High Pressure Building In Need For Citrus Trees

Photo by Peter Chaires
Photo by Peter Chaires

Like any successful business, citrus growers and nursery operations are gathering information to inform financial and operational plans for the next few years. However, it is difficult to take aim at a target that is constantly moving. Forecasts have clearly articulated the necessity for new plantings if the industry is going to stem the decline in production. We must minimally replace as many trees as we are losing. Growers are modifying grove architecture and densities while implementing young-tree management programs. In the midst of these promising developments, growers continue to witness decline in mature grove production and suffer the effects of small fruit size, low packouts, fruit drop, increased harvesting costs, and difficulty maintaining quality. While many are encouraged by the prospect of new pesticides, tolerant rootstocks, and antimicrobial and thermal therapies, the rapidly changing landscape plays havoc on the decision-making process.

Surveying The Scene

Industry stakeholders have inquired about the status of tree orders and the mindset of growers as they seek to balance the need for replacement acreage with uncertainty and an incomplete data-set. Seeking insight into this issue, I solicited the assistance of FNGLA’s Citrus Nursery Division to survey nursery owners. Fourteen nurseries completed the survey (10 during the initial request and the remaining through subsequent interviews).

The stability of tree orders may speak volumes about the mindset of the industry and its willingness to press ahead. 50% of responding nurseries indicated increasing orders compared to the past couple years. 40% are holding steady and only 10% reported a decline.
Nurseries were asked whether orders for one type of citrus fruit are more consistent than others. 80% of responses identified orders for round oranges as the most consistent and reliable, followed by navel oranges for the fresh market at 20%.

When asked about the strength of orders by production region, 40% said that orders from the southern flatwoods are the most consistent, while 64% indicated no regional differences or were unsure.

Reliance On Rootstocks

The survey asked whether orders for citrus trees have been impacted to any degree by the limited availability of potentially tolerant rootstocks and the absence of approved therapies. One third of respondents indicated these factors had negatively impacted orders or slowed them down (from what they would have been), 22% of respondents indicated these factors had influenced growers to increase orders, and the balance indicated this was either not a factor or they were unsure. It is difficult to juxtapose these answers with replies to the first question. One can only presume that the context for replies to this question is “compared to what the orders would have been — had more rootstocks or therapies been available.”

Nurseries were asked “if or when tree orders are cancelled, are you having difficulty finding new buyers for the trees?” 64% of respondents indicated that they had not experienced any significant cancellations, while 40% said that they had no difficulty reselling the trees. There were some reports of difficulty moving trees on Swingle due to concern for heightened disease susceptibility.

Inventory Inquiry

Some growers share the opinion that a larger caliper nursery tree accelerates field production, translating to earlier positive cash flow. Nurseries were asked whether growers are pressuring them to hold trees in the nursery longer than normal. One third of the respondents indicated growers are asking them to hold trees longer. Those who indicated growers are asking them to hold trees in the nursery longer, added that this is causing a constraint on their capacity and product turnover.

HLB And Beyond

Finally, nurseries were asked to identify emerging trends or challenges for production of citrus trees in an HLB environment. Answers included:

  • Grower uncertainly about what they want. Orders can change before liners are ready to bud.
  • Interest in more tolerant rootstocks and scions
  • With lower production, growers are talking about cutting production costs and in some cases, this means eliminating resets.
  • Growers wanting larger trees for the same price.
  • Changing rootstocks within the nursery to keep pace with grower demand is a moving target and flavor of the week. We get ramped up on one and ready to go and growers want something else.
  • Growers being apprehensive about trying new rootstocks, as so little data will be available.

Although this survey did not cover all or even most of the commercial Florida citrus nurseries, the responses may offer helpful insight into the issues of order stability, confidence, and concerns that may influence decisions.

Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply

Citrus Stories
Young citrus trees wrapped in The Tree Defender product
Insect & Disease Update
June 27, 2016
Tree Cover Product Created To Help Fight Citrus Scourges
Unique protection for young citrus trees could help cut pest-control costs up to 50% in the first two years. Read More
photo illustration showing confusion
Citrus
June 24, 2016
Is It EPA’s Intention To Help Or Harm Farmers? [Opinion]
A common theme I see in complaints about the government agency is it appears to be taking action more and more based on ideology and public opinion rather than sound science. Read More
produce family shopping grocery
Citrus
June 23, 2016
Survey: Consumers Hungry For More Info On GMOs
University of Florida researchers find learning opportunity among poll results regarding genetically modified foods. Read More
2015 FFVA Annual Convention crowd
Citrus
June 23, 2016
Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association Convention To Cover Critical Issues
Mike Allen, a Founder of Politico and its Chief White House Correspondent, slated as keynote speaker for association's 73rd annual gathering. Read More
UAV in flight
Citrus
June 22, 2016
Heads Up: FAA Finalizes Rules For Small Drones
Regulations will create new opportunities for business and government entities to use unmanned aircraft systems weighing less than 55 pounds. Read More
overflowing beaker in science lab
Citrus
June 21, 2016
Sound Science Struggling To Win Over Skeptics [Opinion]
We all want the truth. But can we handle it? Read More
Florida Citrus Industry Annual Conference 2016 crowd
Citrus
June 20, 2016
Florida Citrus Community Rallies Around Promise Of Bactericides, Biotechnology
Industry stakeholders holding out hope for solutions to HLB through antimicrobials and even transgenics. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
June 28, 2016
Panama Canal Expands For New Trade Oppor…
First vessel passes through new, larger locks as country celebrates. Read More
Citrus
June 24, 2016
Is It EPA’s Intention To Help Or H…
A common theme I see in complaints about the government agency is it appears to be taking action more and more based on ideology and public opinion rather than sound science. Read More
Citrus
June 23, 2016
Survey: Consumers Hungry For More Info O…
University of Florida researchers find learning opportunity among poll results regarding genetically modified foods. Read More
Citrus
June 23, 2016
Florida Fruit & Vegetable Associatio…
Mike Allen, a Founder of Politico and its Chief White House Correspondent, slated as keynote speaker for association's 73rd annual gathering. Read More
Citrus
June 22, 2016
Heads Up: FAA Finalizes Rules For Small …
Regulations will create new opportunities for business and government entities to use unmanned aircraft systems weighing less than 55 pounds. Read More
Citrus
June 21, 2016
Sound Science Struggling To Win Over Ske…
We all want the truth. But can we handle it? Read More
Citrus
June 20, 2016
Florida Citrus Community Rallies Around …
Industry stakeholders holding out hope for solutions to HLB through antimicrobials and even transgenics. Read More
Citrus
June 16, 2016
Florida Citrus Nurseries Seeking To Make…
Undercover production plans and possibilities starting to take shape. Read More
Citrus
June 14, 2016
Monsanto Rejects Second Bid From Bayer
Wall Street Journal reports Monsanto seeks bid increase from Bayer. Read More
Citrus
June 10, 2016
Florida Orange Crop Estimate Climbs Agai…
For the fourth consecutive month, ground is gained in Valencias. Read More
Citrus
June 8, 2016
Study: New Yield Mapping Method Might He…
With the possibility of saving money on inputs and labor, UF/IFAS researchers focus to find immature fruit faster. Read More
Citrus
June 8, 2016
AgAmerica Lending Banks On Experience To…
Industry veteran hired to enhance growth of company’s farm loans portfolio throughout Florida and the Southeast U.S. Read More
Citrus
June 2, 2016
Storm Season Off To Extra-Soggy Start In…
No let-up for parts of the Sunshine State still trying to shake off from wettest dry season in nearly six decades. Read More
Citrus
June 1, 2016
Groups Make Push To Challenge DuPont, Do…
Letter from industry organizations say proposed merger could hinder innovation, raise prices, and reduce choices. Read More
Citrus
May 31, 2016
Cannabis Cultivation Quest Becoming Real…
Planning, preparations finally giving way to production and dispensing of ‘Charlotte’s Web.’ Read More
Citrus
May 25, 2016
Monsanto Says Bayer Bid ‘Financially Ina…
Proposal cited as undervalued, not able to address financial, regulatory risks. Read More
Citrus
May 25, 2016
NRCS Invests $4.3 Million To Combat Clim…
The Natural Resources Conservation Service in California is committing funds to help farmers and ranchers mitigate the effects of climate change and help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Read More
Citrus
May 24, 2016
Panama Canal Expansion To Bring Trade Op…
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam says a confluence of events is putting the state's producers in a good spot to open new markets. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]