The Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) board of directors spent much of its monthly meeting in July considering recommendations from the foundation’s research management committee (RMC).
The RMC recommended that a request for proposals be put forth to create an inventory of all germplasm existing in field trials from the plant breeding programs CRDF has helped to fund. Having a master list of inventory data would identify gaps and redundancies in plant breeding efforts.
“Drones would be used to create data that would identify trees that appeared good to excellent, helping us find trees that appeared to be winners for further evaluation by researchers,” said Rick Dantzler, chief operating officer of CRDF. “This data would be accessible to growers in a central location. The board endorsed this idea but wanted to see the results of the first flyover before going statewide to make sure the data was useful.”
“The board also agreed to turn the escape tree program over to the Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC). CRDF funded these programs for years, but the grants were not renewed when the projects expired. FDOC, working with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, wishes to initiate a new program and would like to run it.
“With so many groves being pushed, there is renewed interest in making sure that trees that appear to be thriving in the face of HLB are not lost,” Dantzler said.
DIAPREPES EDGE EFFECT
The board also endorsed the RMC recommendation to invite a proposal on the diaprepes root weevil, which is a problem that seems to be growing. To date, groundcovers appear to be the best treatment/prevention option, but researchers believe there are new pesticides that need to be tested.
“The researchers have some interesting ideas on identifying the ‘edge effect’ of where the spread of diaprepes appears to stop. Accurate identification of these edges would allow the grower to treat only the affected area and not waste money treating areas that are not under attack,” Dantzler added.
In other business, the board advanced the recommendation to seek a proposal on a creative interstocking idea from Manjul Dutt, a research assistant scientist with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
“He would create interstocks using pomelo and orange-like hybrids,” Dantzler said. “The track record on interstocking has been spotty, but we thought this was interesting enough to warrant a proposal.”
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