As the 2022–2023 harvest season kicks off, Glenn Beck of Beck Bros. Citrus is hopeful for a better season than last year. He has witnessed the groves he owns and manages suffer the effects of HLB over the years.
When it comes to managing the disease, Beck has a simple philosophy: Stick with a solid production plan. He acknowledges that programs will have to be dialed up and back based on economic conditions, but one doesn’t necessarily have to deploy the highest input program to see results.
Beck says he has seen trees in his groves fall off the cliff as HLB spread, but after staying on a good production program for a few years, trees often seem to bounce back. That’s what he’s hoping for this season.
He has deployed plant growth regulators, which have been the focus of much attention and research in the past couple of years. He’s not following any particular formula other than multiple applications of gibberellic acid, 2,4-D and brassinosteroids. The formula, he says, is what makes sense for his farm and economic situation.
Beck is hopeful the applications will help move the needle in the right direction. In mid-September, there were some positive signs. A good portion of the fruit on the trees was in the size range that tend to hold onto the tree better. If the fruit holds, Beck says some of his groves should produce yields well above what has become standard with HLB endemic across the state.
“So far, the crop looks better than last year,” Beck says. “Not necessarily the quantity, but the quality and size of what is on the tree seem to be on target and better than last year. Whether or not we can bring that to harvest remains to be seen.”
Beck cautions when October rolls around and it begins to cool off and the trees start to shut down, this is the time when fruit drop begins. “We hope we are not going to see a repeat of that this year, but as time goes on, we’ll see.”
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