The Texas Psyllid/HLB Experience

John da Graca, director of the Texas A&M University Kingsville Citrus Center in Weslaco, was among hundreds attending the International Research Conference on HLB March 15-17 in Orlando. He summarizes the Texas industry’s experience with HLB and the Asian citrus psyllids that spread the disease. “Psyllids arrived (in Texas) about 2001,” da Graca says. “At the time it wasn’t seen … Read More

Safeguarding Citrus Stock

By Georgios Vidalakis On March 30, 2007, I received a memorable phone call in my office at the University of California (UC), Riverside. “Georgios,” said the caller, “The 2008 Farm Bill will establish the National Clean Plant Network (NCPN) for specialty crops. This program will be like no other because it will be driven from the ground up. The system … Read More

Mutual President Summarizes Legislative Issues

legislative issues

Florida Citrus Mutual President John Barben summarized Mutual’s efforts at the state and federal levels during the recent Highlands County Citrus Growers Association annual meeting in Sebring. “We talked a little bit about going after our (state legislative) funding for this year – for CRDF (Citrus Research and Development Foundation), for New Varieties (Development and Management Corp.) – trying to … Read More

Blight Research Update


Ron Brlansky, a University of Florida professor emeritus, spent much of his career at the Citrus Research and Education Center researching blight, and he’s still working on it. He discussed efforts to obtain funding for more research at a recent seminar in Lake Alfred attended by about 20 people. “We have a virus that’s associated with it (blight) now,” Brlansky … Read More

Hall of Famer Sparks Credits Teams for Success


Florida Citrus Mutual Chief Executive Officer Mike Sparks, inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame on March 10, lists a group of teams that contributed to his success. “You’ve got to look at the big groups, no one individual – the citrus commissioners, past executive directors at the Department of Citrus, professional staff, growers, Mutual’s board of directors, Mutual’s … Read More

Hall of Famer Ellis on His Influencers and the Future

hall of famer jim ellis

Recent Florida Citrus Hall of Fame inductee Jim Ellis of Bartow credits “God, my parents, my family and the members of the Florida citrus industry” for his success. Ellis was inducted on March 10, along with Florida Citrus Mutual CEO Mike Sparks and the late T. Ralph Robinson, in ceremonies at Florida Southern College in Lakeland. “My passion is to … Read More

Citrus Agency Hopes for Rebound After New Forecast


The Florida Department of Citrus is hoping for a better second half of the growing season after the latest decline in projections for the state’s orange and grapefruit harvest. Meanwhile, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said a 4 percent drop from February to March in the forecast from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is another sign of the effects of deadly … Read More

Grower Optimism on Tree Health

Nutrition, PFD

Several growers participating in a forum in Sebring on March 9 said trees are looking better this year than last year. They also agreed that postbloom fruit drop (PFD), a major problem last season, has not yet been a big issue this season. Grower Aaron Himrod of Himrod Citrus Nursery, a forum participant, says good tree condition and high fruit … Read More

Wonderful Citrus Acquires Major Fruit Marketing and Import Business

Media Contact: Steven Clark 310-966-3517 Significant Supply and Distribution of Counter-Seasonal Citrus Products and Domestic Grapefruit Added to America’s Largest Integrated Grower, Shipper and Packer of Fresh Citrus DELANO, CALIFORNIA, and FORT PIERCE, FLORIDA (February 1, 2017) – Wonderful Citrus, America’s largest integrated grower, shipper and packer of fresh citrus, has purchased DNE World Fruit, the largest citrus marketer … Read More

Orange Forecast Drops for Florida and California

The citrus crop forecast, delivered by Mark Hudson of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service in Washington, D.C., showed a 4 percent drop in Florida oranges and a 2 percent drop in California oranges. In total, the U.S. all-orange forecast for the 2016-2017 season dropped 3 percent from last month and is down 13 percent from … Read More

Soil Improvement with Organic Mulch

By Jim Hoffman This article is about my experiences with incorporating organic mulched materials into select areas of groves at Estes Citrus in the Indian River region. Our citrus groves consist of bedded, 40-acre blocks where it is common to have three or four distinct soil types in each block. Unfortunately, we have several sand-pond areas that have a history … Read More

New Highlands President on PFD, Psyllids and More

Psyllids, PFD

Billy Barben, new president for the Highlands County Citrus Growers Association (HCCGA), says he is optimistic that new fertilizer programs and future genetic trees “will give us hope in the future.” Barben, whose brothers, Bobby and John, have also served the association as president, says, “I’m more of the dirt guy in my family.” As a grower, he has opinions … Read More

Crime Fighting, Property Values Are Highlands Issues


Ned Hancock, who recently stepped down as president of Highlands County Citrus Growers Association (HCCGA), discusses key issues the association faced in the past year and some coming in the future. Hancock says a major accomplishment last year came in concert with new Highlands County Sheriff Paul Blackman. Blackman “has made a significant commitment to patrol the agricultural community and … Read More

Finger Lime Could Be New Crop for Citrus Growers

By Manjul Dutt, Ethan Nielsen and Jude Grosser The finger lime is a citrus relative, scientifically named Microcitrus australasica. Finger limes are native to Australia and are so named because the fruits are long and fingerlike in shape (see figures 1 and 2). Finger limes belong to a group of similar citrus relatives, all originating from Australia with common names … Read More

Adding Weed Management Tools

weed management

“I’m in the process of information gathering now,” says Ramdas Kanissery, a new weed scientist at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center (SWFREC) in Immokalee. “I’m traveling to several groves and looking at the weed problems.” A trained agricultural chemist, Kanissery began working at the SWFREC at the end of October 2016. His expertise is in understanding the fate, … Read More

South Korea Could Be a Lucrative Market for Florida Growers

By Brad Buck, 352-294-3303, GAINESVILLE, Fla. — How about grapefruit as a dessert or snack? That is how many South Koreans, especially younger ones, view the fruit. Therefore, Florida grapefruit growers may want to expand their shipments to that Asian nation, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) researchers say. UF/IFAS researchers are doing a series … Read More

An Update on Breeding Against HLB

HLB, breeding

University of Florida researcher Jude Grosser recently discussed a broad range of research aimed at mitigating the effects of HLB during an OJ Break in Sebring. Among topics he covered are the possibility of windbreaks that kill HLB-spreading Asian citrus psyllids, and progress on trees that are HLB resistant or tolerant. Regarding psyllid-killing windbreaks, he says, “We do have a … Read More

Georgia Citrus Association Holds First Annual Meeting

The Georgia Citrus Association held its first annual meeting in Tifton, Georgia today. The association’s president, Lindy Savelle, said the meeting was a huge success. The Georgia Citrus Association began in October with 27 members. Since then, the association has grown. Savelle says that there were over 275 people in attendance for the meeting. There were also 21 vendors and … Read More

The Importance of Soil Sampling

leaf, water analysis

Agronomist Oscar Ruiz with Waypoint Analytical, one of the key presenters at a recent soil testing seminar in Sebring, discusses the importance and basics of soil sampling. “Soil testing is very important,” Ruiz says. “It gives you a baseline for your general soil fertility at the beginning of the cropping cycle. Based on that soil report, you can gauge approximately … Read More

Will You Be Ready for Postbloom Fruit Drop?

By Megan M. Dewdney Again in 2016, postbloom fruit drop (PFD) caused widespread problems in Florida groves. There were multiple factors that contributed to the outbreak in 2016. The primary factor was likely the extended bloom that many saw because of a combination of tree stress caused by huanglongbing (HLB) and the very warm winter. Bloom in some groves was … Read More