From HLB Grower Day: Cutting Psyllid Control Costs

Ernie Neff Economics, HLB Management, Psyllids

HLB Grower Day

Michael Rogers, right, with HLB Grower Day attendees

Approximately 200 Florida citrus industry members attended the HLB Grower Day on April 21 at the Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC) in Lake Alfred. Speakers summarized scientific presentations made at a recent international HLB research conference.

Michael Rogers, an entomologist and director of the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences CREC, discussed control of the Asian citrus psyllids that spread HLB.

“Growers are very interested in finding ways to cut costs right now since their yields are declining,” Rogers said. His first cost-cutting tip was to coordinate sprays with neighbors, an activity many Florida growers are already practicing through citrus health management areas. Rogers said the area-wide spray effort “has been very effective in reducing overall psyllid populations when growers work together to coordinate the timing of their sprays. The nice thing about coordinated sprays is often they’re done with airplanes or helicopters, and that actually reduces the cost of application dramatically. So in those coordinated sprays, you get better psyllid control at a much cheaper cost per acre.”

Rogers continued, “Other things that can be done: Border sprays in areas where growers may not be able to coordinate their sprays with neighbors or there’s absentee growers, focusing their sprays on those hot spots that just pop up routinely. They probably know where those are and they can focus more efforts there.”

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Tacy Callies

Editor of Citrus Industry magazine