Several citrus growers attending a grower forum in Sebring last week said groves are looking very good even though fruit production is expected to be low this season. John Barben, a Highlands County grower and the new president of Florida Citrus Mutual, summarized the situation.
“Trees are looking good,” Barben said. “We had a lot of rain the last couple weeks … The whole season has been wet.” But he added that growers were starting to see fruit drop in early September. “Some of it (from) canker and some small greening fruit hitting the ground also.”
Barben explained why many are expecting low yields even though groves are looking good. “PFD (postbloom fruit drop) has raised its ugly head again this year … But we’re a lot more positive now about the crop than we were four or five months ago. There are a lot of PFD buttons on the trees, but there’s also fruit. We’ll know more next June about what that number (Florida’s citrus crop size) is going to be … One of the growers from down south said that his crop is very, very small. So it (PFD) has had an effect.”
The first grower forum of the new citrus season was hosted by Laurie Hurner, Highlands County Extension director and citrus Extension agent.
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