Controlling HLB with Thermotherapy: What Have We Learned So Far?

Tacy Callies Citrus Greening, Thermotherapy

By Reza Ehsani, Megan Dewdney and Evan Johnson In the last two years, many growers looked at thermotherapy as a way of keeping HLB-affected citrus trees in production until a more permanent solution could be developed. It has been shown that thermotherapy can kill HLB-causing bacteria under controlled environments. But the exact time and temperature is not known, and it …

HLB root nutrition

Root Nutrition Key in HLB-Infected Trees

Ernie Neff Citrus Greening, Nutrition

University of Florida researcher Jude Grosser focused on root nutrition during the Citrus Nutrition Day at the Citrus Research and Education Center on October 11. In this report, he says citrus roots impacted by HLB are missing the nutrients they need and discusses possible solutions, including what he calls “hybrid nutrition programs.” “We’ve gotten kind of too focused on what’s …

PFD control

Postbloom Fruit Drop Control: Timing Is Key

Ernie Neff Citrus Expo, Citrus Greening, PFD

Timing of fungicide sprays is the key to controlling the postbloom fruit drop (PFD) that caused many Florida citrus growers severe problems this year. That was a central message that University of Florida researcher Natalia Peres delivered at Citrus Expo this summer. In this interview, Peres discusses the keys to proper spray timing, starting with bloom. Peres says longer bloom …

canker, HLB, bactericides

Indian River Citrus Grower on Canker, HLB and Bactericides

Ernie Neff Bactericides, Citrus Greening, Grapefruit

Canker and HLB have made things very difficult for Indian River citrus growers, but outgoing Indian River Citrus League President Scott Lambeth is optimistic about bactericides. “For the last three years with the contraction of the industry, it’s very difficult to keep an open mind and stay positive when you see family farms that are third and fourth generation still …

orange production costs

Singerman on Orange Production Costs and CHMA Participation

Ernie Neff Citrus Expo, Citrus Greening, Economics

Southwest Florida citrus growers are now spending about $2,327 per acre to grow oranges, University of Florida economist Ariel Singerman said in a Citrus Expo presentation in August. “This is a decrease in cost of about 4 percent compared to last year,” Singerman says in this report. He explains the reason for the production cost decrease: “It is no longer …

putnam talks citrus

Adam Putnam: Citrus Industry ‘Still Blocking and Tackling’

Ernie Neff Bactericides, Citrus Greening

“We’re an industry who’s a group of fighters,” Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam says in summarizing his talk Friday at the Indian River Citrus League’s annual meeting in Vero Beach. “With all the challenges that we’ve seen here on the River – from canker to hurricanes and the devastation caused by greening – we’re still blocking and tackling and …

Crop size, PFD

Joe Davis Jr. Predicts Orange Crop Size; Discusses PFD Impact

Ernie Neff Bactericides, Citrus Greening, Forecast, PFD

Grower Joe Davis Jr., a panelist at a Peace River Valley Citrus Growers Association gathering Thursday, says he expects a Florida orange crop of 61 to 70 million boxes this season. Last season’s Florida orange crop was 81.5 million boxes. “Our groves are down,” Davis says. “We’re guessing that earlies and mids will probably be down about 10 percent, and …

PFD, HLB, Crop

Peace River Growers Discuss Citrus Issues

Ernie Neff Bactericides, Citrus Greening, PFD

Six citrus growers shared their views on a wide range of topics with about 50 fellow producers at a Peace River Valley Citrus Growers Association (PRVCGA) gathering Thursday in Bowling Green. PRVCGA Executive Director LeAnna Himrod, who posed questions for the panelists, summarizes the discussions by topic. Crop size: “I think that everyone’s expecting it to be lower than last …

