Experimental Citrus Scion Selection Program Poised For Progress

Last September’s installment of “Citrus Nursery Source” announced pending trial opportunities for promising USDA-ARS citrus scion selections. Details of the program are now available and growers are registering for the program. Although trees have already been propagated for these trials, it is important citrus nurseries maintain an awareness of this program. Growers will be following the progress of these trials and may seek additional information from nurseries.

The USDA-ARS citrus breeding program has been actively developing improved varieties for more than 100 years. For these trials, the ARS team (Ed Stover, Greg McCollum, James Salvatore, and Randy Driggers) identified a range of citrus selections that are ready to move into field trials. Rather than traditional replicated field trials at ARS sites, ARS has solicited the assistance of New Varieties Development & Management Corp. (NVDMC) to engage growers in the field trial process. This program will be a cooperative effort between growers and USDA and will generate real-world data early in the process. Trials of this nature can greatly reduce the time needed for researchers to identify winners, losers, and selections that can contribute to future research. Participating growers will be able to use the fruit for processing or for sale in niche markets, but with identity kept confidential to preserve potential for patenting (USDA only patents cultivars when it enhances impact by making them more useful to the industry).
There are three groups of plants:

1. Orange-Like Hybrids

Though these complex hybrids are not pure sweet orange, they have shown some tolerance to HLB, but flavor volatiles and other characteristics are similar to sweet orange. The selections are all early, ripening around the time of Hamlin. There are four such orange-like hybrids.

  • A trial would entail eight trees of each experimental selection at each site. This would be a total of 32 trees of the trial selections at each site.
  • In addition to the four experimental selections, each site will feature eight trees each of Hamlin, Glenn navel, and Thompson navel as controls. The additional 24 control trees would bring the total to 56 trees per site.
  • Grower participants will be required to reimburse for the cost of tree-production expenses.
  • All trees are on X-639 rootstock.
  • NVDMC is seeking six sites (two in the Gulf, one in the River, one in the Peace River, and two on the Ridge).

    Identity yet a secret, here is one of the orange-like selections in the trial group. Photo courtesy of USDA-ARS
    Identity yet a secret, here is one of the orange-like selections in the trial group. Photo courtesy of USDA-ARS

General Descriptions

  • Early ripening (December) orange hybrid, which can be peeled with fingers alone. Juice color scores are similar to Valencia numbers (40) and preliminary juice quality work indicates that the juice is very much like pure orange juice.
  • Early ripening (December) orange hybrid with excellent juice color (40+) and high juice quality. Juice appears to be very similar to pure orange juice, and has a rich orange-like taste.
  • Early ripening (December) orange hybrid with large fruit size and excellent juice color. Many fruit on the original tree have been near Glenn navel size. Juice appears to be very similar to pure orange juice, and color scores have been similar to Valencia numbers.
  • Large fruited complex hybrid, which is similar to an orange in taste and internal texture. External appearance is unusually pebbly, but in trials so far it appears to have a greatly enhanced level of tolerance to HLB when compared to commercial varieties.

2. Mandarin Hybrids

All of the mandarin hybrids have been selected for their exceptional quality and for their apparent increased tolerance to HLB compared to other tangerine varieties. These selections do have seeds, but each are easy peeling and have good flavor. There are six mandarin hybrids in the suite.

  • A trial would entail eight trees of each experimental selection at each site. This would be a total of 48 trees of the trial selections at each site.
  • In addition to the six experimental selections, each site will feature eight trees each of W Murcott and US Early Pride as controls. The additional 16 control trees would bring the total to 64 trees per site.
  • All trees are on X-639 rootstock.
  • Grower participants will be required to reimburse for the cost of tree-production expenses.
  • NVDMC is seeking six sites (two in the Gulf, one in the River, one in the Peace River, and two on the Ridge).

    One of the eight mandarins in the trial group. Photo courtesy of USDA-ARS
    One of the eight mandarins in the trial group. Photo courtesy of USDA-ARS

General Descriptions

  • Medium-sized Christmas ripening tangerine hybrid with good color, moderately easy peeling, good taste and internal texture, and usually doesn’t plug badly. It has Satsuma in its background and has shown minimal damage over several freezes at 20°F to 24°F.
  • Small-to-medium-sized early ripening tangerine hybrid. Fruit peel very easily and also plug readily. Color and taste are both good. Has Satsuma in its background and has shown minimal damage over several freezes at 20°F to 24°F.
  • Medium-sized tangerine hybrid with good color and moderately good picking and peeling characteristics. Good fruit texture and segment separation. Taste is somewhat tart but good. This selection has done well at fruit shows.
  • Low-seeded version of one of our best overall tangerine selections. Usually ripens after Christmas. Has very good picking characteristics, segment separation, and color. The taste is very good to excellent. The fruit don’t plug badly but are still easy to peel.
  • Medium-sized tangerine selection with good color, especially internally. It has smooth, thin skin. It might be able to be picked without clipping and has excellent dry segment separation. It usually ripens in late November and has a sweet taste.
  • Medium-sized late November ripening tangerine, which is easy to peel and has dry segment separation. The color is very good externally and good internally and the taste is good. This selection seems to have a usable level of tolerance to HLB. Cross pollination is required.

3. Trees Made From Treated Buds Of Jackson And US Seedless Surprise Grapefruit Hybrids

Each of these selections have mild grapefruit-like flavor, but have white flesh. It is hoped these trials will result in red variants of the original varieties.

