Grower Reports Good Bloom and Fruit Set

Ernie Neffcrop

HLB
crop

david howard

David Howard with Graves Brothers Company, headquartered in Vero Beach, says groves had a good bloom and good fruit set this year.

“It looks so far like we’ve been blessed with a nice spring fruit set,” Howard says. “We put a lot of effort into recovery after the storm (Hurricane Irma, in September). We had standing water in all of our properties for a significant amount of time, as well as the crop loss, of course. The effort seems to have paid off in the nutritional focus and the root health department. We’ve got a good bloom.

“We were blessed without too much rain to get by without PFD (postbloom fruit drop, which has been a major problem in some recent years). So I’m hopeful that we have a good crop this year. On the Southwest and the East Coast, things are looking good so far. So we’re keeping our fingers crossed and hope for the best for the rest of the season.”

Prior to Hurricane Irma, many growers were expecting one of the best citrus crops in several years for the 2017-18 season. But the hurricane knocked much fruit off of trees and heavily damaged many groves. As a result, crops this season declined further, as they have since the discovery of HLB in Florida in 2005.

Hear Howard’s comments:

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Ernie Neff

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large