University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) researchers have found that gibberellic acid (GA) applications can improve productivity of HLB-affected Valencia trees. But some growers are concerned that the GA label may not allow that use. Citrus Research and Education Center Director (CREC) Michael Rogers allays that concern.
Rogers says some are concerned “because the recommendations that we put out … how to use gibberellic acid to reverse HLB symptoms for Valencia oranges, this isn’t spelled out exactly on the gibberellic acid label.” He points out that while growers who use pesticides need to follow the label exactly, GA is not a pesticide. “There’s a lot of gray areas, a lot of leeway on how you use this,” he says. “It (the label) doesn’t prevent us from using it” as recommended by UF/IFAS for HLB-affected Valencia trees.
Although the UF/IFAS recommendations regarding HLB are currently only for Valencia trees, Rogers says researchers are looking into the product’s use for Hamlin oranges and fresh fruit as well. “We’re very optimistic about that,” he says. “People are seeing the benefits.”
Rogers also points out that UF/IFAS and others have recently had more in-person events for growers following a long hiatus as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. He notes that Citrus Expo in August “was one of our first big in-person events.” Another well-attended event was the CREC open house and field day in Lake Alfred in November. The use of GA as a tool growers can use right now was one of the research findings highlighted at that meeting, Rogers says.
Rogers says a “more normal situation” for in-person meetings is expected in 2022.
This interview with Rogers is featured in the December All In For Citrus podcast, a joint project of UF/IFAS and AgNet Media. Listen to the full podcast here.
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