Florida Citrus Industry Welcomes New State-Of-The-Art Greenhouse

Photo courtesy of UF/IFAS
Photo courtesy of UF/IFAS

The citrus industry has just gotten its own state-of-the-art greenhouse, dedicated solely to citrus nursery research as the state continues its fight against citrus greening.
The $200,000 facility is located at the University of Florida’s Mid-Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka. Officials say it was built there to shield the young plants from greening in the state’s main citrus-crowing areas of Central and South Florida, as federal guidelines suggest.
The new greenhouse contains innovative technology, including:

  • Fifty-one  4-by-7-foot tables, each serving as an experimental unit; they can be reconfigured as needed.
  • Each table is outfitted to measure water movement through a plant and provide precise irrigation as needed.
  • A control room with 144 switches, which manage 192 inputs for water, fertilizer, and weight and sensor readings for nutrient elements and temperature.
  • A versatile computer program capable of controlling several experimental systems concurrently.

There is capacity for 12,000 experimental trees in the 70-by-96-foot building, which sports a 16-foot-high ceiling to reduce the heat on the plants and workers.
The structure was built thanks to the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association’s citrus nursery members and UF/IFAS.
“The greenhouse is extraordinarily important to the citrus industry as it battles the devastating citrus greening disease,” said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources.  “This facility will allow us to continue to be at the forefront of research.”

Scientists will use the greenhouse to research problems and develop more efficient production practices for the citrus nursery growers, who produce young trees for planting in groves. They will also ramp up the production of new trees for replacement in groves heavily hit by greening.

“The citrus nursery growers’ investments in this new greenhouse underscore our optimism for the future health of Florida’s citrus industry,” said Ben Bolusky, FNGLA’s chief executive officer.  “The research that can now be conducted will offer key scientific insights into producing citrus nursery trees that hold the keys to long-term success.”

Researchers and growers are developing rootstock and plants resistant to greening using traditional budding methods and modern DNA genetics. In addition, they are researching psyllids. The greenhouse will offer researchers the ability to scientifically evaluate new plants.
Richard Beeson, an associate professor of environmental horticulture, designed, built and programmed the computerized control panels for the greenhouse. He is already working on experiments to quantify how much water is needed to produce trees in various conditions for planting into groves, from seed until marketable size. He and Hayk Khachatryan, an assistant professor in food and resource economics, will study the optimum spacing of trees on tables for maximum profitability for greenhouse producers.
“I have researched growth and water needs of landscape trees and woody shrubs in Florida since 1990,” Beeson said. “I am excited to apply the knowledge I have gained to help the citrus nursery industry maximize yields and profits to help restore Florida’s citrus heritage.”

The new greenhouse is scheduled to be officially dedicated March 25 at the UF/IFAS Mid-Florida Research and Education Center.

Source: UF/IFAS

Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Florida Citrus Industry Welcomes New State-Of-The-Art Greenhouse

  1. There are exciting things happening in citrus tree production in HARGILL, TEXAS Check out Dr. Skaria and US CITRUS
    This technology is coming to Florida soon.

