Ariel Singerman, economist with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, reports on a grower survey he conducted regarding use of bactericides against HLB.
“According to my survey, which included 62 growers accounting for approximately 160,000 acres, 92 percent of the growers applied bactericides,” Singerman says. “The majority did three applications, and they spent between $100 and $125 per acre.”
Singerman learned that many growers reduced other production programs so they could use bactericides. “Forty-five percent did cut other programs, mostly insecticides and dry fertilizer,” he says.
“Forty-nine percent said they did not see an increase in yields as a result of bactericide applications,” Singerman says. “Twenty-one percent said that they did not know yet whether they had a yield increase, and 30 percent said they did (have a yield increase). But only 5 percent out of that 30 percent said they had a control to compare it to.”
Singerman reports that 87 percent of those surveyed plan to use the products in the coming season. “This suggests that they are hoping that bactericides will have an effect over time,” he says.
Bactericides became available for grower use in the fight against HLB in the spring of 2016. The results of Singerman’s survey seem to be in accord with comments from growers who have discussed the products at public forums over the past year. Although many who have spoken in public have said they haven’t seen benefits from the products, most have indicated they will use bactericides again for at least another season. Numerous growers have indicated in the public forums that they have reduced other inputs, including psyllid control and nutrition programs, to make room for bactericides in their production budgets.
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