HLB-spreading psyllids

HLB-Spreading Psyllids: Incidence and Intensity

Ernie Neff Citrus Expo, Citrus Greening, Pests

Citrus growers sometimes ask University of Florida entomologist Phil Stansly why they should continue to spray for HLB-spreading psyllids when trees are already infected with the disease. Stansly answered that question at Citrus Expo in August. “There are two issues with HLB,” Stansly says in this interview with Tacy Callies summarizing his Expo presentation. “One is incidence. In other words, …

citrus congress

Browning Reports from the International Citrus Congress

Ernie Neff Citrus, Citrus Greening

The International Citrus Congress is taking place this week in Brazil. Scientists and citrus industry members from around the globe are gathering to learn the latest research not just on HLB, but on all aspects of citrus production. Florida is well represented at the event. Harold Browning, Citrus Research and Development Foundation chief operations officer, is among the attendees. Southeast …

citrus could recover

Hunt on Orange Production: Recovery Could Come Quickly

Ernie Neff Citrus Greening, Economics, Rootstocks

Florida Citrus Commission Chairman Ellis Hunt Jr. reacts to projections Wednesday that Florida’s orange production will likely be near current levels or possibly much lower in 10 years. He says existing growers and/or institutional investors could replant trees lost to HLB fairly rapidly if they believe trees can survive and produce fruit in the face of HLB. “I think we …

oranges worst case

Worst Case in 10 Years: Florida Orange Production at 27 Million Boxes

Ernie Neff Citrus Greening, Economics, Forecast

In the worst-case scenario projected by economists Wednesday, Florida orange production could plummet to 27 million boxes in 10 years. Florida orange production last season was 81.5 million boxes. As recently as the 2003-04 season, Florida produced 242 million boxes of oranges. Production declines are primarily caused by HLB, the deadly disease first discovered in Florida in 2005. But the …

HLB heat treatment

Update on Thermal Therapy for HLB

Ernie Neff Citrus Expo, Citrus Greening

University of Florida researcher Reza Ehsani updated growers at Citrus Expo in August about research into the use of heat treatment of HLB-infected trees. Approximately 80,000 trees were heat treated in Florida in the past year, he says. Ehsani discusses some key issues regarding thermal therapy. “Finding the right time and temperature is critical to using this technique,” he says, …

hurricane

Hunt Discusses Citrus Acreage Reduction

Ernie Neff Citrus Greening, Economics

“I think it just continues to show … the effect of HLB,” citrus grower and Florida Citrus Commission Chairman Ellis Hunt Jr. says of the U.S. Department of Agriculture report that Florida citrus acreage fell 4 percent in a year. “I look forward to the day that the new groves going in the ground will offset the declining numbers.” Hunt …

citrus acreage decline

Grower Not Surprised by 4 Percent Acreage Decline

Ernie Neff Bactericides, Citrus Greening, Economics

“I don’t think there were any real surprises in the report today,” Indian River area grower and packer Cody Estes says in response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s report that Florida citrus acreage tumbled 4 percent. Florida acreage is now at 480,121, the lowest number since tracking began in 1966. “Hopefully with the anti-microbial treatments that are going on, …

Planting New Groves in the Face of HLB

Ernie Neff Citrus Greening, Nutrition, Rootstocks

Planting new groves in the face of HLB has become a daunting task for Florida growers. At the recent Citrus Expo, University of Florida researcher Ute Albrecht offered suggestions for those taking on the challenge. “Among the important things to consider when planting new groves are the site preparation, the planting of the trees, weed management, irrigation and nutrition, and …

Evaluation of HLB Treatments

Josh McGill Citrus Greening

By Stephanie Slinski Evaluating how well bactericides, nutritional programs or other treatments work against HLB can be difficult. Symptoms are not uniform between trees in a grove, and tree health fluctuates throughout the season, which may give the appearance of an effect. Rigorous field trials are the best way to test new treatments, but not every treatment program can be …

PFD and HLB

Trees Look Good but PFD and HLB Will Impact Yield

Ernie Neff Citrus Greening, PFD

Several citrus growers attending a grower forum in Sebring last week said groves are looking very good even though fruit production is expected to be low this season. John Barben, a Highlands County grower and the new president of Florida Citrus Mutual, summarized the situation. “Trees are looking good,” Barben said. “We had a lot of rain the last couple …

Research on HLB-Tolerant Varieties Conducted in Gainesville

Ernie Neff Citrus Greening, Pests

Research on HLB-tolerant trees and better citrus varieties is being conducted in Gainesville, outside the Florida citrus belt. University of Florida scientist Jose Chaparro discusses the work. “In Gainesville we have essentially the youngest citrus breeding program in Florida,” Chaparro says. “In the future, we hope to be able to provide both HLB and canker resistance in our selections.” Such …