What information can you give me on growing rosemary commercially?
R.G.FloridaAnswer: Thank you for requesting information from ATTRA on field production of rosemary in Florida?as raw material for your nutraceutical extraction facility and for sales to the herbal and spices industry. Referenced below are some information resources to aid in decision making on this enterprise. Spain, France and Egypt are the largest producers of rosemary. Most of the rosemary for oil production is grown in France, Spain, and Tunesia. Within the past 15 years, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa have investigated the feasibility of growing rosemary commercially. Referenced is a feasibility study on greenhouse production of rosemary for the nutraceutical industry, prepared for the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Province of Alberta, Canada.Arthur O. Tucker, research professor at Delaware State University, co-authored The Big Book of Herbs. The section on rosemary provides an extensive description of cultivars. In zone 9a/b you have a wider range of cultivar choice than further north. University of Florida Extension has published a pest management profile for herbs, noting that 1. field production is concentrated in south Florida, and 2. fewer than 500 acres total (distributed between greenhouse and field) of all herb crops were being grown in 2005. Tucker notes that rosemary is susceptible to spider mites, mealy bug, whitefly (primarily in greenhouse production), and thrips. University of Ohio Extension notes problems with aphids, scale, root rot, and botrytis, as well. Web blight from Rhizoctonia solani may produce interior twig and branch blight. Root rot results from poor drainage. Pseudomonas syringae infection may produce a systemic “stem knot” that is difficult to control. Tucker’s suggestions for control rely primarily on sustainable strategies (p. 514), rather than chemical treatments.Resources:Bandara, Manjula. 2010. Rosemary Nutraceutical Industry Feasibility Study. Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Province of Alberta, Canada. 4 p. Mossier, Mark A. 2005. Florida Crop/Pest Management Profile: Herbs (Basil, Cilantro, Dill, Mint, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme). University of Florida IFAS Extension. 7 p. Staff. 2009. Rosemary Production: Production guidelines for rosemary. Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries Department, Republic of South Africa. 26 p. Tucker, Arthur O. and Thomas DeBaggio. 2000. Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis. The Big Book of Herbs. p. 512?527.