Researchers looking into the possibility that the old Parson Brown orange might fare better than Hamlins in the face of HLB will be funded by the Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF). CRDF Chief Operating Officer Rick Dantzler said the organization agreed to fund the project for $53,000 during its December meeting. The funding had been under consideration for several months and was recommended by the CRDF’s Research Management Committee.
“We’ve noticed that there are a number of Parson Brown groves in the state that are doing better than Hamlin groves right next door,” Dantzler said. “We’re wondering why that is.”
“The challenge is to find the really good Parson Brown clones and focus on those,” Dantzler said, explaining that there are both good and bad Parson Browns.
The principal investigator for the project is Manjul Dutt, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) researcher at the Citrus Research and Education Center. (Learn more from Dutt and others about the Parson Brown research here.) CRDF Field Trial Coordinator Brandon Page and retired UF/IFAS Extension agent Gary England have worked on the project with Dutt, identifying potential blocks of the old variety to survey.
A 1998 UF/IFAS publication, Florida Citrus Varieties, stated: “While Parson Brown may be harvested slightly earlier than the Hamlin, it is not as productive but has slightly better juice color.”
Dutt also received $94,000 in continuing CRDF funding for additional research regarding HLB resistance. “He has cloned an ability to uplift HLB resistance from the rootstock to the scion,” Dantzler said. “And this is potentially a really good deal.” The funding is for the next year and seven months of Dutt’s work.
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