SWFREC Recognizes Growers During Farm-City Week

Ernie Neff Agriculture

Nov. 18-25 is National Farm-City Week, a time to recognize and honor the contributions of the country’s agriculturalists and to strengthen the bond between urban and rural citizens. The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Southwest Florida Research and Education Center (SWFREC) took the opportunity to recognize the agriculturists in its area. Some of its statements …

Research

Citrus Research at SWFREC

Ernie Neff HLB Management, Research

Southwest Florida Research and Education Center (SWFREC) Director Kelly Morgan provides an update on citrus research being conducted at the center. SWFREC is operated by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). Morgan says most of the research is “related to greening, but not all of it.” Greening is another term for huanglongbing (HLB), the citrus …

Jack Payne on New SWFREC Director

Abbey Taylor Research

By Jack Payne, jackpayne@ufl.edu, @JackPayneIFAS Kelly Morgan is a more reliable water source than rain is. You don’t know when or if you’ll get water from the sky, but what Morgan can teach you makes every drop you have go farther. His focus on the farmer as customer is what has made him so successful as the state’s best management …

morgan

Kelly Morgan Named New SWFREC Director

Daniel Cooper Industry News Release, Research

By Jack Payne I am pleased to announce that Kelly Morgan will be the next director of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Southwest Florida Research and Education Center (SWFREC). He will assume leadership of the center on August 1. Under the current leadership of Calvin Arnold, who  is retiring, SWFREC has enjoyed a fresh …

citrus nutrition

Reducing Psyllid Populations During Key Periods Pays Dividends

Jim Rogers HLB Management, Pesticides, Pests

By Lukasz L. Stelinskiand Jawwad A. Qureshi Asian citrus psyllids (ACP) are at the mercy of their host (citrus) for survival. They need flush to lay eggs and for the nymphs to develop. Prior to HLB, the majority of flushing had been fairly predictable and occurred in the early spring and late summer. The occurrence of flush in young trees …

HLB Strategies From Zoom’okalee

Jim Rogers HLB Management

In a Jan. 12 virtual Zoom seminar from Immokalee (dubbed “Zoom’okalee” in the presentation), researcher Ozgur Batuman reviewed old and new approaches to controlling HLB. The seminar was titled “Citrus Disease Trends We Should Heed: HLB, Phytophthora and Leprosis.” Batuman works for the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Southwest Florida Research and Education Center (SWFREC) …

Smart Technology Cuts Spray Costs

Jim Rogers Pesticides, Technology

As they battle HLB, growers must control costs wherever possible, including by applying pesticides and fertilizer more efficiently. With that in mind, Yiannis Ampatzidis is engaging artificial intelligence (AI) to develop a low-cost, smart tree-crop sprayer that can automatically detect citrus trees, calculate their height and leaf density, and count fruit. That way, growers target their spray more efficiently, so …

Lessons on Yield and Root Health From Modified Nutrition

Tacy Callies Nutrition

By Davie Kadyampakeni, Evan Johnson, Kelly Morgan and Ali Atta Citrus production in Florida has been decreasing over the last 15 years due to several factors, with huanglongbing (HLB) a major driver. This disease has severe effects on citrus growth and production, including stunted vegetative growth, misshapen small fruits and poor color development, root mortality, stunted branches, excessive fruit drop, …

Technologies for Improved Nutrient Analysis

Tacy Callies Nutrition, Technology

By Yiannis Ampatzidis and Ute Albrecht Nutrient management is important for citrus production. Regular nutrient assessments should be conducted to optimize nutrient balance and prevent deficiencies or over-fertilization. Optimizing nutrition is important for tree health and can improve tolerance to stresses and diseases. Good nutrient management requires regular field monitoring to identify problems and examine crop responses. Leaves need to …

