Florida citrus growers need help in the fight against HLB. And they need that help quickly. Michael Rogers, director of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Citrus Research and Education Center, addresses those concerns during the April All In For Citrus podcast.
He says UF/IFAS scientists understand the urgency of the HLB fight and that short-term research projects make up more than half of the active projects and trials aimed at the disease.
In fact, there are 53 research projects underway at UF/IFAS dedicated to providing near-term guidance on how growers can mitigate the effects of HLB. Those projects fall into four different categories:
- Understanding citrus phloem biology and its interaction with HLB
- Evaluation of therapeutics and delivery methods
- Maintaining the health of HLB-infected trees
- Citrus nutrient management and delivery methods
In the podcast, Rogers provides more details on the projects in these categories and how they are being funded.
Arnold Schumann, UF/IFAS professor of soil and water science, and Steven Callaham, executive vice president of the Dundee Citrus Growers Association, also join the podcast to discuss successful collaborations between growers and scientists.
Schumann has been at the forefront of research in using citrus under protective screen (CUPS) as an alternative growing method to exclude the Asian citrus psyllid from citrus plantings to help prevent the spread of HLB. Callaham credits Schumann’s work for giving Dundee Citrus Growers Association confidence to try CUPS. The Dundee CUPS project has grown into the largest in the United States, and so far, remains free of both psyllids and HLB.
The All In For Citrus podcast is a joint project of UF/IFAS and AgNet Media. Listen to the April episode here.
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