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

Soilless Substrate Science Seeks Citrus Industry Input

Tacy CalliesResearch

Citrus growers are beginning to explore the potential of soilless culture. Ample opportunities exist for ever-evolving systems offering improved yield while overcoming a diminishing availability of soil fumigants and increased pest pressure. There is a need for flexibility in a constantly changing world of new production methods and regulations. Soilless culture provides an unprecedented opportunity to rethink how tree fruit … Read More

CRDF Defers Project Funding

Ernie NeffResearch

Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) directors on Sept. 22 had a lengthy discussion about a nutrition research proposal from Rhuanito (Johnny) Ferrarezi. Ferrarezi is a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences assistant professor at the Indian River Research and Education Center. Because of budgetary concerns expressed by CRDF, Ferrarezi cut $158,000 from his original proposed project … Read More

CRAFT Cycle Two Deadline Is September 4

Tacy Calliesplanting, Research


Time is running out for commercial citrus growers in Florida to apply to participate in Cycle Two of the Citrus Research and Field Trial (CRAFT) program. The deadline to apply is Friday, Sept. 4. The application process is open to growers with a minimum of 20 acres of planned solid-set or reset plantings. Cycle Two of CRAFT covers up to … Read More

CRDF Addresses Leaf Sampling and Breeding Research

Ernie NeffResearch


The Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) board recently chose leaf sampling timing and frequency as its top priority for a new nutrition research project. The board also agreed to create a Select Committee on Plant Improvement to help plant breeders decide which new cultivars should go into final field trials. CRDF Chief Operating Officer Rick Dantzler discusses the board’s … Read More

New Targets Found for HLB Treatments

Len WilcoxResearch

Thanks to recent advances in metabolic modeling, scientists are closer to gaining the upper hand on citrus greening (also known as huanglongbing or HLB), a disease that has wiped out citrus orchards across the globe. New models of the bacterium linked to the disease reveal control methods that were previously unavailable. Metabolic models of organisms are like road maps of … Read More

OJ May Help Lower Blood Pressure

Ernie NeffOrange Juice, Research

A growing body of scientific research shows that 100 percent orange juice (OJ), and its vitamins and minerals, may play a beneficial role in helping to lower blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease. Recently, a randomized control study performed by researchers at Eurecat, Centre Tecnològic de Catalunya, in Reus, Spain concluded that 100 percent OJ and 100 percent OJ fortified … Read More

New Rootstocks in the Citrus Breeding Pipeline

Tacy CalliesResearch, Rootstocks

By Jude Grosser, Fred Gmitter and Kim Bowman Two citrus breeding programs have identified several rootstocks that can currently be planted with confidence when combined with appropriate scions, including mid- and late-season oranges, and grown with emerging enhanced nutrition programs. These citrus breeding programs are at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Citrus Research and Education … Read More

Massive Research Project in Millennium Block

Ernie NeffResearch

Researchers at the resurrected Millennium Block at Fort Pierce will assess the performance of new grapefruit cultivars and evaluate numerous rootstocks in the face of HLB. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) researcher Rhuanito “Johnny” Ferrarezi discusses the history of the block and research planned there. The block is called Millennium because some researchers planted variety … Read More

Rootstock Effects on Valencia and Hamlin in Large-Scale Commercial Plantings

Tacy CalliesResearch, Rootstocks

By Ute Albrecht, Sudip Kunwar and Jude Grosser Prior to 1865, the only rootstocks used in Florida were sour orange and sweet orange. Use of grafted trees instead of seedling trees became necessary because of the devastating effects of phytophthora on sweet orange. Sour orange was widely used as a rootstock because of its resistance to phytophthora and other positive … Read More

Growers Get Details on CRAFT Cycle Two

Ernie Neffplanting, Research


Approximately 60 people learned how to participate in Cycle Two of the Citrus Research and Field Trial (CRAFT) program via a virtual workshop held June 23-24. The application period for Cycle Two will be July 20 to Sept. 4, 2020. CRAFT offers growers substantial financial incentives to plant new trees that will be raised utilizing specific HLB mitigation strategies. Participating … Read More

UF/IFAS in Labs, at Citrus Expo and More

Ernie NeffAll In For Citrus Podcast, Citrus Expo, Research


In the latest phase of COVID-19 re-openings, more citrus researchers have returned to University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) laboratories. Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC) Director Michael Rogers says the number of researchers allowed in labs had been gradually increasing throughout the pandemic. Rogers also discusses an award won by a CREC researcher, work on … Read More

Certis USA Continues Citrus Research Support

Tacy CalliesCRDF, Industry News Release, Research

For the fourth consecutive year, Certis USA has donated $20,000 to the Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) to help fund the non-profit’s research aimed at finding a cure for huanglongbing (HLB; citrus greening). The company’s successful “Certis for Citrus” program utilizes sales from their top citrus products to annually support CRDF’s mission. The donation came during CRDF’s board meeting … Read More

Fruit Drop of Citrus in Summer Months

Tacy CalliesProduction, Research

By Tripti Vashisth, Megan Dewdney and Lauren Diepenbrock This article summarizes what is known about summer fruit drop in healthy citrus trees and those with huanglongbing (HLB). Also discussed is how HLB can affect early fruit development and exacerbate fruit drop. Additionally, strategies to reduce summer fruit drop are included. Citrus flowers profusely, but less than 2 percent of the … Read More

More CRAFT Plantings to Come

Ernie Neffplanting, Research

A second phase of government-supported HLB research projects in Florida’s commercial groves is expected to be initiated this year by the Citrus Research and Field Trial (CRAFT) Foundation. A first phase, in which participating growers must have trees in the ground before June 30, saw growers signing up for 46 projects on 2,032 acres. Learn more about the first phase … Read More

Trunk Injection Considerations

Ernie NeffCEU, Research

A presentation titled “Trunk Injection: Difficulties and Considerations” is one of the first from the cancelled 2020 Florida Citrus Growers’ Institute to become available online. The annual event was cancelled because of COVID-19. The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is working to make additional presentations that were intended for the Florida Citrus Growers’ Institute available … Read More

Lessons Learned From Rootstock Field Trials

Tacy CalliesResearch, Rootstocks

By Bill Castle “The notion that field trial data are of little value in the early years and trials must run for 15 years is outdated.”  [Lesson 7] “Our new website provides the grower community with user-friendly access to our collective decades of rootstock trial data…” [Lesson 9] Those are two of many lessons shared in a recent article authored … Read More

CRAFT Growers Planting 2,032 Florida Citrus Acres

Ernie Neffplanting, Research

Florida growers have signed up for 46 HLB research projects representing 2,032 acres through the Citrus Research and Field Trial (CRAFT) Foundation, Executive Director Kristen Carlson reported recently. Solid-set projects account for 1,641 acres; resets for 391 acres. “Some growers have more than one project,” Carlson said. The CRAFT Foundation was organized last year to administer a program aimed at … Read More

Research Pushes Forward in COVID-19 Era

Tacy CalliesCOVID-19, Research

As Florida moved to “safer at home” measures, not all University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) research projects could be put on pause. There are living plants, animals and insects to feed and maintain. Some projects have regular monitoring procedures for which postponement could have broader environmental consequences. “We are very proud of our faculty, staff … Read More

Reduce Fruit Drop, Increase Yield

Tacy CalliesIndustry News Release, Production, Research

University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) citrus scientists Tripti Vashisth and Fernando Alferez are trying to reduce the amount of fruit drop from Hamlin and Valencia trees prior to harvest. If fruit drops, growers can’t harvest it, and that leads to losses for farmers and less fruit at the market for consumers. Normally, about 10 to … Read More