Update from The Desk of Chris Oliva

An AG RX Pest Control Adviser (PCA) wearing protective gear in the process of treating a citrus grove

Welcome to another edition of the AG RX newsletter.  We are busy everywhere as I am sure you are as well.  Avocados all along the coast are being sprayed for thrip activity.  If all the fruit holds it looks like it will be a banner crop.  Citrus continues to be sprayed for ACP and the new schedule has been released for the fall and winter schedules.  Strawberry and celery season are coming to a close in Oxnard but Santa Maria is beginning to really roll and get busy.  No matter what obstacles are thrown our way, the spirit of the farmer keeps churning along.

We are getting some positive results on a couple of new products that we have brought in and tested.  Grozyme is one that can be applied foliar or through irrigation.  We notice improved zinc levels when using this product.  Cool Terra is another product we have been working with and have seen some nice increases in yield when applied with pre plant fertilizer on strawberries.  Ask your AG RX PCA about these products and there is also an article on Grozyme in this newsletter.  Another change we have made is we no longer carry Honcho Plus which is no longer manufactured and was replaced with a more expensive Honcho K6.  We now carry Gly Star Plus which has the equivalent label as Honcho Plus.  Ask your AG RX PCA if you have any questions on this product.

Looking at the internet today and I came across an article.  “7 of your favorite foods might be going extinct”, one of which was avocados.  Apparently it takes 72 gallons of water to make 2 medium sized avocados.  Here we go again.  Wasn’t it 1 gallon to make an almond?  The article goes on to say that since the majority of America’s avocados are from California and that we are trying to grow them in a drought, well it might be time to say goodbye to guacamole.  Never mind that Mexico has more than enough to keep everyone happy.  It also stated that was enough water for four average American showers. Well that 72 gallons also leads to something else.  Those avocados turn into income not just for the grower but his workers, companies like ours, produce companies, restaurants, grocers, truckers and on and on.  Which leads to a tax base, which leads to money for communities.  It also helps us pay the salaries of our politicians.  I like California avocados and almonds.  I hope folks in Sacramento like them too.

We hope you enjoy the newsletter and as always thank you for your business.

I AM AG RX- Craig Harris

AG RX is very fortunate to have Craig as a PCA. He brings years of experience on many different crops. He is committed to making sure his customers get the service they deserve. His enthusiasm for his job contagious and contributes to why he is respected and loved by his co-workers. Thanks Craig for bringing your “A” game everyday.- Chris Oliva

Photo: Craig (former AG RX PCA) is pictured smiling

  1. What is your background?

I grew up in Ventura then went to high school in Alta Loma. Went to Cal Poly Pomona and studied Ag Biology. Worked for Olocco in Santa Maria walking vegetables for 12 years then came to Ventura County. Married Karen in 1992. I have 2 dogs and 1 horse.

  1. How did you get started in this business?

Rode around with my dad, he was a fieldman and that got my interest going. Started in Blythe checking cotton. Upon graduating from Cal Poly Pomona I went to work in Santa Maria.

  1. What are some of your greatest challenges you face in the field?

Interface with the public. Getting harder and harder to spray around population centers. Challenging to control all the newer pests we have. Logistics are always hard. Everyone always wants their work done first.

  1. What are your favorite aspects of your job?

Working with a good team. Working outside. Freedom to plan and manage my day. Teaming up with customers to get them profitable through smart solutions.

  1. What are some of your interests?

Fishing, Mountain biking and horseback riding.

Asian Citrus Psyllid in Ventura County Citrus Update

 Photo: Agronomist David HoldenDavid Holden

It has been almost nine years since the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) was first found in California.  At that time I predicted that it’s expansion into the citrus industry in our state would not be like that as it had occurred in Florida  a few years earlier. In Florida it was first found in 1998 and by 2000 was spread throughout 31 citrus producing counties of Florida (https://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/citrus/acpsyllid.htm). The obvious differences throughout the two states in climate with wind (hurricanes), temperatures, and humidities would preclude it from advancing as fast in California as it did in Florida.  This prediction has proven to be correct, but we did not anticipate that it would move so freely along transportation corridors as we moved fruit from one district to another for packing.  In hindsight we should have predicted this possibility.  Our more temperate weather in the interior San Joaquin valley has also help to reduce it’s rapid spread.  A more normal winter as we experienced this past season also reduced overwintering populations considerably.

