The Economics of Planting Density in the HLB Era

Ernie Neffplanting


ariel singerman

University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher Ariel Singerman led efforts to analyze the economic viability of planting at different tree densities under endemic HLB conditions. The analysis describes the establishment and production costs of a new grove for three tree planting densities under different market conditions.

“Excel files containing the analysis and a companion file describing the assumptions and results are free and publicly available for anyone to download,” Singerman says. “Once downloaded, the user can customize some of the estimates in the Excel files to make the analysis applicable to their own operation.” The Excel and companion files can be downloaded here.

Singerman, an Extension economist at the Citrus Research and Education Center, cited some key findings of the analysis. “Establishing a new grove with a tree density similar to that of the state’s average was found to be not profitable under current market conditions,” he says. “Moreover, such tree density only attains a modest return under potential higher prices. Despite the higher level of investment required for planting 220 and 303 trees per acre, the analysis shows that under the assumptions and scenarios analyzed, those investments yield higher returns and have the potential to be economically viable.”

According to Singerman, the results should prove useful not only to citrus growers, but also to other industry stakeholders and policy makers for designing new incentive planting programs as part of the industry’s response to deal with HLB.

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About the Author

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large