Viruses in the Gut of Asian Citrus Psyllid: Friends or Foes?

Tacy CalliesPsyllids, Research

By Ozgur Batuman and Amit Levy Management options for huanglongbing (HLB) are limited and rely heavily on insecticides for controlling Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) populations, even when integrated with other cultural control methods. Chemical strategies are expensive and, if not rotated, can contribute to the development of chemical resistance among ACP populations. In some cases, long-term chemical applications may have … Read More

California and Florida Collaborate on HLB Research

Len WilcoxHLB Management, Research


University of California, Riverside (UCR) professor Georgios Vidalakis recently provided an update on the state of California citrus for researchers in Florida. Vidalakis is a noted professor and Extension specialist in UCR’s Microbiology and Plant Pathology Department. Among other honors, he was recently named Presidential Researcher for Sustainable Citrus Clonal Protection. Vidalakis pointed out that California has benefited greatly from … Read More

Cover Crops Bring HLB Recovery

Ernie NeffCover Crops, HLB Management

About eight years ago, Ed James had given up on a grove that was ravaged by HLB in the Howey-in-the-Hills area. “I had abandoned the grove,” he says. “I was going to fix the soil to plant alternative crops. And when I started fixing the soil with cover crops, the trees turned around and started producing again.” On Nov. 15, … Read More

Three Appointed to the Florida Citrus Commission

Daniel CooperFlorida Citrus Commission, Industry News Release

(FLGOV) — Governor Ron DeSantis announced the appointments of Paul Meador, Steve Johnson and William “Bill” Poulton to the Florida Citrus Commission (FCC). The FCC is dedicated to overseeing and guiding the activities of the Florida Department of Citrus, conducting a variety of industry programs and regulating the quality standards of citrus grown in Florida. Paul Meador Meador, of Fort … Read More

Grower Likes UF Mandarin Varieties

Ernie NeffVarieties


Dozens of Florida citrus growers and other industry members sampled new University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) citrus varieties Nov. 14. The samplers tasted many pieces of fruit as well as some juice from new fruit at the Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC) in Lake Alfred. Those participating in the sampling carried clipboards with lists … Read More

Thinking Hemp? Have a Business Plan

Ernie NeffAlternative Crops

Jeff Sharkey, executive director of the Florida Hemp Association, moderated a panel discussion on federal and state hemp policy at the recent Florida Industrial Hemp Conference and Exhibition in Orlando.  “Getting the (hemp) application and licensing is reasonably straightforward,” Sharkey says. “The Department of Ag (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services) wants people to be successful.”  Sharkey says his … Read More

Court Says State Should Pay in Citrus Fight

Daniel CooperCitrus, Industry News Release


(NSF) — In a legal battle that started in 2003, an appeals court Wednesday upheld a ruling that directed the state to pay more than $13.6 million to Lee County homeowners whose healthy citrus trees were cut down amid an effort to halt the spread of citrus-canker disease. A panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected arguments that … Read More

Psyllid Management: Organic and Conventional Systems

Tacy CalliesPests, Psyllids, Research


By Jawwad Qureshi Management of the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) is needed in multiple environments, such as organic and conventional production systems and urban areas. However, the tools and approach may be different depending on the circumstances. Chemical control is the primary method used in commercial production to reduce psyllid populations, but the increased use of insecticides negatively affects the … Read More

Growers Prepare for Winter Weather With UF/IFAS Extension

Daniel Coopercold protection, Industry News Release, Weather


(UF/IFAS) — University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Extension will educate growers on how to protect their crops and prepare for cold weather at the upcoming Winter Weather School. This year, the event will address winter crop protection for citrus, blueberries and ornamental plants; all of which need cold protection during severe weather. “While we have … Read More

Evaluating Fresh Mandarins and Oranges

Ernie NeffFresh


Mark Ritenour with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) reports on evaluations of new fresh mandarin and sweet orange selections. Ritenour is a professor at the Indian River Research and Education Center in Fort Pierce. Ritenour lists four mandarin varieties that had “100 percent healthy fruit” after six or seven weeks in storage, even without being … Read More

