Last year, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) scientists offered Florida citrus growers soil and leaf testing along with tailored quarterly nutrition counseling in an effort to improve tree health.
The Citrus Nutrient Management Program, more commonly known as the nutrition box program, has successfully supported 75 growers from 17 counties across the state. Michael Rogers, director of the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center, provided an update on the nutrition box program.
According to Rogers, there is very valuable data that has come from the boxes, including identifying regional problems that growers are experiencing.
The program is free of cost for growers. UF/IFAS faculty distribute the boxes of materials and instructions to growers who take a soil sample and four-leaf samples for laboratory analysis. Sample results are shared with a UF/IFAS team of researchers and Extension agents. The team then meets and discusses each report, formulating tailored nutrient recommendations for each individual grove.
“It’s been very well received by the growers who are participating so far,” Rogers says.
UF/IFAS is now accepting new registrations to participate in the nutrition box program. To participate, growers must have groves that are a sweet orange variety, five years or older, and have a minimum of 5 acres. The deadline to register for the program has been extended to Feb. 15. Growers new to the program can register to participate here.
Growers already enrolled in the program who wish to continue will be contacted by the UF/IFAS citrus nutrition team about how to proceed. These growers are asked to continue sampling the same block or grove this year.
Rogers discussed more about the nutrition box program in the January 2021 episode of the All In For Citrus podcast, a joint project of UF/IFAS and AgNet Media. Listen to the full podcast here.
This article was written by Ashley Robinson, multimedia journalist for AgNet Media in Gainesville, Florida.