Adding Weed Management Tools

Ernie NeffHerbicides

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

Tacy CalliesGrapefruit

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

Ernie NeffCitrus Greening, Genetic Engineering, HLB Management

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

Kayla MercerCitrus

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

Ernie NeffNutrition

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?

Tacy CalliesDiseases, PFD

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

Pathologist to Tackle HLB and Other Diseases

Ernie NeffCitrus Greening, HLB Management, PFD


Ozgur Batuman, a new citrus plant pathologist at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center, discusses the diseases he’ll work on. “I am planning to of course tackle some of the more pressing issues that citrus growers are facing these days, one of them being huanglongbing (HLB), and confronting its vector, Asian citrus psyllid,” he says. He will also research … Read More

‘It’s Not a Pretty Picture,’ Industry Leader Tells State Senators

Ernie NeffCitrus Greening, Legislative

bactericides survey

On February 21, leaders of three key Florida citrus organizations acquainted the Florida Senate’s Agriculture Committee with the issues facing the citrus industry. They summarize their presentations: “It’s not a pretty picture,” says Florida Citrus Mutual CEO Mike Sparks. He describes the huge production losses and increased costs that HLB disease has created. “Right now our whole future revolves around … Read More

Sneak Peek: March 2017 Citrus Industry Magazine

Tacy CalliesSneak Peek

The March issue of Citrus Industry magazine will help growers find funding sources for improvements to best management practices (BMPs). It also describes the impact the water bill is having on implementation of BMPs. Growers will want to read University of Florida professor Kelly Morgan’s article that details future changes to BMPs that are coming. Ground cover management can improve … Read More

Soil Microbiologist Discusses Work

Ernie NeffHLB Management, Research

HLB, microbiology

Sarah Strauss became a University of Florida soil microbiologist at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center at Immokalee in late May 2016. She discusses the ways she hopes to help citrus growers. “There’s a lot of exciting things in soil microbiology,” Strauss says. “There’s a lot of new technology that we didn’t have just five years ago. And so … Read More

Micronutrients for Root Health and HLB

Ernie NeffCitrus Greening, HLB Management, Nutrition


University of Florida researcher Jude Grosser, best known for his work on citrus breeding, has become a champion of micronutrients to improve root health and battle HLB. At a recent Highlands County OJ Break, he discussed the use of micronutrients, including why he got involved. “I guess just like any farmer, you don’t like watching your plants get sick and … Read More

Continuing a Legacy of Leadership

Tacy CalliesCitrus, Citrus Greening, Citrus Health Management Areas, Regulation

By Tacy Callies Callie Walker comes from a long line of Florida farmers. In 1875, her family set up homestead in Alva. Her father, uncles, grandfather and great-grandfather have been involved in a diversity of agricultural fields including citrus, cattle, sugar cane, vegetables and row crops. “My dad and his three brothers still run the family operation — citrus and … Read More

Brazilian Discusses Postbloom Fruit Drop

Ernie NeffPFD


Geraldo Silva, a scientist with Fundecitrus in Brazil, shared thoughts about postbloom fruit drop (PFD) and its control at a recent seminar in Arcadia. Silva says Brazilians assume that the PFD inoculum is present in groves at all times, because consecutive days of rain can bring on a PFD outbreak 10 years after a previous outbreak. “We can have a … Read More

Kakkar Joins UF/IFAS Extension as Invasive Insect Specialist

Daniel CooperPests, Research

by Robin Koestoyo, UF/IFAS Garima Kakkar is joining the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) to help the state fight invasive pests. Kakkar, an expert in invasive insects, is a multi-county Extension agent based in St. Lucie County. Kakkar has a diverse range of experience in managing pest insects, and will now serve growers in the … Read More

Why Florida Orange Juice Is Best

Ernie NeffFlorida Citrus Commission


In a recent Florida Department of Citrus video, citrus grower and Florida Citrus Commissioner Ned Hancock told why he thinks Florida orange juice is the world’s best orange juice. He summarizes the reasons for that belief: “I think one is the climate that we’re in is greatly different than some other regions. We are more subtropical and citrus is, I … Read More

Citrus Harvester Survey Reveals Changes in Labor Force

Tacy CalliesLabor

University of Florida researcher Gulcan Onel recently provided a first look at data she gathered from surveying 307 Florida citrus harvesters in 2016. She debuted her early research findings at the Florida Agricultural Policy Outlook Conference on February 9 at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center. While she noted that the data is still being further analyzed, she shared … Read More

New Indian River Researcher to Aid in HLB Fight

Ernie NeffHLB Management, Irrigation, Nutrition

HLB, irrigation, nutrition

Rhuanito “Johnny” Ferrarezi, a new citrus horticulture scientist at the Indian River Research and Education Center near Fort Pierce, discusses his research plans. “I’m going to be focusing on irrigation, plant nutrition and cultural practices to improve our current practices and try to maximize plant survival under greening conditions,” he says. Most of his attention will be on Indian River … Read More

Florida on Cusp of Potential PFD Season

Ernie NeffPFD


The timing was perhaps impeccable for a seminar in Arcadia on February 8 that focused on postbloom fruit drop (PFD). Rain had fallen on Central Florida the night before, and some bloom is already on trees. That combination of rain and bloom has led to major PFD outbreaks in recent years. “There’s some bloom out there already,” says University of … Read More

Non-Valencia Oranges Cut to 35.0 Million Boxes

Daniel CooperCitrus, Crop Forecast

florida citrus

Mark Hudson, USDA/NASS, Washington D.C. offered the February citrus crop forecast. The forecast of non-Valencia production is lowered 1.00 million boxes to 35.0 million boxes. Size and Drop components were final last month. The Row Count survey conducted January 26-27, 2017, showed 72 percent of the early-mid-season rows, and 83 percent of the Navel rows are harvested. Estimated utilization to … Read More