Staying in Citrus Came Naturally

Tacy CalliesScholarship

Helping manage their father’s business — Phillip Rucks Citrus Nursery in Frostproof, Florida — was an easy career choice for Levette Rucks and her brother, Phil Rucks Jr. “I feel it’s in my blood,” says General Manager Levette, who earned a master’s degree in accounting at the University of Florida in 2013. “When I was growing up, my dad (Phil … Read More

Varieties Update: OLL-20 and Bingo

Ernie NeffVarieties


Fred Gmitter provided an update at Citrus Expo on University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) citrus varieties, including OLL-20 and Bingo. Gmitter is a UF/IFAS citrus plant breeder and geneticist at the Citrus Research and Education Center. Gmitter said OLL-20, a new sweet orange, has “exceptional flavor characteristics … It looks to be something that could … Read More

Upbeat Hemp Update

Ernie NeffAlternative Crops

Holly Bell, director of cannabis for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, provides an optimistic update on the future of hemp in Florida. Bell spoke at the first Florida Industrial Hemp Conference and Exhibition held Nov. 3–5 in Orlando. Following her presentation, she talked with Southeast AgNet’s Tacy Callies. According to Bell, growing hemp in Florida became legal … Read More

Reintroducing White Grapefruit to the U.S. Market

Daniel CooperGrapefruit, Industry News Release


(IMG) — IMG Citrus, a family-owned, vertically integrated citrus grower, packer and shipper in Vero Beach, Florida, is reintroducing white grapefruit to the U.S. market. Most white grapefruit is exported directly from the United States to its primary market in Japan, where it maintains consistently high popularity. However, IMG Citrus will be expanding its white grapefruit consumer base to the … Read More

Sample the Latest Citrus From UF/IFAS

Daniel CooperIndustry News Release


(UF/IFAS) — As citrus growers, packers, processors, gift-fruit shippers and others taste, feel and smell the latest varieties from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), they hope their taste buds explode with flavor and that a fresh aroma fills the room at the Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC). These participants will get two more … Read More

Citrus Oversupply Latest Hurdle for Florida Growers

Daniel CooperIndustry News Release


(NSF) — Hurricane Irma continues to challenge Florida’s citrus industry. Two growing seasons separated from the September 2017 storm that flooded groves and uprooted citrus trees across the state, the industry has seen production rebound quicker than some anticipated. But now the problem is an oversupply of citrus because of fruit from other countries, and Florida growers may be forced … Read More

Long-Horned Beetle Update

Ernie NeffPests

University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) entomologist Lauren Diepenbrock provides an update on the long-horned beetle, the newest Florida citrus pest. The beetle was discovered in a Hendry County grove in September. Diepenbrock reports that a grove crew worker “hit a branch and the branch fell right off.” After finding a hole in the branch, the … Read More

Aiming to Improve Production of Florida Grapefruit

Daniel CooperGrapefruit, Industry News Release

(UF/IFAS) — Dinesh Phuyal, who is pursuing a master’s degree in horticultural sciences from the University of Florida’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, recently garnered a prestigious Yara North America Crop Innovation Scholarship. The award is Phuyal’s fourth academic honor this year for his efforts to improve Florida grapefruit tree size, fruit yield and fruit quality. Phuyal studies higher … Read More

Citrus Rootstock Guide Updates Available Online

Daniel CooperIndustry News Release, Rootstocks

citrus trees

(UF/IFAS) — Florida’s citrus growers may now access the updated Florida Citrus Rootstock Selection Guide, which is more user- and mobile-friendly. Revisions include current University of Florida rootstock horticultural traits, three new rootstocks that tolerate citrus greening and an updated bibliography. “The fourth edition of the Florida Citrus Rootstock Selection Guide has a new look and information for a comprehensive description … Read More

Dantzler on Forecast and CRDF Research

Ernie NeffCRDF, Crop Forecast


Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) Chief Operating Officer Rick Dantzler discusses the recent Florida citrus crop forecast and new CRDF research projects. Dantzler says the orange forecast of 74 million boxes was “a little lower than I thought it was going to be, but it’s about in line with what most growers thought … I think the good news … Read More