The Economics of Mesh Bags

Ernie NeffEconomics, HLB Management

mesh bags
The use of mesh bags, also known as individual protective covers, can reduce chemical use on young citrus trees.
Ariel Singerman

Numerous Florida citrus growers have recently put mesh bags over individual young citrus trees to exclude HLB-spreading Asian citrus psyllids. A topic title at the 2019 Florida Citrus Growers’ Institute asked whether the practice is profitable. The presentation was made by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences economist Ariel Singerman.

“The answer to the question of whether they’re (mesh bags) profitable or not is it depends,” Singerman said. “There’s still a lot of uncertainties about some of the variables involved.” The variables include fruit yield, fruit price, the cost of the bags and the labor involved in installing and removing them.

“There’s also the savings that growers can achieve by using the bags,” Singerman said. “They save on the chemicals that they would otherwise put on the tree.” Those chemicals include insecticides for psyllids.

Singerman said growers who spend a lot on grove care in terms of chemicals would save much by using the bags.

“The purpose of the presentation was to show them (growers) how to make those calculations and figure it out on their own,” Singerman said.

Hear more from Singerman:

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About the Author

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large