This Q&A is the second installment of four special features honoring the 2016 Florida Grower® Citrus Achievement AwardSM winner Marty McKenna.
Q: What is the status of postbloom fruit drop in your citrus groves?
A: Postbloom fruit drop (PFD) is more widely distributed in Florida than ever before. In past years, impact to production was limited to individual groves or areas of groves. This year, PFD can be found to some degree from Ocala to Immokalee. Many theories exist on why PFD was so prevalent this year. We certainly experienced extended bloom periods coupled with frequent rains during the bloom. We all will have to be very diligent during next year’s bloom to attempt to control the infection. I don’t know what will be included in this attempt because many attempts were made last year with little success.
Q: Do you believe living with HLB has made you and others better growers?
A: I don’t know about better growers, but certainly it has made us more adaptable. I believe those of us who have kept abreast of the scientific information regarding HLB and stayed up with what other growers are doing will help us adjust by applying that knowledge to how we raise citrus. That’s why it is more important than ever that young growers have a strong education and scientific background. When we start talking about these scientific breakthroughs that already have occurred and more that are on the way, the better understanding of them you have, and the better equipped you will be to implement them in the most successful way.
Special thanks to Arysta LifeScience for sponsoring the Citrus Achievement Award.