CRAFT May Encourage Early-Mid Orange Plantings

Ernie Neffplanting

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Officials with the Citrus Research and Field Trial (CRAFT) program are considering giving future participating growers an incentive to plant more early- and mid-season oranges.

The topic was discussed by CRAFT’s board of directors after board member Phillip Rucks pointed out there’s a trend for nurseries to propagate far more late-season oranges than early- and mid-season oranges. Tables that the nursery owner presented showed while early- and mid-season orange propagations in Florida tumbled in 2020-21, late-season orange propagations climbed. The tables indicated that early-season orange propagations fell from 615,583 to 359,038 in a year, and that mid-season propagations dipped from 500,808 to 367,260. Over the same year, late-season orange propagations jumped from 1.8 million to 2 million.   

Some CRAFT board members indicated there is a need for more early- and mid-season varieties to be planted to support the juice market. The board will work with its Technical Working Group to determine what varieties will be given preference for planting in CRAFT’s next program cycle. The board and working group will also determine what, if any, incentives may be offered to encourage more early- and mid-season plantings.

Other tables presented at the CRAFT board meeting showed the most-used varieties and rootstocks in Florida in 2020-21. Valencia SPB-1-14-19 was by far the most-budded variety, at 1.79 million, followed by Vernia UF 35-15 (352,692), Hamlin 1-4-1 (328,309), Valencia F-55-4 (216,455) and Star Ruby Grapefruit DPI-60 (104,399). The most-budded rootstocks were US-942 (914,611), Kuharske (763,818), X-639 (579,186), Swingle (399,629) and US-812 (262,681).

The 10 most-budded variety/rootstock pairings in 2020-21 were Valencia SPB-1-14-19 on US-942 (467,870 budded), Valencia SPB-1-14-19 on Kuharske (426,232), Valencia SPB-1-14-19 on X-639 (316,766), Valencia SPB-1-14-19 on Swingle (285,757), Hamlin 1-4-1 on Kuharske (137,820), Vernia UF 35-15 on US-942 (111,530), Valencia SPB-1-14-19 on US-812 (89,038), Hamlin 1-4-1 on US-942 (74,970), Vernia UF 35-15 on X-639 (74,655) and Vernia UF 35-15 on US-812 (68,624).

CRAFT uses state and federal funding to subsidize Florida growers planting new citrus trees. The CRAFT growers choose from a variety of HLB mitigation strategies to show how those various strategies work in large-scale field trials over time.

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About the Author

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large