Game Far From Over for Florida Citrus

There are only so many gut punches the Florida citrus industry can take. And with the exceptionally heavy blows dealt by greening over recent years, you would think the Sunshine State’s signature crop would be down for the count. However, for those on hand during the 2017 Florida Citrus ShowSM last week in Ft. Pierce, you’d know that assessment couldn’t be further from the truth.

“We look beat up, but we’re still a large business,” noted Doug Bournique, Executive Director of the Indian River Citrus League, during his welcome to the crowd of attendees in the education session room.

Showing full force through strength in numbers, nearly 800 people turned out for the multiday conference and trade show held at the Havert L. Fenn Center and presented by Florida Grower® magazine in partnership with UF/IFAS, USDA, and the Indian River Citrus League.

So, what’s the big attraction to an event like this, especially with a struggling sector? Like always, the gathering served as a prime forum for growers, researchers, packers, and other industry stakeholders to share successes, review the latest advancements in crop protection (most notably bactericides), get primed on new/improved production practices, and peel back the layers on new variety development.

One main theme that came to the surface during the event: It appears if the big business of Florida citrus is to move forward, taking advantage of new varieties will have to be part of the equation.

Dr. Jude Grosser, UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center, made a strong case for new grapefruit varieties that are ready to roll out. In particular, Grosser spoke highly about ‘UF 914.’ The fruit is being heralded as the possible answer for those who love grapefruit, but can’t eat it because they take prescription medications. In addition to that healthy attribute, Grosser said the variety’s taste (no sugar needed) is what makes it a real all star. “‘914’ is gonna be a home run in the market,” Grosser said.

In addition, Grosser mentioned new cybrid grapefruit clones coming with improved canker tolerance and possibly HLB tolerance. “This is breakthrough stuff,” he remarked.

Pat Schirard, President of the Indian River Citrus League and longtime grower, stressed to attendees the importance of getting off the sidelines when deciding on whether to plant new selections. “There are lots of new (promising) varieties,” he said. “We need to get in the game and grow this industry.”

For more highlights captured during the 2017 Florida Citrus Show, scan the photo gallery above.

Topics: , , ,

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Game Far From Over for Florida Citrus

  1. We want to plant the UF914. Are seedlings/trees available and if so, whom should we contact?
    Thanks!!

Citrus Stories
Hurricane Matthew satellite image as it brushed past Florida
Citrus
July 20, 2017
Atlantic Hurricane Forecast Taken Up a Notch
Current conditions in the tropics warrant marked revision in potential storm season scenarios. Read More
Sunset on Florida potato field day
Citrus
July 19, 2017
Researchers On a Mission to Find More Places for Growing Produce
Federal grant to aid exploration of food security solutions for the future. Read More
Citrus
July 19, 2017
Farm Labor Stories Making the News This Week
The agricultural labor shortage is strong enough that the consumer press is beginning to report on it regularly. Here are the stories making headlines this month. Read More
farm hacks collage
Citrus
July 19, 2017
Florida Grower Magazine is Seeking Your Farm Hacks
Life hacks are common in social media threads these days. They are those clever ideas or tricks aimed at making Read More
Rain drops on leaf
Citrus
July 14, 2017
Everglades Agricultural Area Farmers Winning at Water Quality
Annual report shows use of best management practices results in another massive reduction in phosphorus flow. Read More
Citrus
July 13, 2017
The Road is Long to Farm Bill 2018 [Opinion]
Participation in this process will be crucial to ensure your needs are understood and addressed. Read More
2015 FFVA Annual Convention crowd
Citrus
July 13, 2017
Trade Talk to Top Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association Convention Agenda
Trade issues are top of mind these days for specialty crop producers. Efforts have been underway since early this year Read More
Citrus
July 12, 2017
Shaky Florida Citrus Season Skids to a Stop
Final USDA tally confirms continuing downward trend of production in the HLB era. Read More
Smaller John Deere tractor for use in citrus screenhouse
Citrus Achievement Award
July 12, 2017
Encourage New Citrus Growth by Getting Back to Basics
2017 Florida Grower Citrus Achievement Award winner Ed Pines says producing crops under protective screen is a way to farm more and stress less. Read More
Beet-armyworms-on-a-tomato-plant
Citrus
July 12, 2017
Tomato Pests Can Be Induced to Cannibalism, New Study Shows
The University of Wisconsin's John Orrock says when beet armyworms are exposed to concentrations of methyl jasmonate, they will abandon eating tomatoes — and start eating one another. Read More
Citrus
July 12, 2017
USDA Pulls 8 Products from Approved Organic Production List
After a few months of speculation, the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service has published its Sunset 2017 final rule on approved products for organic production and handling. Read More
Drone-aided photo of Ed Pines' CUPS
Varieties & Rootstocks
July 11, 2017
Florida Citrus Growers Going Inside to Think Outside the Box
Producing fruit under protective screen is developing into a viable option for sustaining the Sunshine State’s signature crop. Read More
Carl and Dustin Grooms of Fancy Farms
Business Planning
July 11, 2017
Young Florida Farmers Ready to Take the Reins
As growers age, the next generation is stepping up and stepping into leadership roles on the farm. Read More
Dr. Martha Roberts
Citrus
July 10, 2017
Florida Reveals Its Latest Woman of the Year in Agriculture
2017 award recipient a true trailblazer and champion for the advancement of the state’s farming industry. Read More
Insect & Disease Update
July 10, 2017
Value of Bactericides Under Florida Citrus Sector’s Microscope
Preliminary results of the unique HLB management method indicate many factors left to consider. Read More