California’s efforts to keep huanglongbing (HLB) at bay have been largely successful. So far, the state’s huge citrus industry has avoided the devastating loss of trees that has occurred in Florida, South America and other commercial citrus-growing regions around the world. However, those efforts have come with a cost to citrus growers.
Bruce Babcock, professor of public policy at University of California Riverside, explained how efforts to keep HLB out of commercial citrus groves are impacting the cost of production. “Even though the disease has not spread into commercial citrus groves in California, California growers are still incurring higher costs of production to try to delay the onset of HLB,” Babcock said.
California’s efforts have been focused on controlling the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), which is the insect that spreads HLB in citrus. “Insecticide costs have been going up because of increased number of sprays to combat the psyllid,” said Babcock.
He pointed out that new regulations promulgated to control the spread of HLB have added new costs: “There’s also extra processing costs and logistical costs as growers navigate the different regulations and quarantines. Even though ACP is not in the groves, the prevention costs are. I don’t want to say they’re too onerous, but they are growing in California.”
Source: AgNet West
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