Grower Roy Petteway told fellow growers attending a recent grower roundtable meeting in Arcadia that his 400 acres of citrus groves in three counties are averaging production of 325 boxes per acre. That’s approximately double the production level of the average Florida citrus acre hammered by HLB, though far below pre-HLB production levels. Petteway grows fruit for processing in DeSoto, Hardee and Highlands counties.
“We’ve come up a long way in the last 5 or 6 years,” Petteway said in an interview following the roundtable meeting. “And we seem to be doing better every year … Every year for the last 4 years, we’ve come up a little every year, which is a great thing.”
Petteway attributed his production levels to having “changed a lot of our production practices. Number one, I think the use of antimicrobials is one of the cornerstones helping us. We’re also doing some mostly liquid fertilizer, and injecting a lot of the microelements … We’re just doing different things than we used to.” He says growing citrus used to be an easy thing to do, but now you’ve got to be in the grove just about every day.
Petteway concluded by saying, “I’m optimistic … Everybody needs to drink more orange juice, because it’s healthy and it’s good for you.”
The roundtable meeting where Petteway shared his thoughts was hosted by citrus Extension agent Steve Futch and Peace River Valley Citrus Growers Association Executive Director Kait Shaw.
Hear more from Petteway:
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