New HLB Research Facility in Riverside

By Len Wilcox There's a new research facility funded by California citrus growers to help combat huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening disease. The facility, located in Riverside, California, is the result of a 3-year cooperative effort of the University of California, Riverside (UC Riverside) and California citrus growers. Using funds provided by members…

Fruit Set Good, but ‘We’ve Got a Long Way to Go’

fruit

Hardee County citrus grower John Roy Gough says he’s pleased with his fruit set so far this spring, “if I can just hold them. That’s the key to it, is holding them (fruit) on there … Of course you can’t count your chickens until they hatch, and we’ve got a long way to go.” Gough…

Citrus Greening, CRDF and the National Academy of Sciences

HLB

Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) Vice President and Governance Committee Chairman Rick Kress comments on a recent National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report regarding HLB and CRDF. He says NAS reported that CRDF has pursued all angles on HLB, also known as citrus greening, and declared there won't be a single solution or cure.…

Peach Fruit Fly Pest Alert for Florida

peach fruit fly

A male peach fruit fly, Bactrocera zonata (Saunders) (Tephritidae), was captured in a fruit fly detection trap on May 9 in Lake Worth, Florida, in Palm Beach County. A second male was captured about 1.25 miles away, also in Lake Worth on May 10. This is only the second time that this pest species has…

Study Shows Economic Impact of Citrus in California

The total economic impact of California’s citrus industry is $7.117 billion according to a new study commissioned by the Citrus Research Board (CRB). “In updating our economic analysis, we selected a well-known expert, Bruce Babcock, Ph.D., a professor in the School of Public Policy at the University of California, Riverside, to conduct the research. His…

Be Counted: Turn in Your Ag Census

Florida producers are encouraged to turn in their Census of Agriculture when they receive it in the mail. Because Florida is so agriculturally diverse, it is crucial for producers to participate so the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) can account for each crop grown. The national return rate is currently lower than it was at…

FDOC: Budget and Mission for Next Season

The Florida Citrus Commission approved a preliminary 2018–19 budget of $17.645 million dollars for the Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC). FDOC Executive Director Shannon Shepp discusses the budget and the department's mission. "We have a net increase in the budget of about $409,000" compared to the current 2017–18 budget, Shepp says. She notes that about…

The Possibility of Tea Production as a Citrus Alternative

By Breanna Kendrick Fourth-generation citrus grower James Orrock is a plant pathology graduate student at the University of Florida who is studying tea as a possible alternative crop to be grown on former citrus land. “The citrus industry is having to go through some changes, so one of the key aspects of Florida agriculture right…

What Is CRISPR and What Does it Mean for Citrus?

By Fred Gmitter, Yi Zhang and Jude Grosser It is very likely that you have heard about the use of CRISPR technology and its great potential for addressing human health issues, as well as the promise it holds for providing solutions for major agricultural challenges, particularly for huanglongbing (HLB) in citrus. Granting agencies are supporting…

Growers Discuss Production Levels

production

The level of fruit production in groves was one of the major topics discussed at a citrus grower roundtable meeting on May 15 in Wauchula, Florida. Several growers said their per-acre production increased this season, but one said he had huge production declines. One grower said his Valencia crop doubled. Another said he had a…

Five Questions for Republicans Running for Florida Agriculture Commissioner

agriculture commissioner

By Gary Cooper, Founder and President of AgNet Media, Inc. The three Republican candidates for Florida Agriculture Commissioner presented their views to approximately 200 attendees at a recent Candidate Summit Luncheon near Orlando. Coldwell Banker Commercial Saunders Real Estate organized and hosted the event in conjunction with its  10th annual Lay of the Land Conference, which…

Gulf Citrus Growers Association Accepting Applications for New Administrator

hamel

The Gulf Citrus Growers Association’s (GCGA) Executive and Long-Range Planning Committees recently announced that the association is now accepting applications for the organization’s executive vice president/general manager position. The GCGA leadership is actively engaged in the search for the association’s next top administrator. The position will be vacated in late September by Ron Hamel, who…

Irma Citrus Relief Package Moving Forward

irma

Florida Citrus Mutual (FCM) is thankful U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue recently unveiled additional details about the Florida Citrus Irma Relief Package. The package will total $465 million and will include the Wildfire Hurricane Indemnity Program (WHIP) at $125 million and a block grant program at $340 million. WHIP will be administered by the U.S. Department…

Florida Lemon Grower Shares Experiences

lemons

Lemon grower Mike Litvany shares his experience growing lemons for the past 20 years in North Central Florida. Litvany has been in the Florida citrus industry since 1975. He says, “What happened to the Florida citrus industry has happened to me; it’s all pretty much disappeared.” His 20-acre lemon grove is 7 miles south of…

Florida Citrus Forecast Sees Slight Decreases

florida citrus crop forecast

The 2017-2018 Florida all-orange forecast released by the U. S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA/NASS) on May 10 is 44.95 million boxes, down slightly from the April forecast of 45 million boxes. The total includes 18.95 million boxes of non-Valencia oranges (early, midseason and Navel varieties) and 26 million boxes of Valencia…

University of California Scientists Identify New Citrus Disease

A new disease of citrus has been found in the Central Valley of California. According to a report published in the University of California’s (UC) Topics in Subtropics newsletter, several growers and nurserymen in various orchards in the Central Valley first noticed the disease in 2013. Symptoms include leaf chlorosis, crown thinning, gumming, dieback, and…

Tools for Temporary Gene Expression in the HLB Battle

By Amit Levy and Choaa El-Mohtar When thinking about genetic engineering, the first thing that comes to mind is usually GMOs (genetically modified organisms) In a GMO, a plant genome is engineered to include additional genetic sequences, usually genes with some useful activity that give the plant an advantage. This method is called a stable…

Crafting Details of the Florida Citrus Hurricane Recovery Block Grant

irma

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a $340 million block grant that will go toward Florida citrus growers for Hurricane Irma losses to production expected during the 2018 through 2020 crop years. It includes reimbursement for the cost of buying and planting replacement trees – including resetting and grove rehabilitation – and…

Citrus Growers Needed for Survey Participation

Ariel Singerman, University of Florida assistant professor, will be conducting his annual production cost survey for processed oranges grown in Southwest Florida. The survey will consist of grower meetings in two locations. The first meeting will take place on May 18 at 9:00 a.m. at the Hendry County Extension Office (Dallas Townsend Ag Center) in…

A Talk on the Fresh Side

fresh

Greg Nelson, president of Egan Fruit Packing in Fort Pierce, Florida, summarizes the status of the fresh citrus industry and discusses opportunities for the future. “We’ve seen a slight decline in fresh orange consumption over the past 20 years, but a more significant, dramatic decline in fresh grapefruit consumption,” Nelson says. “But a lot of…