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
Lemon tree in Florida full of fruit
Grapefruit & Specialty
August 22, 2017
More Florida Citrus Producers Pondering the Lemon Pledge
Local farmers are sweet on the prospect of growing the acid fruit. Read More
Alan Jones takes a ride around Jones Potato Farm
Citrus
August 21, 2017
Take Alternative Routes to Find Conventional Farming Solutions [Opinion]
In order to grow, things have to change. Are you ready? Read More
young Florida citrus grove
Varieties & Rootstocks
August 19, 2017
Pressure Is on to Pick and Plant Citrus Winners
With even more variety selections available, information and communication are keys to success. Read More
honeybees
Citrus
August 19, 2017
More Forage Grants Distributed in Honor of National Honeybee Day
National forage program is scattering seeds from New York to California to celebrate pollinators. Read More
Citrus
August 18, 2017
Bayer Aims Research Prowess at Defeating Citrus Greening
Company enters collaboration with Citrus Research and Development Foundation to uncover antibacterial and plant defense tools against the disease. Read More
fine-tuning an orange
Citrus
August 18, 2017
How Florida Growers are Fine-Tuning Citrus Fertility
Some are tweaking nutrition programs to focus on root health along with foliar applications. Read More
Citrus
August 17, 2017
How Wicked Will Winter 2018 Be in the U.S.?
The 200th edition of the Farmers’ Almanac reveals wide-ranging weather patterns and events that would require everything from shovels to shorts. Read More
Agritainment
Citrus
August 15, 2017
New Conference to Shine Spotlight on Central Florida Agritourism
Education and interaction part of UF/IFAS-led agenda. Read More
Citrus
August 11, 2017
Field Scouting Guide: Common Lambsquarters
Take a look at these tips for identifying and treating this pervasive weed. Read More
Jose Dubeux and Mack Glass talk farming in a Florida forage field
Citrus
August 9, 2017
Florida Farming and University Extension Grow Hand in Hand [Opinion]
Learning is a two-way street to success in the field and the lab. Read More
Citrus
August 9, 2017
Traceability Products to Help You Track Produce
One way to ease the process of a food safety recall is by having detailed records of where each crop has been and who has touched it. Look over these traceability products using the latest technology to help you stay on top of your records. Read More
Flooded farm field in Florida
Citrus
August 8, 2017
Drought-Busted Sunshine State Still on the Dry Side
Despite prolific periods of precipitation, parts of Florida remain under water shortage warning order. Read More
Citrus
August 7, 2017
New Funding Available for Agricultural Technology
USDA announces $400,000 to support ag science entrepreneurs. Read More
Florida Citrus Hall of Fame logo
Citrus
August 4, 2017
Next Class of Florida Citrus Hall of Famers Being Sought
Longtime industry honor now entering its 56th year. Read More
Citrus
August 2, 2017
Recalls Happen. Here’s What You Can Do If It Happens to You
Follow this 10-Step plan to protect the public — and your farm. As a bonus, see how Duda Farms runs its mock recalls. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
August 23, 2017
Varroa Mite Researchers Talk High Infest…
In 2016, The New York State Beekeeper Tech Team (which is attached to Cornell University’s Dyce Lab Beekeeping Resources) found that Read More
Citrus
August 23, 2017
Advice From the FDA on How Growers Can K…
Want tips that will keep your operation on the right side of the FDA when it comes to food safety? American Vegetable Grower® decided the best advice would come directly from the FDA itself.  Read More
Citrus
August 21, 2017
Take Alternative Routes to Find Conventi…
In order to grow, things have to change. Are you ready? Read More
Citrus
August 19, 2017
More Forage Grants Distributed in Honor …
National forage program is scattering seeds from New York to California to celebrate pollinators. Read More
Citrus
August 18, 2017
Bayer Aims Research Prowess at Defeating…
Company enters collaboration with Citrus Research and Development Foundation to uncover antibacterial and plant defense tools against the disease. Read More
Citrus
August 18, 2017
How Florida Growers are Fine-Tuning Citr…
Some are tweaking nutrition programs to focus on root health along with foliar applications. Read More
Citrus
August 17, 2017
How Wicked Will Winter 2018 Be in the U.…
The 200th edition of the Farmers’ Almanac reveals wide-ranging weather patterns and events that would require everything from shovels to shorts. Read More
Citrus
August 15, 2017
New Conference to Shine Spotlight on Cen…
Education and interaction part of UF/IFAS-led agenda. Read More
Citrus
August 11, 2017
Field Scouting Guide: Common Lambsquarte…
Take a look at these tips for identifying and treating this pervasive weed. Read More
Citrus
August 9, 2017
Florida Farming and University Extension…
Learning is a two-way street to success in the field and the lab. Read More
Citrus
August 9, 2017
Traceability Products to Help You Track …
One way to ease the process of a food safety recall is by having detailed records of where each crop has been and who has touched it. Look over these traceability products using the latest technology to help you stay on top of your records. Read More
Citrus
August 8, 2017
Drought-Busted Sunshine State Still on t…
Despite prolific periods of precipitation, parts of Florida remain under water shortage warning order. Read More
Citrus
August 7, 2017
New Funding Available for Agricultural T…
USDA announces $400,000 to support ag science entrepreneurs. Read More
Citrus
August 4, 2017
Next Class of Florida Citrus Hall of Fam…
Longtime industry honor now entering its 56th year. Read More
Citrus
August 2, 2017
Recalls Happen. Here’s What You Ca…
Follow this 10-Step plan to protect the public — and your farm. As a bonus, see how Duda Farms runs its mock recalls. Read More
Citrus
August 2, 2017
Florida Farm Set to Bring Organic Medica…
3 Boys Farm finally gets its medical marijuana treatment center license; gearing to offer unique product in a budding market. Read More
Citrus
August 2, 2017
Perdue Appoints Key Food Safety Leaders
Carmen Rottenberg has been appointed Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety, and Paul Kiecker has been named Acting Administrator for the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). Read More
Citrus
August 1, 2017
HLB Detected in California’s Historic Ho…
Riverside County has a storied history of citrus production and is home to California Citrus State Historic Park, which preserves the cultural landscape of the citrus industry. Read More