Assessing Spatial Patterns of Individual Protective Covers

Tacy Callies IPCs

By Fernando Alferez, Ozgur Batuman, Susmita Gaire, Ute Albrecht and Jawwad Qureshi In previous and ongoing research performed at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center (SWFREC), we have demonstrated that individual protective covers (IPCs) are effective in keeping psyllids off newly planted citrus trees. Trees have been HLB-free for more than two years after planting, and the IPCs provide …

Maximizing Rootstock Seed Production

Tacy Callies Seed

By Fernando Alferez, Deived Uilian de Carvalho, Daniel Boakye, Tim Gast and Manjul Dutt Endemic HLB in Florida has provoked increased pressure to replant and reset infected groves. This has resulted in concern from citrus growers and nursery operators about seed availability for the most popular rootstocks in the state. In the past, all rootstock fruit (both early and late …

How Artificial Intelligence Can Enhance the Citrus Industry

Tacy Callies Technology

By Yiannis Ampatzidis Artificial intelligence (AI) is a promising area in computer science, automation, robotics and agriculture. AI describes the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior and mimic cognitive functions such as learning and problem-solving. Machine learning, which is an application of AI, is based on the idea that a machine, such as a computer or microcontroller, …

Survey on Cover Crops and Reflective Mulch

Ernie Neff Cover Crops, Survey

Florida growers are being asked to take a survey on the use of cover crops and reflective mulch in citrus production. These systems are being investigated as potential means to improve soil health and reduce pest pressure from Asian citrus psyllids, which transmit the destructive citrus disease HLB. The survey is being conducted by researchers with the University of Florida Institute …

Psyllids

Keeping Weeds in Check

Ashley Robinson weeds

Weeds can reduce citrus growth and production, especially in young trees. A management program should be put in place to control weeds in tree rows to minimize competition with citrus, but it is also important to control weeds in row middles to reduce soil erosion. Weed management can be achieved by utilizing a combination of control practices including but not …

Managing Pests in a CUPS System

Ashley Robinson CUPS

Citrus under protective screen (CUPS) does a great job of safeguarding trees from the HLB-spreading Asian citrus psyllids. However, CUPS does not protect trees from all other pests. The benefits of eliminating HLB are immediate and include rapid, normal tree growth, higher yields of premium-quality fruit and less fruit drop. Since CUPS is a relatively new system, researchers are still …

Florida Citrus Growers’ Institute Returns

Ernie Neff Education

The annual Florida Citrus Growers’ Institute, hosted by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Extension, will be held on April 6. The event will be delivered via a Zoom webinar from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. “We hope to reach a broad audience despite the limits imposed on us because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chris …

Field Trials for Cultivar Evaluation; Soil and Root Health

Ashley Robinson All In For Citrus Podcast, Research

University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) citrus researchers are collaborating on ground-breaking research projects to fight against HLB. They are working with researchers at the University of California-Riverside (UC-Riverside), Texas A&M and Washington State University on a project to field-test new citrus cultivars for tolerance or resistance to HLB. The research is funded by the U.S. …

Managing COVID-19 Risks in the Citrus Industry

Tacy Callies COVID-19

By Joyjit Saha, Matthew Krug and Michelle D. Danyluk The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly changed so much. SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) is primarily transmitted person-to-person, with no evidence it is transmitted by food or food packaging, including citrus and citrus products. Managing COVID-19 among workers is extremely important. COVID-19 impacts on the health of employees can have catastrophic …

production

Irrigating Young Trees in High-Density Plantings

Tacy Callies Irrigation

Florida citrus yields have declined by almost 56 percent since 2005. With such a large decrease, growers have been forced to replant trees at much higher densities to counter-balance tree loss. In November 2017, researchers at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Southwest Florida Research and Education Center (SWFREC) initiated a study to determine how …

UF/IFAS Collaborates on HLB Research

Ernie Neff Research

Several University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) faculty are collaborating with other universities and organizations on research, especially for HLB. Michael Rogers, director of the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC), summarizes the work they are doing on a variety of grant-funded projects. Rogers starts with a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-funded project led by …