When Are Cover Crops Profitable?

Jim Rogers Cover Crops, Economics, Research

At 200 boxes per acre, cover crops can be profitable in Valencia orange production, according to a Citrus & Specialty Crop Expo presentation. Tara Wade and Shourish Chakravarty prepared the presentation. Wade is an assistant professor, and Chakravarty is a post-doctoral associate, both at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Southwest Florida Research and Education Center. …

Are Cover Crops Economically Feasible?

Jim Rogers Cover Crops, Economics, Research

Although researchers cited numerous advantages of cover crops during a virtual seminar on June 23, it likely will take more time to determine if they are economically worthwhile. Near the end of the seminar, economists showed a slide stating, “Cover crops could be an economically feasible practice in citrus production.” But an audience member seemed to question that statement by …

Experimenting With Cover Crops: Results From Three Years of Trials

Jim Rogers Cover Crops, Research, weeds

By Sarah Strauss, Antonio Castellano-Hinojosa, Davie Kadyampakeni, Ramdas Kanissery and Tara Wade Cover crops, which are planted specifically for soil enhancement and not for sale or harvest, can improve soil conditions and production for a variety of crops. However, there have not been many studies documenting changes to soil conditions and production when using cover crops in citrus. The University …

Heritage Practices for Today’s Challenges

Jim Rogers Cover Crops, Soil Improvement

By Brad Turner Cover cropping and composting in Florida citrus production are not new concepts. Our ancestors understood the basic principles and implemented these practices just a couple of generations ago. YESTERDAY AND TODAYAs a boy, I can remember an old citrus grower telling me how beggarweed and crotalaria, both native nitrogen-fixing legumes, growing wild in neighboring fields would be …

Grower Gives Update on Work With Cover Crops

Jim Rogers Cover Crops, Production

Florida citrus grower Ed James shared his successful experience with cover crops during a recent event he hosted at his Howey-in-the-Hills grove. The event, sponsored by Sand to Soil Services, included talks from industry experts on soil health and plant nutrition. James said his production went to “zero” before he planted cover crops about 12 years ago. Production “gradually came …

Preparing to Plant Cover Crops

Jim Rogers Cover Crops, Tip of the Week

By Sarah Strauss If you’ve been exploring methods to improve your soil health, chances are you’ve come across the use of cover crops. Even though we call them “crops,” these plants are not harvested and are only planted to improve soil health. The benefits of cover crops to soil health include increasing soil organic matter and microbial diversity and activity …

Cover Crops in Citrus: Less Weeds, More Microbes

Jim Rogers Agriculture, Citrus, Cover Crops

There are many advantages to using cover crops in citrus groves, according to Sarah Strauss, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) assistant professor. She recently discussed growers implementing cover crops at the Citrus Health Forum at the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy. “Certainly, from the microbiology side, the scientific side, I think …

Educational Videos on Cover Crops

Tacy Callies California Corner, Cover Crops

Cover crops, typically planted in the early fall, deliver a host of agricultural and conservation benefits. Citrus growers have found that cover crops reduce water demand, thus saving substantial irrigation costs. In addition, cover crops provide support to beneficial insects, which help reduce pesticide requirements. In partnership with the Contra Costa County Resource Conservation District, two University of California Cooperative …

Cover Crops Can Benefit Citrus

Ernie Neff Cover Crops

Cover crops, which are not planted for harvest and sale, offer numerous potential benefits to Florida citrus growers. The benefits and additional information were addressed in a presentation offered at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) booth at Citrus Expo in August. The crops can improve the physical, chemical and biological properties of the soil. …

Cover Crops Promising, But …

Ernie Neff Cover Crops

Scientist Sarah Strauss has learned some interesting and promising things about the use of cover crops in Southwest Florida citrus over the past 2.5 years. But the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher has not yet found that cover crops provide what growers seek most — increased yields. Use of the crops has also not yet …

Research Update on Cover Crops and Nematicides

Tacy Callies Cover Crops, Pests

By Larry Duncan, Johan Desaeger and Homan Regmi Two field experiments were initiated in January 2019 to evaluate the efficacy of nematicides and cover crops for managing the sting nematode (Belonolaimus longicaudatus) in a replanted grove affected by huanglongbing (HLB). The trees were nearly two years old when perennial peanut (resistant to sting nematode) plots were established in row middles …

Florida Citrus Grower Discusses Issues

Ashley Robinson Cover Crops, Herbicides

Florida and California specialty crop growers recently gathered for a virtual discussion presented by J.L. Farmakis, Inc. to talk about issues unique to their crops and regions. Citrus grower Lee Jones with Cross Covered Caretaking represented the Sunshine State. He shared some of the struggles and successes of growing citrus in Florida. Jones says one of the biggest challenges he …

What to Consider Before Planting Cover Crops

Tacy Callies Cover Crops, Tip of the Week

For those interested in cover crops for citrus groves, the end of harvest and the upcoming start of the rainy season is a great time to start planning. Cover crops can have a variety of benefits to soil health. These include increasing soil organic matter and microbial diversity and activity as well as reducing weed growth. While research is still …

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 …

Experimenting With Cover Crops in Citrus

Ashley Robinson Cover Crops, soil

Sarah Strauss, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) soil microbiologist, shared initial results from a UF/IFAS cover crop research trial during the March 23 OJ Break virtual meeting for citrus growers. According to Strauss, use of cover crops has received increased interest by growers as a method to sustainably and economically improve soil health and …

Enhancing Soil Health With Cover Crops

Tacy Callies Cover Crops, Soil Improvement

By Sarah Strauss, Antonio Castellano-Hinojosa, Davie Kadyampakeni, Ramdas Kanissery and Tara Wade Soil health is generally synonymous with soil quality and refers to the capacity of a soil to sustain biological productivity, maintain environmental quality and promote plant health. Soils are complicated ecosystems, and discussions of soil health must consider the links between soil functions and soil-based ecosystem services, such …

Cover Crops for Citrus ‘Really Encouraging’

Ernie Neff Citrus Expo, Cover Crops

Healthy soil has high percentages of soil organic matter, which improves water-holding capacity, nutrient cycling and retention, and provides nutrients for microbes, along with other benefits. Unfortunately, Sarah Strauss noted, most citrus soils in Florida typically have 1 to 2 percent soil organic matter, “which is basically non-existent.” Strauss and other scientists are researching two ways of improving soil organic …

Cover Crops Benefit California Citrus Grower

Len Wilcox California Corner, Cover Crops

A California citrus grower says he has substantially increased water retention and decreased irrigation usage by planting cover crops. Chris Sayer, of Petty Ranch, says he has added about 3 percent organic content to his soil, which has reduced irrigation water usage from 2 acre feet to 1.25 to 1.5 acre feet. Sayer is a fifth-generation Ventura County farmer. He …

Eco-Mowing Is Part of Cover Crop Research

Ernie Neff Cover Crops, Research

Cover crop research in Southwest Florida will include looking into the effectiveness of eco-mowing, or moving mowed clippings under the tree canopy rather than leaving clippings in row middles. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) soil microbiologist Sarah Strauss discusses numerous aspects of cover crop and compost research being conducted by her and other UF/IFAS scientists. …