea arabica): Virginia Easton-Smith, CTAHR, Dr. Shawn Steinman, Craig Elevitch PAR
  • Giant swamp taro (Cyrtosperma chamissonis, syn. C. merkusii): Dr. Harley Manner, University of Guam
  • Kava (Piper methysticum): Dr. Scot C. Nelson, CTAHR
  • Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana): Dr. Yan Diczbalis, Dept. Primary Industries & Fisheries, Queensland
  • Moringa (Moringa oleifera): Dr. Ted Radovich, CTAHR


Edible Hawaiian Islands, quarterly magazine, celebrating the abundance of local foods in the Aloha State.


Local natural farmers visit Korea, learn from masters (Hawaii Tribune Herald)


Thirteen agriculturalists from Hawaii County visited South Korea for six days in October to learn about Korean Natural Farming. The group organized by the Hawaii Chapter of the Cho Global International Natural Farming visited numerous commercial farms including: zucchini, melon, tomato, kiwi, apple, persimmon, strawberry, bell pepper, rice, cattle, hog and poultry. "Korean Natural Farming saves 60 percent on costs because they make their own fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides from the materials and plants available from nature," said spokesman Eric Weinert, manager of a large papaya operation on the Big Island.

Western Region Sustainable Agriculture and Education Program (WSARE) 

Check out these and other great resources at the WSARE website.



Since 1988, the WSARE program has been supporting agricultural profitability, environmental integrity and community strength through grants that enable cutting-edge research and education to open windows on sustainability across the West, including Hawaii. The goals of WSARE are:


  • Promote good stewardship of our natural resources.
  • Enhance the quality of life of farmers and ranchers and ensure the viability of rural communities.
  • Protect the health and safety of those involved in food and farm systems.
  • Promote crop, livestock and enterprise diversification.
  • Examine the regional, economic, social and environmental implications of adopting sustainable agriculture practices and systems.

For more information, please https://wsare.usu.edu/ or contact Hawaii WSARE coordinator Dr. Ted Radovich at theodore@hawaii.edu.

This e-publication has been prepared by CTAHR research scientists and extension staff to deliver science-based information about sustainable and organic production systems to serve Hawaii's farming community.


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Mahalo nui loa,

Eric Collier, Education Specialist and Managing Editor

Dr. Linda Cox and Dr. Ted Radovich

Jody Smith, e-Extension Manager

Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Program

Cooperative Extension Service

College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources


The University of Hawai‘i is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.

Jody Smith | Web Manager | smithjos@hawaii.edu

Copyright ©2013 University of Hawai‘i - College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Updated 6 January, 2013


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