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

CitrusFDA Announces Cooperative Agreement To Implement National Produce Safety Rule
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
MarketingMarketer Finds Niche With First-Of-Its-Kind Orange Maze
September 12, 2014
Who says an old dog can’t learn new tricks? Not Bob McKellar, creator of the first orange maze in the U.S. Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateMore Coastal Land In California Quarantined For Asian Citrus Psyllid
September 12, 2014
Additional Asian citrus psyllid adults and nymphs found on state’s central coast. 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 Insurance Seekers
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 For Agriculture [Opinion]
September 4, 2014
Arriving College Of Agriculture And Life Sciences students bring strong credentials and diversity. Read More

The Latest

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
CitrusFlorida Department Of Citrus Knocks NPR Piece Over Juic…
August 28, 2014
Agency goes to bat for the industry regarding statement slighting OJ's health benefits. Read More
CitrusFlorida Energy Firm Charged Up About Citrus Biomass Pot…
August 28, 2014
Machine called a game-changer when it comes to a cost-effective, efficient way for tree removal and re-purposing. Read More
CitrusNational Scientific Summit On Herbicide Resistant Weeds…
August 27, 2014
Topics to be covered include the economics of proactively managing herbicide resistance, education and outreach efforts, and incentives and regulatory initiatives. Read More
CitrusClean Water Conundrum: Ditch The Rule Or Ditch The Myth…
August 26, 2014
Regulation inundation causing a rising tide of confusion for farmers. Read More
CitrusCalifornia Citrus Cleared For Chinese Export
August 25, 2014
New agreement addresses concerns over brown rot. Read More
CitrusConsolidated Citrus Eyes Giant Planned Agricultural, Em…
August 25, 2014
South Florida real estate endeavor includes a 5 million-square-foot industrial park, including 200,000 square feet of retail space and 500 hotel rooms. Read More
Citrus‘Super Cold’ Winter, Sizzling Summer On Tap In 2015…
August 21, 2014
The 223rd edition of the folksy regional forecast manual predicting extremes. Read More
CitrusBorder Crisis Not Helping Farmers
August 19, 2014
As thousands cross into the U.S. seeking refuge, calls for ag labor reform are lost in the uproar. Read More
CitrusU.S. Sugar Buying South Florida Sugar Cane And Vegetabl…
August 15, 2014
Purported deal worth $100 million to purchase farmland and assets of Knight Management Inc. Read More
CitrusFlorida’s Future Farming Leaders Dig Up Knowledge…
August 15, 2014
Class 3 of FFVA's Emerging Leader Development Program learn a lot from road trip to California's Salinas Valley. Read More
CitrusWater Bond Will Appear On California Ballot
August 14, 2014
Voters will decide if thirsty state will spend $7.5 billion, including $2.7 billion for storage. Read More