Florida citrus growers are facing a rising mound of challenges these days. With citrus greening disease (HLB) devastating groves, low supply, soaring fertilizer prices and a substantial increase in overall production costs, the current odds are stacked high against citrus growers. This is an industry in crisis.
Fortunately, science is catching up with new solutions to combat these urgent issues. Data from applications across Florida citrus groves shows the restorative benefits of soil probiotics in combating the impacts of citrus greening. Certain active strains of naturally occurring microbial soil amendments are rebuilding citrus tree roots, encouraging new growth on previously dying root systems suffering from HLB, and bolstering nutrient and water uptake from the soil.
What citrus growers are up against
Skyrocketing input prices combined with domestic supply shortages are forcing many citrus growers to cut back on application rates to their groves. In the past year alone, fertilizer prices have risen upwards of 300% due to supply chain disruptions and other factors. This is among several other inputs, such as diesel, becoming increasingly expensive for citrus grove production.
In addition, grove caretaking costs related to fighting citrus greening have more than tripled in the past 15 years. These pressures, combined with historically low fruit production rates, are piling on to the financial stress on growers.
The average Florida citrus operation currently faces 90% of HLB-infected areas and 80% of infected trees, and the current harvest season is projected to be the worst in 75 years. The industry has lost billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs to citrus greening disease alone. Compounding these impacts with fertilizer shortages and the rising production costs, growers need solutions for their citrus groves now.
The potential of soil probiotics
As HLB has spread throughout other growing areas across the country, breakthrough research has found a powerful tool to help combat citrus greening: soil probiotics.
How? By unlocking essential soil nutrients from unused fertilizer and other NPK inputs. Fertilizer applied on agricultural fields in previous growing seasons can become trapped in the soil, where its nutrients are inaccessible to crops. Florida soils typically contain high phosphorus levels, but a substantial amount of it goes unused: crop uptake of applied phosphorus from fertilizers or manure is less than 20% on average.
Specific strains of microbial soil amendments (also called soil microbes or biologicals) can access and mobilize remaining nutrients, including phosphorus, making it available to the crop. However, not all microbes are created equal.
Benefits of Locus AG Soil Probiotics
Locus Agricultural Solutions (Locus AG) has developed proprietary, non-GMO soil probiotics that are specifically tailored to colonize roots and promote early root development. Florida citrus growers who have treated HLB-infected trees with Locus AG soil probiotics are seeing that, in as little as 30 days, treated citrus trees have significantly more root growth and stronger root systems than trees with standard growing practices.
Locus AG soil probiotics are an award-winning solution designed to integrate into a customizable crop treatment plan. This is a proprietary microbiology with novel strains and formulations that cover a broad range of geographic growing regions, climates, and crop categories.
A low dosage program of four applications is demonstrating impressive results for Florida citrus growers, including considerable feeder root grow-back (critical to the tree’s ability to absorb the nutrients from fertilizers) and a reduction in leaf litter. On average, Florida citrus growers who used Locus AG’s soil probiotics have observed a 77% increase in root mass, as well as larger fruit sizes, better quality fruit, and less fruit drop.
Locus AG soil probiotics are produced in the USA, and are available now for immediate shipment.
It’s critical that citrus growers get the most out of their soil. Taking care of soils will in turn take care of the trees. When growers feel that they are left with no choice but to reduce fertilizer use, adding in soil probiotics can provide the highest value input to help trees regrow feeder roots, uptake more nutrients, and produce higher quality fruit. Locus AG soil probiotics are immediately available solutions that are already demonstrating their value to Florida growers. Have your soil work for you and give HLB infected trees a fighting chance.
To learn more, visit LocusAG.com, or call us at 888.331.5008.