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

One comment on “Florida Citrus Industry Welcomes New State-Of-The-Art Greenhouse

Citrus Stories
CitrusShopping For UAVs? Here Are 2 To Consider
January 25, 2015
Check out a couple of high-flying options from Altavian. Read More
OrangesScientists Center On Sweet Spot For Processed Oranges
January 24, 2015
Unique approaches and techniques being employed to sustain and squeeze more out of critical research. Read More
Apples & PearsSurvey: Positive Indicators For Biocontrols In U.S. Horticulture, Agriculture
January 22, 2015
Preliminary results of a survey conducted in December 2014 of more than 850 readers across six Meister Media Worldwide titles Read More
CitrusAsian Citrus Psyllid Marches North In California Citrus Belt
January 22, 2015
Part of one of the richest agricultural areas in the U.S., Fresno County, has been quarantined. Read More
Apples & PearsReal-World Solutions Highlight First Biocontrols 2015 Conference & Tradeshow
January 22, 2015
Topping the inaugural event's marquee are presentations on “Driving Crop Quality and Productivity Using Biocontrols” by representatives from two of the largest produce growing organizations in the country. Read More
MarketingFlorida Citrus Commission Probes Federal Marketing Order For Orange Juice
January 21, 2015
Meeting to be scheduled for March to vet possibilities. Read More
CitrusBayer CropScience Launches Latest Insecticide, Sivanto
January 20, 2015
New product delivers precision pest control to preserve the health of plants and protect fruit and vegetable crops. Read More
The Latest
CitrusFlorida Citrus Is Still A Big Deal [Opinion]
January 28, 2015
Even while in the grips of greening, citrus continues to be a big contributor to the Sunshine State's economy. Read More
CitrusNominees Sought For Florida Agricultural Environmental …
January 26, 2015
Honor recognizes those developing and adopting environmentally innovative farming practices. Read More
CitrusIncreased Global Trade Opportunity Equals New Threats F…
January 26, 2015
Despite expanding business abroad, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam says he's confident in the protocols in place to prevent entry of invasive pests and disease. Read More
CitrusShopping For UAVs? Here Are 2 To Consider
January 25, 2015
Check out a couple of high-flying options from Altavian. Read More
Apples & PearsSurvey: Positive Indicators For Biocontrols In U.S. Hor…
January 22, 2015
Preliminary results of a survey conducted in December 2014 of more than 850 readers across six Meister Media Worldwide titles Read More
CitrusAsian Citrus Psyllid Marches North In California Citrus…
January 22, 2015
Part of one of the richest agricultural areas in the U.S., Fresno County, has been quarantined. Read More
Apples & PearsReal-World Solutions Highlight First Biocontrols 2015 C…
January 22, 2015
Topping the inaugural event's marquee are presentations on “Driving Crop Quality and Productivity Using Biocontrols” by representatives from two of the largest produce growing organizations in the country. Read More
CitrusBayer CropScience Launches Latest Insecticide, Sivanto
January 20, 2015
New product delivers precision pest control to preserve the health of plants and protect fruit and vegetable crops. Read More
CitrusGrowers Should Stay Grounded When Reaching For Lofty Go…
January 20, 2015
Unmanned aerial vehicles are all the rage. Can and will this technology become a standard tool for farmers? Read More
CitrusScientists Say 2014 Warmest Year Since 1880
January 19, 2015
Separate studies by NASA and NOAA confirm continuance of long-term warming trend. Read More
CitrusFormer Florida Citrus Packers Leader Passes Away Unexpe…
January 19, 2015
Richard Kinney was a longtime liason and champion for the industry. Read More
CitrusElevated Expectations For UAV Use In Agriculture
January 15, 2015
Uncertainties aside, many believe unmanned aircraft will find a lasting place in farming. Read More
CitrusFire Ravages California Citrus Packinghouse
January 15, 2015
Close to $1 million worth of boxes, pallets reportedly burned up at Sunkist-operated facility. Read More
CitrusLatest Florida Citrus Forecast Hits Season’s First Snag
January 12, 2015
Overall orange production reduced by 5 million boxes. Read More
CitrusFreeze Threat Has Florida Growers On Alert
January 7, 2015
Technology to help producers prepare for, endure cold snap. Read More
CitrusStudy Predicts No Farmers And Ranchers Under Age 35 By …
January 7, 2015
Research conducted in Wyoming examines how the agricultural community is aging and what needs to be done to encourage young people to pursue a career in farming. Read More
CitrusDitch Party Politics To Move Forward With Immigration R…
January 3, 2015
The President’s proposed immigration plan has drawn criticism from agricultural sectors, but is an important first step in fixing the long-broken system. Read More
CitrusAsk, Think, And Plan Before Joining The Family Business
January 1, 2015
Returning to the farm is often an emotional decision, rather than a carefully considered career move. Read More