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
Low-volume overhead irrigation system at Jones Potato Farm
Citrus
December 5, 2016
South Florida Endures Driest November On Record
Region has not experienced any significant rainfall since Hurricane Matthew. Read More
Grower Jonathan Brown of Bethel Farms inspects his citrus grove.
Citrus
December 2, 2016
Citrus Survey Shows Florida Growers Are Bully For Bactericides
Growers are betting unique crop protection tools will bridge the gap to bigger HLB solutions. Read More
Photo credit: USDA
Citrus
December 1, 2016
Bio Huma Netics App Now Released For Android Smart Phones
App includes foliar application calculators and ability to save application data. Read More
CBS This Morning citrus story interview
Citrus
December 1, 2016
Telling The Story Of Florida Citrus More Important Now Than Ever
HLB forces an emphasis on grassroots efforts to paint a positive picture. Read More
Citrus Postbloom Fruit Drop field day hosted by BASF in Florida
Insect & Disease Update
November 30, 2016
Florida’s Top Citrus Growers Sound Off On Critical Matters
Fighting pyllids, better weather, and new varieties will hopefully bring improved yields. Read More
California Citrus Mutual and the Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Program have spearheaded an effort to educate field crews about best practices to prevent the movement of plant material between harvest sites. (Photo Credit: David Eddy)
Citrus
November 29, 2016
Saving California Citrus Means Thinking Outside The “Carton” [Opinion]
Saving the California citrus industry from the incurable disease Huanglongbing will take a creative multi-pronged effort. Read More
sprayer nozzles
Citrus
November 29, 2016
Review Shows Low Risk To Aquatic Invertebrates From Neonicotinoids
Peer-reviewed evaluation of more than 100 studies finds uses of imidacloprid are unlikely to harm aquatic invertebrate communities, or the birds and fish that rely on them. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
December 6, 2016
Report: Florida Cannabis Business To App…
Lofty projections include a compound annual growth rate of 140%. Read More
Citrus
December 6, 2016
Florida Citrus Community Tasked To Unify…
A group effort is necessary to forge ahead. Read More
Citrus
December 5, 2016
South Florida Endures Driest November On…
Region has not experienced any significant rainfall since Hurricane Matthew. Read More
Citrus
December 2, 2016
Citrus Survey Shows Florida Growers Are …
Growers are betting unique crop protection tools will bridge the gap to bigger HLB solutions. Read More
Citrus
December 1, 2016
Bio Huma Netics App Now Released For And…
App includes foliar application calculators and ability to save application data. Read More
Citrus
December 1, 2016
Telling The Story Of Florida Citrus More…
HLB forces an emphasis on grassroots efforts to paint a positive picture. Read More
Citrus
November 29, 2016
Saving California Citrus Means Thinking …
Saving the California citrus industry from the incurable disease Huanglongbing will take a creative multi-pronged effort. Read More
Citrus
November 29, 2016
Review Shows Low Risk To Aquatic Inverte…
Peer-reviewed evaluation of more than 100 studies finds uses of imidacloprid are unlikely to harm aquatic invertebrate communities, or the birds and fish that rely on them. Read More
Citrus
November 23, 2016
Strength Of Sugar Fuels South Florida Ec…
The Sunshine State's sugar industry employs more than 14,000 people and has an annual income of more than $800 million with a total direct and indirect economic impact of greater than $3 billion. Read More
Citrus
November 22, 2016
Arysta Partners With Beem Biologics To L…
Agreement to expand Arysta’s portfolio with new biocontrol releases. Read More
Citrus
November 21, 2016
Bacterial Imbalances Can Be Troublesome …
A recent study reports that bees given fresh pollen or fresh supplements fared better than bees given pollen or supplements that had first been aged for 21 days. Read More
Citrus
November 21, 2016
7 Sweet Releases In Florida Sugarcane
New cultivars focus on disease resistance and yield. Read More
Citrus
November 21, 2016
EPA Extends Comment Period For Malathion
Growers have the opportunity to comment on a draft of human health risk assessment. Read More
Citrus
November 21, 2016
Insight Welcome On Florida Agriculture&#…
Poorly thought-out government policies loom as a major threat that prevents Florida farmers and ranchers from feeding a hungry world. Read More
Citrus
November 20, 2016
Partnership Highlights Key Role Bees Pla…
Campaign focuses on role honeybees and beekeepers have pollinating the foods Americans eat. Read More
Citrus
November 19, 2016
USDA Gives $200 Million To Expand Ag Exp…
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) is awarding $200 million to more than 70 Read More
Citrus
November 18, 2016
USDA Awards $9.4M For Pest Management
Projects aim to reduce pests, weeds, and diseases on farms through IPM. Read More
Citrus
November 17, 2016
How Soil Type Affects Land Values
Sand, loam, and muck all offer something different when setting property prices. Read More