Citrus Stories
Plato the Publixaurus
Citrus1 Million Promos And Counting Pump Up Florida Farmers
April 30, 2015
Supermarket stalwart Publix pushes Fresh From Florida fare at record level. Read More
CitrusBayer CropScience Introduces Healthy Hives 2020 Honey Bee Health Research Initiative
April 29, 2015
Collaboration with honey bee experts will identify tangible actions designed to help improve the health of honey bee colonies in the next five years. Read More
University of California-Davis
CitrusWorld’s Best Agriculture Colleges Ranking Revealed
April 29, 2015
Annual report card distinguishes which schools are excelling by subject area. Read More
CitrusTrimble Acquires HarvestMark To Assist With Food Traceability And Quality Control
April 28, 2015
The goals of the acquisition ato provide more benefits to producers, add value to distribution centers, and provide a tool for tracking products in the food industry. Read More
CitrusCalifornia Drought Forum Slated For May 5
April 27, 2015
Public comments by growers, ranchers, and other stakeholders are encouraged by state officials. Read More
UF Glow mandarin
Varieties & RootstocksFlorida Citrus Growers Vie For Chance To Plant Experimental Selections
April 23, 2015
Meetings set to support launch of rapid release program’s third suite of new varieties. Read More
Havana, Cuba view
CitrusRenewed Relations With Cuba A Concern For Florida Growers [Opinion]
April 23, 2015
It might be said Sunshine State producers are worried if wider trade is opened as the potential for competing winter crops is real. Read More
The Latest
Lightning
CitrusWet Season Off To Extremely Early Start In South Florid…
May 1, 2015
Some areas saw more than 200% above-average rainfall during April. Read More
CitrusCitrus Showcase: A Very Informal Varietal Tasting
April 30, 2015
American/Western Fruit Grower Editor Dave Eddy provides a family review of some of the citrus varieties. Read More
Plato the Publixaurus
Citrus1 Million Promos And Counting Pump Up Florida Farmers
April 30, 2015
Supermarket stalwart Publix pushes Fresh From Florida fare at record level. Read More
CitrusBayer CropScience Introduces Healthy Hives 2020 Honey B…
April 29, 2015
Collaboration with honey bee experts will identify tangible actions designed to help improve the health of honey bee colonies in the next five years. Read More
University of California-Davis
CitrusWorld’s Best Agriculture Colleges Ranking Revealed
April 29, 2015
Annual report card distinguishes which schools are excelling by subject area. Read More
CitrusTrimble Acquires HarvestMark To Assist With Food Tracea…
April 28, 2015
The goals of the acquisition ato provide more benefits to producers, add value to distribution centers, and provide a tool for tracking products in the food industry. Read More
CitrusCalifornia Drought Forum Slated For May 5
April 27, 2015
Public comments by growers, ranchers, and other stakeholders are encouraged by state officials. Read More
Havana, Cuba view
CitrusRenewed Relations With Cuba A Concern For Florida Growe…
April 23, 2015
It might be said Sunshine State producers are worried if wider trade is opened as the potential for competing winter crops is real. Read More
CitrusFarm Bureau Supports Bill To Halt Controversial WOTUS R…
April 21, 2015
 Legislation would force EPA and the U.S. Army of Engineers to withdraw Waters of the United States proposal. Read More
CitrusRecord Number Of Organic Producers In U.S.
April 21, 2015
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Services says domestic production has increased by 250% across all markets since 2002. Read More
Captain Citrus running through an orange grove
CitrusFlorida Citrus Gaining Leverage For Next Growth Spurt
April 21, 2015
Amid the battles, moments of real and sustainable hope have emerged this season. Read More
Natalie Parkell and Kevin Osburn of Vertical Horizon Farms
CitrusSmall Family Farms Can Survive [Opinion]
April 17, 2015
It is reassuring amid the corporate climate the agriculture industry has experienced in more recent times that there is still room for the little guy, and — more importantly — a need. Read More
Golden Rice
CitrusMore Social Commentators Changing Their Views On GMO Cr…
April 15, 2015
Could public opinion be swayed by evolving narration on genetic modification? Read More
CitrusFlorida Agriculture Rings Up Record $4.2 Billion In Int…
April 13, 2015
Accomplishment represents third year in a row that Sunshine State exports have topped the $4 billion mark. Read More
Florida citrus packinghouse
CitrusLatest Florida Orange Crop Outlook Puts Brakes On Downw…
April 9, 2015
Updated numbers from USDA reveal count continuing to hover just above the 100 million box mark. Read More
CitrusForecasters Predict Historically Weak Atlantic Hurrican…
April 9, 2015
Extended range outlook cites El Niño as culprit in what could be one of the least active seasons in recent memory. Read More
One World Challenge Wall
CitrusToday’s Youth Set To Sustain The World [Opinion]
April 9, 2015
A select group of University of Florida students are thinking of innovative ways to meet the challenges of supporting 9+ billion people on Earth by 2050. Read More
Summer Foley, Miss Florida Citrus 2015
Citrus6 Questions With Miss Florida Citrus 2015
April 7, 2015
Pageant's much-anticipated comeback brings with it a breath of fresh air. Read More