With all this being said, am I concerned about the presence and spread of this pest?  I sure am!  Huanglongbing (HLB) disease (the citrus killing disease associated with ACP)  was first discovered in the San Gabriel valley in Los Angeles county in 2012 (https://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74155.html).  Slowly but surely it is expanding it’s territory in Los Angeles and Orange counties and we need to be vigilant to slow that expansion down as researchers look for solutions to stopping the effects of this pest and it’s associated disease.

Recently the Ventura County ACP-HLB Task Force updated many of us with the progress in the fight of these two pests.  My walk away highlights from the meeting are in the following bullet points:

  • Population densities were very low this past winter and early spring (from December to May).
  • ACP is much harder to control in the fall than in the spring or early summer
  • The lower temperatures of winter helped to kill the nymphal stage of the ACP along with hardened off winter leaves not providing a source of food for the young nymphs.
  • Treatment threshold levels for ACP was established at finding 1/2 nymph per flush of citrus when inspecting for it.
  • When looking for this pest, heavier populations are quite often found in the southeast sections of the orchards and it tends to be in the border regions heavier than in the interior of the orchard. Effective border treatments are key to controlling this pest.
  • The use of Actara in the fall and Danitol in the winter seems to provide the best control for the adults and nymphs of this pest.
  • It may take two fall treatments to knock this pest down below threshold levels.

We in the citrus industry in Ventura county have done an amazing job keeping this pest in check.  Let us not give up the fight as we go through this 2017 season.

Closeup of an adult Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri Kuwayama

Product Highlight- GroZyme

Micronutrient Spray

GroZyme is a proprietary product that is being used in growing regions across the United States improving plant growth and increasing crop yields for over 35 years.  GroZyme is produced through a series of organic processes in large covered, temperature controlled, stainless steel vessels referred to as “bioreactors”.  This process uses natural, non-genetically modified microbes, native to fertile soils to create the fermentation product.  At the end of the process, the complex is reduced to a stabilized inanimate nature, allowed to settle and then aged for up to one year. 

Closeup of fresh growth in a sunny California citrus groveAPPLICATION GroZyme can be introduced through use of drip tape, in furrow or through any normal watering systems assuring that it reaches the root structure of the plants.


  • Strawberries – Results averaging 34% increases in trays per acre over 3 separate trials over two consecutive years 2014 and 2015.  With the winter of 2017 Oxnard trials almost completed, it appears that the same results have been replicated a fourth time.    
  • Broccoli Multiple cut dates in 2014 – 2015 averaged 20% increased weight per head, 10% increase in diameter of head and 9% more harvestable heads.
  • Potatoes Average harvest weight increase of 15.6% with significant increases in higher quality / grade potatoes
  • Lettuce – Average of 11% increase in cartons per acre
  • Citrus Combined average of 9% increase in yield on trials with lemons and mandarin oranges.
  • Avocados 1st year of a two-year trial noted significant increased uptake in zinc as compared to grower standard with no difference in levels of zinc in soil in the tested areas.    


GroZyme studies have found that crops treated with GroZyme have seen significant increases in uptake of Zinc into the plant where there have been no differences of zinc levels in the soil.   


These results are very significant.  The foundation of a good grower fertility program coupled with the application of GroZyme can help achieve maximum potential gains from your crop production efforts. 


Larry Guidotti Retires from AG RX

Photo: Larry Guidotti (pictired in the middle) retires from AG RXSometimes, saying goodbye is an easy thing to do.  Other times it is not.  In fact, it can be downright difficult.  Well, in the case of Larry Guidotti’s retirement, it is one of those times when it is tough.  Don’t get me wrong, I am—and everyone at AG RX is—truly happy for Larry and wish him nothing but the best in the next chapter of his life.  I am sure he will enjoy his days at home in Nacimiento, visiting his family and friends wherever they are, and ministering to those in need.  And that makes me happy.  Larry deserves it!

