Executive Resigns, Politics Exposed at SFWMD Board Meeting

Daniel CooperTop, Water

sfwmd

Soon-to-exit South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) governing board members offered parting comments at the SFWMD governing board meeting in West Palm Beach. The entire board was asked to resign and put under pressure to do so by Gov. Ron DeSantis and South Florida Congressman Brian Mast, who is advising the governor on agricultural and environmental issues. The resignations were … Read More

Grower Replanting Initiative Program for HLB in the Works

Ernie NeffHLB Management

According to Florida Citrus Mutual CEO Mike Sparks, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has given “concept approval” for massive Florida grower field trials to determine what existing research might work in the face of HLB. Many details of this Grower Replanting Initiative Program (GRIP) remain to be worked out. “This program is to take your existing research on HLB,” … Read More

Fungal Foliar Disease Concerns for 2019

Tacy CalliesDiseases

By Megan Dewdney The Florida citrus-growing seasons of 2017 and 2018 were quiet in terms of fungal foliar disease outbreaks. Small pockets of severe disease occurred sporadically, but there were no widespread reports of diseases like postbloom fruit drop, much to the relief of the industry. Greasy spot has flared up in a few locations on cultivars like Valencia, and … Read More

Important Food-Safety Requirements

Ernie NeffFood Safety

Mark Ritenour, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) post-harvest Extension specialist, provided updates about food-safety requirements at the recent Florida Citrus Show in Fort Pierce. His focus was on impacts fresh fruit growers and packers will feel from the Food Safety Modernization Act’s requirement that the Food and Drug Administration rewrite its Produce Safety Rule. Ritenour … Read More

Citrus Funding Could Remain Steady as Results Sought

Daniel CooperCitrus, Citrus Greening

citrus florida funding

Senate Appropriations Chairman Sen. Ron Bradley supports maintaining the current level of funding for the state’s citrus industry, as a decade of research about combating deadly citrus greening disease is applied more in groves. After hearing presentations Wednesday from citrus-industry leaders, Bradley, R-Fleming Island, said there “certainly” won’t be a drop from this year’s $23.2 million in funding. At the … Read More

Covers Protect Young Trees from HLB

Ernie NeffHLB Management

Individual protective covers (IPCs) on young trees have prevented HLB infection in one year of study, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) researcher said. Fernando Alferez, citrus horticulturist at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center (SWFREC), announced his promising results at the recent Florida Citrus Show in Fort Pierce. “They (IPCs) are protecting the … Read More

Automated System Under Study to Deliver Bactericides

Daniel CooperCitrus Greening, Industry News Release, Research

chemicals

Imagine using a robotic arm to grip and puncture the trunk of a citrus tree to deliver chemicals into the vascular parts of the plant, reducing its susceptibility to the citrus greening disease. Ozgur Batuman, an assistant professor of plant pathology at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), leads a team of researchers trying to … Read More

Developing New Greening-Tolerant Citrus

Daniel CooperCitrus Greening, Industry News Release, Research

greening

When Nian Wang pieces together sequences of genes, he hopes to make citrus varieties that are more tolerant to the deadly disease known as citrus greening, which has devastated a multibillion-dollar-a-year industry in Florida. Wang, a professor of microbiology and cell science with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), will help an investigation in which … Read More

Burns on HLB, Mechanical Harvesting

Ernie NeffHLB Management

HLB

Jackie Burns, who retired in January as dean for research at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), discusses HLB, mechanical harvesting and other citrus issues on which she worked. Burns was a long-time scientist at the Citrus Research and Education Center and later director of the center before becoming dean for research. Burns said going … Read More

Grapefruit, Tangerines and Tangelos See Small Changes in Crop Forecast

Daniel CooperCitrus, Crop Forecast

grapefruit

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released the January and February citrus crop forecasts on Feb. 8. January’s forecast had been delayed due to the government shutdown. JANUARYJanuary’s forecast showed a decrease in Florida grapefruit, tangelo and tangerine production compared to December. Grapefruit fell from 6.4 million boxes to 6.2 million boxes. Tangerines and tangelos dropped from 1.2 million boxes to … Read More

New Mandarin Gives Growers Advantages

Daniel CooperBreeding, Research

mandarin

Commercial citrus growers will soon see a new seedless mandarin variety that stays on the tree longer, two traits farmers seek, say University of Florida scientists. Marathon, an early season mandarin, is also easy to peel and tastes good, said Fred Gmitter, a professor of breeding and genetics at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). … Read More

Citrus Recovery Money Starts to Flow

Daniel Cooperfinancial, hurricane, Industry News Release

citrus

Florida is starting to distribute federal disaster-relief money that was approved last year to help the citrus industry after Hurricane Irma caused massive damage to groves. Jared Moskowitz, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, said Wednesday that the state recently awarded $14 million from a $343 million federal block grant for the industry and continues to process and … Read More

HLB Here to Stay

Ernie NeffHLB Management

Among other topics she discussed in her part of the latest All In For Citrus podcast, Laurie Hurner emphasized that HLB is here to stay. Hurner is the Highlands County Extension director and a citrus Extension agent. “At some point we do have to make the decision in the field, at the grower production level and at the higher levels … Read More

Deadline Extended for Submitting HLB Project Applications

Tacy CalliesHLB Management, Research

hlb

The Huanglongbing Multi-Agency Coordination (HLB MAC) group is extending the deadline for submitting project applications to Friday, March 8, 2019. Information on applying for funding, including the application template, criteria for evaluation and the submission process, is available on the HLB MAC site.  The HLB MAC funds applied research projects that are likely to deliver a useable tool in the … Read More

Brown Rot Basics

Ernie NeffDiseases

canker

Plant pathologist Megan Dewdney with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences discussed the basics of brown rot and its control at a recent disease seminar in Immokalee. Approximately 60 growers and others attended the seminar held at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center. Brown rot is especially prevalent in early-season citrus varieties. “It’s particularly problematic … Read More

California Growers Reach Drinking Water Accord with State

Len WilcoxCalifornia Corner

Coalitions of San Joaquin Valley growers created to help comply with water quality regulations have reached a settlement agreement with the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). The coalitions include the Kaweah Basin Water Quality Association, Tule Basin Water Quality Coalition and Kings River Watershed Coalition Authority. As part of the agreement, the coalitions will install kiosks to ensure safe drinking … Read More

Industry Encouraged to Support Miss Florida Citrus Program

Tacy CalliesPublic Relations

Citrus industry members are invited to attend the Miss Florida Citrus and Miss Winter Haven pageant on Saturday, March 23 at 7:00 p.m. at Polk State College’s Winter Haven Fine Arts Theatre. Tickets are available for $10 in advance at http://www.missfloridacitrus.net/ or $15 at the door. “The pageant is a Miss America preliminary pageant, which means that the two contestants … Read More

Department of Citrus Receives $550,000 in USDA Funding

Tacy CalliesIndustry News Release

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a $200 million award to 57 organizations through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program to help the nation’s agriculture community identify and access new export markets. The Florida Department of Citrus was one of the specified organizations and is set to receive $550,000 in funding to promote citrus in various new markets. Commissioner Nicole “Nikki” Fried shared, “We’re thrilled the USDA has provided this opportunity … Read More

Growing 325 Boxes of Citrus per Acre

Ernie NeffCitrus

orange

Grower Roy Petteway told fellow growers attending a recent grower roundtable meeting in Arcadia that his 400 acres of citrus groves in three counties are averaging production of 325 boxes per acre. That’s approximately double the production level of the average Florida citrus acre hammered by HLB, though far below pre-HLB production levels. Petteway grows fruit for processing in DeSoto, … Read More