“We’ve come a long way in the time that we’ve had HLB here in Florida,” says Michael Rogers. The director of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ (UF/IFAS) Citrus Research and Education Center says early HLB research “covered a wide range of topics.” Now, however, “We’re really narrowing down things that are of use to growers right now, and we’re fine-tuning those practices,” he adds.
Rogers points to the virtual Florida Citrus Growers’ Institute hosted by UF/IFAS April 6 as an example of that focus on what growers can use now. He tells how the UF/IFAS presenters gave growers practical, timely advice for dealing with HLB-spreading psyllids, root pests, Lebbeck mealybug and weeds. He notes that entomologist Lukasz Stelinski suggested the use of psyllid thresholds in scouting for determining whether psyllid spraying is economically worthwhile. He points out that growers now want to know if various production practices pay off economically.
The relatively new Tip of the Week series on CitrusIndustry.net is another example of UF/IFAS experts offering growers information they can use now, Rogers says. The Tip of the Week offers advice on numerous production practices, not just those related to HLB, that growers need to know about at different times of the year. Recently archived Tip of the Week articles addressed weed management after composting, greasy spot and melanose management, phytophthora, citrus black spot, nematodes, and scouting for scale and mealybug crawlers, among other topics.
Finally, Rogers tells what UF/IFAS will do to participate in National OJ Day on May 4. UF/IFAS activities will include numerous posts on social media outlets during that day, he says.
This interview with Rogers is featured in the April All In For Citrus podcast, a joint project of UF/IFAS and AgNet Media. Listen to the full podcast here.
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