For those of you who may not know, Larry (pictured in the middle) worked for NH3 Services and AG RX for a total of 26 years; and when I say he worked, I mean he WORKED!  Larry walked the fields, he was a great leader around the office, and he was instrumental in AG RX’s success in the Santa Maria valley.  Larry, your customers and everyone at AG RX will miss you!

Shortly before Larry announced his retirement, Greg Baldwin (pictured on the left) and Larry discussed the future.  They both recognized the importance of Larry’s customers to AG RX.  So they formulated a plan, and Greg made the decision to go back to the field to do what he loves to do—work with growers.  It didn’t take Greg long to pass the manager baton to Troy Schlundt (interim manager).  In fact, I think he was out walking the fields a week before the announcement was even made.  That was great to see!

Best of luck to the both of you!

On the Road with AG RX- Fillmore Agroponics

For this issue AG RX visited Fillmore Agroponics.  We were met by Scott Beylik, the owner, who gave us our tour.  The business was started in 1971 by his father and grandfather.  Fillmore Agroponics grow tomatoes and cucumbers in a soil-less media in three green houses.  The media they use is derived from coconut shells.  They are able to get 2 crops out of the media.  Fertilizer is injected each time they irrigate.  The tomato plants are roughly 100 days old when harvest begins and the plants last about 10 months.  As the plants grow taller they are strapped to growing strings and once they reach a certain height the growing point is lowered.    There are basically no bees in this controlled environment, so they will use a leaf blower to move around the pollen.  Something to do all the time, labor, labor, labor.  All the produce, cucumbers and tomatoes, are sold at farmers markets from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles.  The plants are grown in a controlled environment.  The temperature and humidity are monitored by computers which will make adjustments through fans and heating tubes.  This also helps with disease and pest control.  They do deal with russet mite and occasionally white fly as well as mildew and botrytis.  Pythium was also a problem, but they have been able to control by using MicroGain, a biological product.

It was a great tour of their operation and extremely interesting.  Thank you Scott for spending time with us and showing us your beautiful crops grown with hard work and devotion.

Did you know AG RX carries- GlyStar Plus

A jug of GlyStar Plus is pictured, a 4# per gallon glyphosate generic herbicideGlyStar Plus is a 4# per gallon glyphosate generic herbicide. We recently switched from carrying Honcho Plus to GlyStar Plus due to Monsanto no longer making the Honcho Plus. GlyStar Plus has the same 41% Glyphosate active and labeling as the Honcho. If you have questions on this product please talk with your AG RX PCA.

I Grow with AG RX- Scott Beylik

Scott Beylik crouches to inspect hydroponic tomatoes growing in his grownhouse in Santa Barbara Scott Beylik runs Fillmore Agroponics and Beylik Farms in Fillmore. He grows hydroponic tomatoes, cucumbers and other field crops to sell at the local farmers markets from Santa Barbara down to Los Angeles. AG RX supplies Scott with custom blended fertilizer and pest control products.

  1. How did you get started in this business?

The business was started in 1971 by my Dad and Grandfather.  Started with tomatoes and then went to European cucumbers and then went back to tomatoes.  In 1987 started selling products  at farmer’s markets.

  1. What are some of your greatest challenges?

Consistant production to match farmer’s market customer needs.  No where to outsource excess product.  Managing pests can also be challenging.

  1. What concerns you most?

Water, labor/minimum wage, workers comp.

  1. What agricultural groups are you a part of?

Fillmore School Board, Ag Leadership, Fillmore Irrigation Board, FFA Boosters, Fillmore School Farm Ag Advisory, Rotary, Volunteer Fillmore Fire Foundation, Boy’s and Girl’s Club Board member.

  1. What hobbies/activities do you like to do in your spare time?

Dodgers, nonprofits, supporting Fillmore community.

  1. What does AG RX do well?

Customer Service.  Amazed at fertilizer mixing plant turnaround.

  1. Where does AG RX need to improve?

Keep up the great customer service.

  1. If you were not farming what would you be doing?

Ag teacher, local politics, something that allows me to make a difference.

AG RX News

AG RX will now be posting all of our newsletter articles to this page so that our growers can search content and have easy access to this important info. Please look for articles in the coming weeks. Thank you

A farmer inspects fruit for signs of disease or parasites in a California citrus grove