Grower turnout at recent citrus nutrition meetings and a fruit display exceeded University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) expectations, says Michael Rogers. Rogers, director of the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC), also provides an update on the search for a new member of the UF/IFAS plant breeding team.
Rogers says attendance at meetings where boxes containing leaf and soil sampling materials were handed out to growers was so strong that UF/IFAS added an additional meeting. That meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Nov. 8 at the Highlands County Extension office in Sebring; preregistration is required.
“This is the last chance to get the box … and get enrolled in the program,” Rogers says. He explains that the purpose of the meetings is to get growers to participate in the UF/IFAS sampling program for a year. Participating growers will work with UF/IFAS to fine-tune nutrition programs “so those groves can be more productive in the face of HLB,” Rogers says. He emphasizes that one nutrition program doesn’t work in all groves.
Rogers also reports that a strong crowd of approximately 70 attended the CREC Plant Improvement Team’s first fruit display of the season. He names the dates of additional fruit displays planned for the season. He says the displays, where new UF/IFAS varieties are shown and sampled, are beneficial to growers and UF/IFAS. “We get a lot back out of this in IFAS from these events, because grower feedback is really important for us,” he says. The meetings help UF/IFAS determine the varieties of most interest to growers. Sometimes, he says, growers really like varieties that weren’t on the top of the UF/IFAS list.
Finally, Rogers reports on the search for a new member of the UF/IFAS plant breeding team. The new hire will evaluate new varieties by working with growers in their groves. Rogers expects interviews for those selected as finalists for the job to be held in early December.
This interview with Rogers was featured in the latest episode of the All In For Citrus podcast, a joint project of UF/IFAS and AgNet Media. Listen to the full podcast here.
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