Potential Trap Crop for Asian Citrus Psyllid

Ernie NeffHLB Management

Pakistan entomologist Muhammad Arshad reported on work that opens the possibility of further studies to determine the potential of Cordia myxa as a trap crop to manage Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) and, ultimately, to reduce HLB disease. C. myxa, also known as Assyrian plum or lasura, is a broad-leaved deciduous fruit tree. In trap cropping, plants are used to attract … Read More

Sallin Named Woman of the Year in Ag

Ernie NeffAwards

Veronique Sallin has been named the 2020 Woman of the Year in Agriculture, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) announced. The recognition is for women who have made exceptional contributions to Florida agriculture. Honorees come from throughout the agriculture community. “Ms. Sallin’s unique leadership, passion and commitment continue to influence and broaden markets … Read More

USDA Finalizes Conservation Rule

Ernie NeffEnvironment

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released the final rule for its Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). The rule makes updates to the program as directed by the 2018 farm bill and integrates feedback from agricultural producers and others.  CSP provides many benefits, including increased crop yields, decreased inputs, wildlife habitat improvements and increased resilience to adverse weather. CSP is … Read More

Protecting Trees: Beyond CUPS and IPCs

Ernie NeffHLB Management

Many Florida citrus growers have been using individual protective covers (IPCs) for several years primarily to protect trees from HLB-spreading Asian citrus psyllids (ACP). Smaller but increasing numbers of growers are utilizing the more expensive citrus under protective screen (CUPS) system to protect trees from ACP and HLB. Recently, Fernando Alferez informed growers in a virtual presentation about some other … Read More

Keeping Farmworkers Safe From COVID-19

Ernie NeffCOVID-19, Labor

University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) experts are working with farmworkers to help keep them safe from COVID-19. The experts are connecting the farmworkers with COVID-19 free testing, safety information and training – a role they have been serving throughout the pandemic. Extension agents are partnering with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), … Read More

Stem Pitting Could Develop in Florida Citrus

Ernie NeffDiseases

Citrus tristeza virus (CTV) stem pitting, which causes severe problems in Asia and other places, could develop in Florida, according to plant pathologist Amit Levy. The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher at the Citrus Research and Education Center discussed the disease at this year’s virtual Citrus Expo. Noting that “early detection is essential,” Levy said … Read More

FFVA Selects Emerging Leader Class

Ernie NeffEducation

The Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA) recently announced the selection of 13 agriculture industry leaders for Class 10 of its Emerging Leader Development Program for the coming year. Class 10 members are: Sherri Atwell of Feeding Florida, Tallahassee Ariel Bauer of Hardee Fresh, Sebring Federico Boscolo of Cultiva Farms USA, Jennings Sasha Burgin of Burgin Farms, Wauchula Nathan Carson … Read More

Sequencing Brings HLB Resistance Closer

Ernie NeffBreeding, Research

University of Florida (UF) scientists achieved a major milestone in their quest to develop an HLB-resistant tree by sequencing the genome of a fruit plant that’s a close cousin to citrus trees. HLB is also known as greening disease. UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers sequenced the genome from trifoliate orange, in collaboration with scientists from the University … Read More

Phosphite Best for Algal Spot

Ernie NeffDiseases

Algal spot had rarely been seen in Florida groves until fairly recently, Megan Dewdney reported in a virtual Florida Citrus Growers’ Institute presentation. The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences plant pathologist said she started hearing from concerned orange growers within the past five years. Those growers told her that copper, the historical recommendation for the disease, … Read More

Indian River Variety Trial Attracts Visitors

Ernie NeffVarieties

Forty-nine growers and others participated in a self-guided, drive-through tour of the Millennium Block variety performance trial at the Indian River Research and Education Center (IRREC) on Oct. 9. “Several growers highlighted trees are off to a good start, and despite the fact they’re young, they could see clear differences,” said host and IRREC researcher Rhuanito “Johnny” Ferrarezi. Ferrarezi works … Read More

Varieties and Rootstocks Reviewed

Ernie NeffRootstocks, Varieties


In his virtual Citrus Expo presentation, Jude Grosser reviewed varieties and rootstocks showing promise for productivity in the face of HLB. Grosser is a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) plant breeder. His presentation was based on work done by him and fellow UF/IFAS researchers Bill Castle and Fred Gmitter. Grosser said UF/IFAS released OLL-20 “based … Read More

Maintaining Orange Juice Momentum

Ernie NeffOrange Juice

The Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC) normally launches minimal programs during the first quarter of the fiscal year and instead focuses on strategic planning. This year, though, in order to continue to build upon the momentum of 2019-20, the FDOC and its advertising agency, Edible, launched a robust campaign to drive sales of 100 percent orange juice (OJ) at retail. … Read More

Is Parson Brown the Better Early Orange?

Ernie NeffVarieties

The old Parson Brown sweet orange variety is showing some characteristics that could make it more attractive than Hamlin, which has long been Florida’s leading early-season orange. “Observations made in commercial blocks in Polk and neighboring counties illustrate an improved canopy density, improved mature fruit retention and higher yields in the early-maturing Parson Brown sweet orange when compared to adjacent … Read More

Get the Science on Climate Change

Ernie NeffWeather

“Our climate is changing and, with that, comes more extreme events,” said Ashley Smyth, an assistant professor of soil and water science at the Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead. The center is part of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). “Just look at the most recent hurricanes. As they cross the Gulf, they … Read More

Citrus Australia Wants Juice Rating Reconsidered

Ernie NeffInternational, Orange Juice


Citrus Australia says the country’s state governments “will be asked to bring common sense to the Health Star Rating (HSR) system” at a meeting in November. The rating system currently rates diet soft drinks as healthier than fresh Australian juice. Industry bodies have contacted Senator Richard Colbeck, chair of the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation, asking … Read More

Artificial Intelligence System Wins UF Honors

Ernie NeffAwards, Technology

UF Innovate | Tech Licensing recently recognized an artificial intelligence (AI) system known as Agroview as a UF Invention of the Year. The AI system was invented by Yiannis Ampatzidis and his research team at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Southwest Florida Research and Education Center (SWFREC). The system utilizes images from drones and satellites … Read More

Advice for Cold-Hardy Citrus Growers

Ernie NeffMarketing

North Florida citrus growers who are new to the industry received some marketing advice and background information recently from Vero Beach grower and packer Dan Richey. He gave a presentation during a virtual annual meeting of the Cold Hardy Citrus Association on Sept. 23. Richey, president and CEO of Riverfront Packing, urged the growers to have a plan and to … Read More

Viroid Found on Georgia Citrus

Ernie NeffDiseases

Hop stunt viroid (HSVd) was found on citrus in Georgia for the first time this year. University of Georgia Cooperative Extension warns that HSVd and other viroids could pose a threat to the state’s growing citrus industry in susceptible varieties. Leaf samples were collected in May and June from 12 different citrus plants in two nurseries in southern Georgia. Nine … Read More

Diversifying Citrus Pest Management

Ernie NeffPests

The use of chemicals for HLB-spreading Asian citrus psyllids (ACP) and other pests has raised several concerns, Jawwad Qureshi reported in a virtual Florida Citrus Growers Institute presentation. Those concerns include pest resistance, costs and diminishing biological control of pests, as well as concerns about health and the environment. Qureshi, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences … Read More