More than 100 growers from Florida and Georgia gathered at the Cold-Tolerant Citrus Production for the Southeastern Coastal Plain educational event on Dec. 13.
Bob Hochmuth, director of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Science’s (UF/IFAS) Suwannee Valley Agricultural Extension Center, introduced the event, which was held at the center.
Morning presentations by UF/IFAS speakers included information about fertilization and food safety.
Tom Obreza presented information from the second edition of “Nutrition of Florida Citrus Trees.” He, along with Kelly Morgan, co-edited the publication. Obreza also discussed the importance of doing soil and leaf analysis. With this information, growers can know exactly what to change to help their crops flourish.
Peter Andersen spoke on cold-tolerant varieties available to growers. He discussed the level of cold tolerance different varieties have as well as which varieties could benefit growers most. Various citrus varieties were available for attendees to examine and taste.
During his presentation, Andersen advised growers to wait until spring to assess all damage caused by cold weather in their groves. There could be damage the grower is unable to see until the following year.
Dan Fenneman presented information on food safety, including the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA). He discussed the changes that growers must undergo due to FSMA and the compliance deadlines. Visit https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/default.htm for more information on FSMA.
Jake Price, of the University of Georgia, spoke on spray program considerations. He discussed how issues such as spider mites, citrus scab and citrus greening each play a role in the different spray regimens that need to take place.
Growers then were able to partake in tree planting and spraying activities. The event concluded with a walking tour of the center’s research grove.
Due to the increasing interest in the north Florida citrus industry, the research center is planning similar events to give growers the information they need for a successful crop.
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