Keep Spraying Psyllids in HLB-Infected Groves

psyllids

  In a Citrus Expo talk, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences entomologist Phil Stansly focused on the importance of continuing to spray psyllids in groves already infected with HLB. The main reason to do that, he says, is to keep psyllids from re-inoculating trees with HLB by “pumping more and more…

Organic Management for HLB

citrus greening

By Jaci Schreckengost One of the topics researchers and growers discussed at the 2017 Organic Food & Farming Summit was what can be done organically to combat huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening disease. Florida Organic Growers hosted the summit in Gainesville. It featured many workshops in which researchers and growers could discuss challenges…

Putnam: Hurricane Relief Requires ‘Act of Congress’

Federal assistance for citrus growers in the wake of Hurricane Irma will be more problematic than following past hurricanes, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam told the Florida Citrus Commission on Wednesday. He explains why and updates reports about damage to the citrus crop. “The simple change from 2004-05 is that Congress in the intervening years…

California Navel Crop Declines Again

In a press release dated September 14, California Citrus Mutual (CCM) announced that the state's current navel orange crop is down about 7 million cartons. This is approximately 10 percent of total production and is the second year in a row crop production has fallen. The 2017-18 California Navel Orange Objective Measurement Survey released on…

Officials Survey Hurricane Damage in Florida

On September 18, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Congressman Tom Rooney ad Senator Marco Rubio flew in a helicopter to get an aerial view of farm damage from Hurricane Irma. Described by Rubio as an “agriculture catastrophe,” the storm ravished many Florida crops. Since many Florida vegetables were not…

Argentinian Lemon Import Lawsuit Update

Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice asked for dismissal of the lawsuit by California lemon growers challenging a new import rule allowing Argentinian lemons into the United States. The U.S. Citrus Science Council (USCSC), representing approximately 750 family citrus farmers, filed the lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in federal district court…

Hurricane Recovery Hotline for Citrus Growers

growers

As growers assess the damage from Hurricane Irma, University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) citrus specialists are available to answer their questions related to hurricane recovery practices for HLB-affected citrus groves. To provide answers as quickly as possible, the UF/IFAS Citrus Growers’ Hotline (863-956-8611) has been established for growers to call with their questions.…

Retaining High-Skilled Harvest Workers

By Skyler Simnitt, Gulcan Onel and Derek Farnsworth  In an environment where citrus is still mainly harvested by hand and skilled domestic workers are harder to employ, employers increasingly rely on the H-2A guest-worker program to establish and retain a reliable and efficient workforce. It is estimated that guest workers now account for 80 percent…

Hurricane Damage Reports Needed from Citrus Growers

Mike Sparks, executive vice president/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual, reports that his association is working with state and federal officials on a financial assistance program to support losses to the Florida citrus crop from Hurricane Irma. "We have been in constant communication with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), as well as…

Growers Report on Use of Bactericides for HLB

bactericides

Ariel Singerman, economist with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, reports on a grower survey he conducted regarding use of bactericides against HLB. “According to my survey, which included 62 growers accounting for approximately 160,000 acres, 92 percent of the growers applied bactericides,” Singerman says. “The majority did three applications, and…

Florida Citrus Commission Passes Emergency Rule

The Florida Citrus Commission (FCC) held an emergency meeting on September 14 in response to a request for emergency rulemaking from the Florida Citrus Packers Association to approve rule 20ER17-2, addressing the Soluble Solids to Anhydrous Citrus Acid Maturity Standards for grapefruit and oranges for the 2017-18 season. The following emergency rule passed unanimously by the…

Florida Citrus Faces Major Crop Loss After Hurricane Irma

Unfortunately, Florida citrus did not fare well in Hurricane Irma. Lisa Lochridge, public affairs director for the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, says from the reports that she has received, the largest produce impact was on the citrus industry. Hurricane Irma brought strong winds that stripped the fruit from many trees and caused major crop…

Highlands County Citrus Status After Hurricane Irma

A day after Hurricane Irma exited Florida, Ray Royce, executive director of the Highlands County Citrus Growers Association, said, "Early anecdotal estimates are that half to two-thirds of the crop is on the ground in our area." He says that from the little bit he has been out and around in the Central Florida Ridge,…

Peace River Citrus Damage from Hurricane Irma

Steve Smith, executive director of the Peace River Valley Citrus Growers Association, says he is getting a mixed bag of reports on Hurricane Irma damage from growers in his area. "Some growers are calling in with limited damage with a few pieces of fruit on the ground, and others are saying heavy damage and trees…

Hurricane Irma’s Effect on Indian River Citrus

The Indian River area on the East Coast apparently fared the best of all Florida citrus-growing regions hit by Hurricane Irma. "I'm hearing the vast majority of the crop made it through," says Indian River Citrus League Executive Vice President Doug Bournique. He thinks a maximum of 20 percent of the region's crop was lost.…

Hurricane Irma Damage Report from Gulf Citrus Growers

Ron Hamel, Gulf Citrus Growers Association executive vice president, says it has been difficult to reach area growers in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma due to the lack of power. At this point, he says, people are busy assessing the damage to the citrus crop and trying to get standing water out of groves. Hamel…

Hurricane Irma Damage Is Serious for Florida Citrus

As Hurricane Irma tore through Florida on September 10-11, all of the state's citrus-growing regions were affected to some degree. "There's no doubt we've had some serious damage," said Florida Citrus Mutual Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Sparks. "The amount of loss varies substantially from the various citrus-growing regions." In Florida's southwest…

What Is Happening to the Orange Juice Market?

orange juice

A historical perspective and current conditions are key to understanding what will happen to the orange juice market in the future if HLB-resistant trees are introduced. By Allen Morris Between 2001–02 and 2016–17, the Nielsen-measured retail U.S. orange juice market declined by 50 percent, Florida orange production declined by 70 percent and retail orange juice…

Navigating the H-2A Program

By Fritz M. Roka The number of H-2A foreign guest workers employed in Florida’s agricultural operations has grown from 4,400 in 2009 to nearly 23,000 by the start of the 2015 citrus harvesting season, more than a five-fold increase (Figure 1). More H-2A workers came to Florida in 2015 than to any other state. Industry…

Grower Jerkins Revises Stance on Bactericides

bactericides

At Citrus Expo in August, Premier Citrus President Tom Jerkins clarified comments about bactericides and their effectiveness that he made at the June Florida Citrus Mutual conference in Bonita Springs. “In Bonita Springs, I kind of stated publicly it was difficult for Premier to see a difference in the treated (with bactericides) versus untreated,” Jerkins…