Growers Get Details on CRAFT Cycle Two

Ernie Neffplanting, Research

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CRAFT

Approximately 60 people learned how to participate in Cycle Two of the Citrus Research and Field Trial (CRAFT) program via a virtual workshop held June 23-24. The application period for Cycle Two will be July 20 to Sept. 4, 2020.

CRAFT offers growers substantial financial incentives to plant new trees that will be raised utilizing specific HLB mitigation strategies. Participating growers will be compensated for conducting field trials over six years.

Forty-six growers who signed up for CRAFT Cycle One were supposed to have new trees in the ground by June 30. That date has been extended for several who were unable to get trees from nurseries in time to plant by June 30. In Cycle One, growers planted 2,032 acres of new trees, with 1,641 acres solid set and the rest in resets. Cycle One participants were to receive up to $3,400 per acre of plantings. Read more about Cycle One.

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By the end of Cycle Two, CRAFT aims to have growers plant a total of 5,000 acres of new trees. Oranges, grapefruit and mandarins can be grown. CRAFT intends to have 90 percent of the planted trees producing fruit bound for juice and 10 percent of the trees producing fruit for the fresh market. Those percentages reflect the approximate breakdown of Florida fruit currently grown for juice and fresh.  

The recent workshop was conducted primarily by researchers with the Citrus Research and Development Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Researchers with those agencies will be overseeing the HLB mitigation strategies utilized in the CRAFT plantings.

Each CRAFT participant must select from one to three HLB mitigation factors to field test from a group of six factors. Those factors are rootstock/scion combinations, soil/tree fertility and nutrition, pest and disease management, biostimulants, planting density and “other.” As an example, growers choosing to test rootstock/scion combinations would use six specified scions and 12 specified rootstocks in specific combinations.

The workshop spelled out how data, which must be made available for research purposes, will be collected in each planting. Growers themselves will collect some of the data.

The CRAFT program aims to benefit the citrus industry by helping provide long-term growth and sustainable groves across Florida.

Learn more about CRAFT.

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About the Author
Ernie Neff

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large