An update on the nutrition box program, shade research with some positive side effects, and a bold project analyzing compounds used against HLB headline January’s All In For Citrus podcast.
The Citrus Nutrient Management Program, more commonly known as the nutrition box program, is over a year old. Citrus Research and Education Center Director Michael Rogers, with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), begins this month’s episode of the podcast with an update on the nutrition box program. He said there is very valuable data that has come from the boxes, including identifying regional problems that growers are experiencing. Growers can still sign up for the 2021 program until Jan. 31. (Editor’s note: After the podcast aired, the deadline was extended to Feb. 15.) Rogers said the program can help growers maximize yields while helping researchers prioritize solutions for specific regions.
Christopher Vincent, UF/IFAS assistant professor of horticultural sciences, gives an update on shade work in the field. Citrus trees generally like shade, so his research is looking to determine the right amount of shade for HLB-infected trees. The work is proving beneficial with an increase in tree yield and overall health. In addition, a positive side effect is that shade can hinder the Asian citrus psyllid’s ability to move from tree to tree. Vincent also discusses some of the results from UF/IFAS antibiotic research examining foliar sprays as well as a new study attempting to increase the efficiency of sugar movement through citrus trees.
Lorenzo Rossi, UF/IFAS plant root biologist, closes the podcast with details on new research funded by a grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The project will test compounds in the field that may influence HLB. Rossi said the goal is to find a specific compound that battles the bacteria that causes the disease. The research is a collaboration between multiple agencies and the private sector. Rossi believes the inclusion of companies in the research may speed up the process of bringing a potential product to market for producers.