After announcing at the August meeting of the Citrus Research and Development Foundation that the 2019–20 Florida Citrus Production Guide is now available, multi-county citrus Extension agent Chris Oswalt talked about tree and crop conditions. He summarizes his presentation in an interview.
“After all the rainfall we’ve had, and we’ve had quite a bit of good rainfall this past month … the trees themselves look good,” Oswalt says. “The crop seems to be sizing up fairly well for this time of the year. So things are rather, I think, optimistic at this point. We’ll see how things hang on the tree as we go into the fall.”
“I do notice when I go up on the Ridge that there are new groves starting to sprout up, so to speak, in different areas that have not had trees recently,” Oswalt continues. “And that, I think, is a testament to the overall feeling of some of those growers that they have a better handle on how we’re going to move forward with some of our new rootstocks (and) varieties … I’m assuming because they’re doing this they feel confident in the future.”
Many growers held off on planting new trees in the years soon after HLB was discovered in Florida in 2005, in part out of concern they may not be able to grow productive trees. “We didn’t have all the information that we have today from all the research that we’ve done with IFAS (University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences) and USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture),” Oswalt notes. He adds that many growers are now putting new research into practice “and some growers have fine-tuned and dialed-in on their production programs. And I think they’re feeling better than they did eight or 10 years ago, and they’re felling a little bit more confident about it.”
Hear more from Oswalt:
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