California’s commercial citrus groves remain free of HLB disease 14 years after Asian citrus psyllids (ACP) were first detected there. The state’s Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Program (CPDPP) described that as “no small feat” in its recently released 2020-21 annual report.
“The past fiscal year presented its fair share of headwinds for citrus-growing operations,” the report stated. “From pandemic-induced transportation challenges to labor shortages and lower production yields, our environment provided plenty of distractions.”
The report said CPDPP has increased the use of biocontrol to suppress ACP populations and implemented a multi-pest survey. The CPDPP, formed more than 10 years ago to fight the spread of HLB, released 3.1 million biocontrol agents in 12 regions throughout California during the report period.
During the period, 423 residential citrus trees were confirmed HLB positive and removed, 104,975 residential properties were surveyed for ACP and HLB, and 25,789 ACP traps were deployed.
The CPDPP was funded with $15.5 million from an assessment on cartons of citrus, $12.1 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Citrus Health Response Program and $5 million from California’s General Fund.
Detection and eradication of diseased trees was the leading CPDPP expenditure at $12.7 million. Other major expenditures were $9.3 million to suppress ACP populations, $6.3 million for administration and $3.2 million to control movement of ACP around the state and to enforce regulations.
The CPDPP works with numerous agricultural and citrus industry partners to advance its goal of limiting HLB’s spread. The group’s activities are guided by the Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Committee, chaired by Mark McBroom.
McBroom, owner of Bloom to Box Crop Care, is also chair of the CPDPP’s Outreach Subcommittee. McBroom said the first detection of HLB in San Diego County “had the Outreach Subcommittee firing on all cylinders to connect with audiences and seamlessly enacting the program’s crisis communications plan.” Among other things, the communications plan highlighted the importance of the detection and encouraged homeowners, industry members and elected officials to do their part in preventing the spread of HLB.
Source: Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Program
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