A University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) official announced at Citrus Expo that UF/IFAS will fund “starter kits” for nutrient sampling.
Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC) Director Michael Rogers says the kits will allow for leaf and soil sampling in a 20-acre block for a year. Growers can get the starter kits at meetings slated for Oct. 8 at the CREC in Lake Alfred, Oct. 23 at the Indian River Research and Education Center in Fort Pierce, and Oct. 29 at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in Immokalee.
The sampling offer is “part of a new citrus nutrient management program that IFAS is rolling out this fall,” Rogers says. The starter kits will “help growers customize their fertilization programs to the needs of their individual groves … We’re seeing a lot of citrus groves turn around” with yields and overall grove health improving as a result of fertilization programs.
“Growers are pretty desperate to become more efficient with their fertilization use because if … fruit prices continue to drop, we’re going to have to be more efficient with using things like fertilizers that cost money,” Rogers says. The goal is to help growers turn around their groves, making them more productive and profitable.
As part of the program, UF/IFAS specialists and citrus agents will work with growers to sample leaves and soil four times per year in order to receive nutrient analyses and recommendations. Growers can use the recommendations to adjust fertilization programs to keep their groves healthy despite the presence of HLB.
Rogers says the program should show growers how easy it is to customize their fertilization programs, with the expectation “that more and more folks will do that on their own.”
Hear more from Rogers in this interview with Citrus Industry Editor Tacy Callies:
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