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

CitrusFarming Is Quite The Scary Prospect For Some [Opinion]
September 30, 2014
Florida Grower managing editor Paul Rusnak says economic realities might frighten off future leaders from noble professions. Read More
CitrusFlorida Announces Its 2014 Woman Of The Year In Agriculture
September 29, 2014
Longtime award recognizes women who have made outstanding contributions to the state’s farming sector. Read More
CitrusFlorida Produce Industry Embracing Progress, Confronting Challenges
September 29, 2014
Production pressures and politics hot topics at FFVA’s 71st Annual Convention. Read More
CitrusFlorida Farmers Finding Ways To Cultivate An Environment Of Excellence [Opinion]
September 26, 2014
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam salutes producers putting their best management practices forward. Read More
CitrusGrowers Should Partner Wisely To Stay Afloat Amid WOTUS Woes [Opinion]
September 26, 2014
According to Florida Grower editor Frank Giles, the Clean Water Act is muddying waters for farmers. Read More
Varieties & RootstocksSimplifying Progressive Citrus Propagation Process A Priority
September 25, 2014
Stakeholders work rapidly to smooth out any kinks in the FAST TRACK. Read More
CitrusPolitics Creating More Work In Farm Management Field
September 24, 2014
Paul Meador of Everglades Harvesting Co. says an immigration reform resolution can't come soon enough. Read More

The Latest

CitrusFarming Is Quite The Scary Prospect For Some [Opinion]
September 30, 2014
Florida Grower managing editor Paul Rusnak says economic realities might frighten off future leaders from noble professions. Read More
CitrusFlorida Announces Its 2014 Woman Of The Year In Agricul…
September 29, 2014
Longtime award recognizes women who have made outstanding contributions to the state’s farming sector. Read More
CitrusFlorida Produce Industry Embracing Progress, Confrontin…
September 29, 2014
Production pressures and politics hot topics at FFVA’s 71st Annual Convention. Read More
CitrusFlorida Farmers Finding Ways To Cultivate An Environmen…
September 26, 2014
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam salutes producers putting their best management practices forward. Read More
CitrusGrowers Should Partner Wisely To Stay Afloat Amid WOTUS…
September 26, 2014
According to Florida Grower editor Frank Giles, the Clean Water Act is muddying waters for farmers. Read More
CitrusPolitics Creating More Work In Farm Management Field
September 24, 2014
Paul Meador of Everglades Harvesting Co. says an immigration reform resolution can't come soon enough. Read More
CitrusUF/IFAS Names New Dean Of Research
September 24, 2014
Longtime citrus scientist Jackie Burns takes lead post. Read More
CitrusMajor Florida Citrus Planting Incentive Program Announc…
September 23, 2014
Citrus World Inc. plans to invest $10 million to encourage new acreage. Read More
CitrusNational Farmers Union Submits Comments On Clean Water …
September 23, 2014
Organization urges other industry groups to submit constructive comments. Read More
CitrusLuke Bryan Pays It Forward For Farming
September 23, 2014
Country superstar honors agriculture with his Farm Tour. Read More
CitrusNew Superhero Aims To Save Florida Citrus
September 22, 2014
Unique marketing partnership comes to life through comics. Read More
CitrusFDA Announces Cooperative Agreement To Implement Nation…
September 17, 2014
Agreement will provide information to help plan and carry out the produce safety rule in partnership with state regulatory agencies. Read More
CitrusFMC Acquires Cheminova
September 9, 2014
Transaction expected to close in early 2015. Read More
CitrusSouth Florida Wet Season Receives Slight Respite
September 9, 2014
Reports indicate most areas around the region received below average rainfall during August. Read More
CitrusWhole Farm Revenue Protection Adds Up For Crop Insuranc…
September 4, 2014
New USDA program to provide coverage for all agricultural commodities. Read More
CitrusUniversity Of Florida’s Class Of 2018 Raises The Bar …
September 4, 2014
Arriving College Of Agriculture And Life Sciences students bring strong credentials and diversity. Read More
CitrusFlorida Citrus Growers, Beekeepers Deal Proving To Be B…
September 3, 2014
EPA encourages further promotion and partnership in similar voluntary programs across the country. Read More
CitrusHarness The Marketing Power Of Video
September 1, 2014
Multimedia platform is an effective and inexpensive marketing tool for you to attract new customers and keep existing ones loyal to your brand. Read More