What may be the closest thing yet to a timely silver bullet for HLB was discussed Oct. 26 at Lake Alfred’s Citrus Research and Education Center. Josh Steinbronn, director of research and development at TJ BioTech, said trunk injection of his company’s ReMedium TI oxytetracycline product suppresses Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas), the causal agent of HLB. He added that injection of the product significantly reduces fruit drop, improves fruit quantity and quality, and improves tree health.
Unlike many promising HLB solutions, this one isn’t far down the road. Steinbronn expects ReMedium TI to be registered and commercialized for Florida citrus very soon.
More than 60 citrus growers and others listened attentively to Steinbronn’s presentation. Many asked questions. One question was about the overall cost per acre to use the product, but Steinbronn said he isn’t allowed to discuss pricing at this point.
Steinbronn did, however, report that labor should cost about 60 cents per bearing tree to inject the product once a year. He said one worker could treat 250 bearing trees in a nine-hour day. He pegged the labor cost for injecting non-bearing trees at 51 cents per tree, with one worker treating 350 trees in nine hours. Non-bearing trees can be treated twice a year.
A slide titled “ReMedium TI Efficacy” stated that:
- The purpose of ReMedium TI injections is to kill CLas residing within the citrus phloem.
- Once the bacteria is controlled or suppressed, the citrus trees can begin to return to their normal growth patterns: improved leaf size, coloration, new leaf and stem growth, and root growth
- This allows for fruit drop reductions up to 60% in the first year of application.
- Ultimately, by increasing tree biomass and health, ReMedium TI improves fruit quantity and quality.
Steinbronn reported that trunk injection of the product into Hamlin and Valencia orange trees resulted in 37.4% more yield in the first year of application. He said it resulted in 67% more yield in the second year of application.
Multicounty citrus Extension agent Chris Oswalt hosted the presentation.
ReMedium TI was also discussed at the Florida Citrus Industry Annual Conference this summer; learn more here.
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