Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) President Larry Black discusses grower trial results indicating bactericides used for HLB infection did not increase citrus yields. The results were presented by CRDF staff at a recent meeting of the organization.
Black says numerous growers who were using bactericides for HLB volunteered to leave sections of their groves untreated. “CRDF staff went out and measured yield over the last two years, and unfortunately there was no positive response from the bactericides,” Black says. “The caveat is the use pattern that the growers used. There’s so much left to be learned about bactericides, particularly the spray application. But, unfortunately, there wasn’t positive news to report.”
CRDF staff indicated that while some bactericide-treated groves had higher yields than untreated groves, some untreated groves had higher yields than bactericide-treated groves. “The statisticians tell us it’s just not significant statistically, that there’s no positive response using the statistical measures that they evaluated the data with,” Black says.
Black says his own company has discontinued bactericide use as a result of the trial results. “We had continued bactericides through this spring, but in light of this data we have ceased bactericide applications,” he says. “We look forward to new innovations,” possibly including alternative bactericide delivery mechanisms.
Most Florida citrus growers reportedly applied bactericides on at least some of their groves over the last two years after the products were allowed to be used for HLB treatment. There were great hopes that the bactericides would counter the huge production losses that HLB has caused since being discovered in Florida in 2005.
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