Update on Approval of Bactericides for HLB

Ernie NeffBactericides, HLB Management

HLB
bactericides, HLB

Harold Browning

Many Florida citrus growers consider the bactericides that they’ve been applying this year to be their best hope in the fight against HLB. Temporary use of the bactericides was approved this spring by Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam. The industry is seeking Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approval for continued use of the products. Harold Browning, chief operations officer of the Citrus Research and Development Foundation, provides an update on the EPA effort.

“Two things are in play,” Browning says. “The first one is we’ve submitted the paperwork for recertification of the Section 18. That would allow us to begin use of them (bactericides) in the new year with the same plan, the same products and the same kind of details that we had during 2016. And we’re hopeful that we’ll hear on that before the turn of the calendar year.”

Browning adds that the registrants of the three bactericides being used against HLB have submitted full packets for EPA registration, and the review is underway. “That time is ticking toward when we have a full registration for use, not only here in Florida but across citrus in the U.S. I’m optimistic that we’re going to have these products for the next season.”

Some citrus growers have indicated that trees sprayed with bactericides this year look better than they have in other recent years. But many also acknowledge it has been a good growing season with good rain, and that trees may have looked better anyway, with or without the bactericides. Other growers have said they can’t tell a difference between trees that are treated with bactericides and those that aren’t. Some scientists have cautioned that it will likely take at least a couple of seasons of bactericide use to show substantial improvement in tree health and fruit yield.

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About the Author
Ernie Neff

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large