  • A trial would entail 50 to 100 trees of each variety at each site.
  • There will be no control varieties planted with this trial.
  • All trees are on sour orange rootstock.
  • Grower participants will be required to reimburse for the cost of tree production expenses. Growers must maintain trees for a minimum of five years.
  • NVDMC is seeking six sites for these trials.

All trees are expected to be ready for planting in March 2015. The trial sites will be awarded on a first come, first served basis. All growers will be required to sign a Material Transfer Agreement. This documentation is available from NVDMC for review prior to registration. Growers interested in participating can contact me by eMail for more details.

Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply

Citrus Stories
FNV logo
CitrusPMA Announces Funding For Major Produce Marketing Program
February 26, 2015
The produce industry is getting into brand marketing in a big way. The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) has announced the launch of a new promotional campaign - FNV - designed to take a page from the marketing strategies of big-money consumer brands like Nike and Apple. Read More
CitrusFDA, Federal Partners Develop New Method For Attributing Foodborne Illness
February 25, 2015
Data was analyzed from nearly 1,000 outbreaks to assess which categories of foods were most responsible for making people sick. Read More
CitrusBiocontrols 2015: Exhibition Sneak Preview
February 25, 2015
We take a look inside the exhibit hall at the Biocontrols 2015 Conference & Tradeshow. Read More
CitrusNew App Helps Identify Insects, Diseases, And Nutrient Deficiencies
February 24, 2015
Spensa Technologies launches app that helps growers take control of pests and improve soil nutrients. Read More
CitrusPacked Political Agenda On Tap For Florida Farmers
February 23, 2015
The Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association’s board of directors are working on a number of key issues that will be front-burner throughout 2015. Read More
CitrusWest Coast Governors Call For End To Port Labor Impasse
February 19, 2015
U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez helps mediate discussions between dockworkers and port operators. Read More
CitrusCompanion Biological Fungicide Now OMRI Listed
February 19, 2015
The biological fungicide from Growth Products is now registered for use in organic production. Read More
The Latest
CitrusNew Marvel Comic Book Reveals Origin Of Captain Citrus
March 5, 2015
Second installment of the Avengers Assemble series sets the stage for a new hero to save an orange grove under attack. Read More
Citrus18 Must-Have Apps For GenNext Growers
March 1, 2015
We asked about your favorite mobile applications, and here's what you had to say. Read More
FNV logo
CitrusPMA Announces Funding For Major Produce Marketing Progr…
February 26, 2015
The produce industry is getting into brand marketing in a big way. The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) has announced the launch of a new promotional campaign - FNV - designed to take a page from the marketing strategies of big-money consumer brands like Nike and Apple. Read More
CitrusFDA, Federal Partners Develop New Method For Attributin…
February 25, 2015
Data was analyzed from nearly 1,000 outbreaks to assess which categories of foods were most responsible for making people sick. Read More
CitrusBiocontrols 2015: Exhibition Sneak Preview
February 25, 2015
We take a look inside the exhibit hall at the Biocontrols 2015 Conference & Tradeshow. Read More
CitrusNew App Helps Identify Insects, Diseases, And Nutrient …
February 24, 2015
Spensa Technologies launches app that helps growers take control of pests and improve soil nutrients. Read More
CitrusPacked Political Agenda On Tap For Florida Farmers
February 23, 2015
The Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association’s board of directors are working on a number of key issues that will be front-burner throughout 2015. Read More
CitrusWest Coast Governors Call For End To Port Labor Impasse
February 19, 2015
U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez helps mediate discussions between dockworkers and port operators. Read More
CitrusCompanion Biological Fungicide Now OMRI Listed
February 19, 2015
The biological fungicide from Growth Products is now registered for use in organic production. Read More
CitrusNew Desalination Technology May Be The Answer To Califo…
February 18, 2015
Researchers plan to address concerns with a process that will examine ways to turn seawater into drinkable water. Read More
David Holden
CitrusBiopesticides, Biostimulants Show Results In Fruits And…
February 18, 2015
From biostimulants in celery and avocado to biopesticides in citrus and strawberries, consultant David Holden conducts in-the-field research that attests to the effectiveness of biocontrols. Read More
CitrusMegadrought In The West Predicted By End Of The Century
February 18, 2015
Lowering greenhouse gases will reduce risk, scientists say. Read More
CitrusIRS Change Could Pay Off In More Citrus Plantings
February 17, 2015
Florida Citrus Mutual is pushing a proposal forward that will allow growers to directly write off putting new trees in the ground. Read More
CitrusFlorida Citrus Poised For A Comeback
February 12, 2015
About halfway through the 2014-2015 season, and the crop could go either way. Read More
CitrusTier 4 Regulations Pique Propane Interest
February 12, 2015
New rules are extending to non-road applications like irrigation engines. Read More
CitrusSearch Is On For The Next Miss Florida Citrus
February 11, 2015
Pre-Miss America pageant makes its return offering contestants a chance to represent the industry and further their education. Read More
CitrusIs The ‘Agripocalypse’ Nearing? [Opinion]
February 10, 2015
Recent report indicates time is not on agriculture's side. Action is needed now to keep future growers engaged. Read More
CitrusFlorida Citrus Crop Holding On
February 10, 2015
Updated USDA forecast shows no change in orange and grapefruit yield. Read More