The value of bactericides and Asian citrus psyllid control were some of the major issues that growers discussed at a forum in Sebring on May 11. Laurie Hurner, Highlands County Extension director and citrus agent, summarizes the discussions.
Hurner reports that one grower will say the bactericides seem to be working against HLB, while another says they see no tree improvement. “It’s frustrating because when we got the bactericides introduced, we all worked really, really hard to get that done,” she says. “A lot of the organizations in the state went out on a limb and fought to get those ready for us to use. And I’m afraid that some of the growers thought that was a silver bullet that was going to be an answer. I like to consider these kinds of things perhaps an additional boost, but certainly not a silver bullet … One of the things you heard this morning was, we didn’t spend money on other things, perhaps, because we added bactericides to the mix, and we haven’t seen the results … And maybe we got hurt in some ways by not keeping those other things in our production program.”
The level of control of HLB-spreading psyllids has become a hot grower topic in recent months, with many asking why they should control psyllids when HLB is already in all groves. Those who addressed the topic at the Sebring forum said they continue to aggressively control psyllids. “I was very encouraged to hear some major growers say that we’ve got to control psyllids in order to stay in business, in order to stay ahead of this thing,” Hurner says. “There’s no catching up once you get behind in psyllid control … It’s a fight well worth fighting, and we’ve got to continue, I think, in order to be successful.”
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