The Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) board of directors convened its March meeting with a busy agenda, addressing fast-moving current events. Discussion focused on newly approved oxytetracycline hydrochloride (OTC-HCl) trunk-injection products currently being applied in groves.
The board funded a project to measure the impact of OTC-HCI applications on the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP). Specifically, the study will determine if removing the HLB bacteria from the tree will lower the level of infection in the ACP gut.
“We hope that the ACP will consume enough (OTC-HCI) when feeding that it kills the bacteria, so the pest doesn’t get the tree sick when feeding. There is an outside chance it could even kill the ACP,” said Rick Dantzler, chief operating officer of CRDF. “This could be huge.”
The group funded another study that will look at various rates of OTC-HCI. The research could help lower the cost of applications.
“It will look at doses of the ReMedium TI (OTC-HCI) product that are lower than the recommended rates, as well as one experiment that tests the product at 150% of the recommended dose every other year,” Dantzler said. “If we could get the need for a treatment down to every other year while still staying beneath federal residue thresholds, it would cut the cost of the treatment to the grower in half.”
An HLB Multi-Agency Coordination Group rootstock and grapefruit trial on the East Coast that ran out of money in September was funded by CRDF. The funding will allow data collection on yield and tree health for two more years.
“These trees have reached fruiting age, so it didn’t make sense to not get production data,” Dantzler said. “This project is important to the Indian River Citrus League.”
Uncommitted funds of $750,000 found a home, going to the Citrus Research and Field Trial (CRAFT) program. This will allow for a new iteration of the CRAFT program to help growers treat their trees with products they know work or highly suspect work. The funding will allow for data collection on the efficacy of these products.
“We agreed to fund the next round of testing on the finger lime peptide, if the testing takes place in Florida. The environment is different in Florida, and the cost would be less to do it this way,” Dantzler said. “We felt that we needed to see evidence of it working here before putting more money into it.
“Finally, we invited a researcher to give us a full proposal focused on the cause of citrus blight and identifying triggers that set off the disease.”
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