HLB Advice For California Citrus Growers

Bobby Barben of Barben Fruit Co. in his grove

Editor’s Note: This Q&A is the fifth in series of six with the 2013 Florida Grower Citrus Achievement Award winner Bobby Barben. The Avon Park-based grower also serves as the chairman of the Research Management Committee of the Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF).

Q: What advice would you give California growers and its citrus industry about dealing with HLB and its vector?

A: The first thing I would tell them is try to learn from Florida as well as Brazil. I think they are in a certain state of denial just like we were in denial. We as Florida citrus growers were full of reasons why this disease was going to be worse in Brazil than in Florida, then we in Central Florida thought the disease wasn’t going to be as bad here as it was in South Florida. We were all wrong. When I first went to Brazil, they were spraying 10 times a year as well as rouging infected trees. The rouging didn’t work in the small groves of Florida, but the spraying does.

The Florida Citrus Research and Development Foundation met with the California Citrus Research Board recently, and we spent two days getting to know each other and trying to understand each others’ problems. Hopefully, going forward, we can share some research expenses as well as research. When I told them how much many of the growers in Florida were spraying, they looked at me the same way I looked at Brazilian growers seven years ago. Don’t I wish I could dial the clock back and pay more attention to what was successful in Brazil.

With California’s lack of rainfall, their trees may flush less than ours and their problem may spread slower than ours. However, they have a huge problem with dooryard trees. They say that every home has a citrus tree in its back yard. If that’s the case, I don’t have any idea how they would keep the infection contained. I think their problems will probably be similar to ours. They seem to have a real aversion to spraying insecticides, which I think they are going to need to get past until they understand the extent of their problem or a better solution is identified.

Q: There is so much attention paid to HLB, but what other pests and diseases should we be thinking about?

A: We need to keep working on canker. Dr. Jim Graham (UF/IFAS) tells me we were lucky that the rains started after the oranges were through their most vulnerable period, but I see more canker fruit on the ground than I would like to see. Some of the research we are doing on HLB may have a crossover with canker. We definitely need to find a non-copper material for canker suppression. I don’t think we can indefinitely spray copper without having an adverse effect on our trees.

We are working on black spot. It doesn’t seem to be spreading too swiftly but it is a problem for those that have it and who knows what the future will be for black spot. Why not work on citrus variegated chlorosis and at least understand what we might have to deal with in the future? It seems we eventually get the diseases that Brazil has so I would think that list would be a good starting point.

In our groves, we are seeing an outbreak of Asian tramp snails. We don’t know what economic significance they might have, but we are trying to cure the problem before it gets worse. It’s going to take constant vigilance on our part.

Special thanks to Chemtura AgroSolutions for sponsoring the Citrus Achievement Award.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Citrus Stories

Crop ProtectionGetting To The Root Of Good Soil Health Requires Some Digging
August 21, 2014
Dave Gilliam of Horticultural Alliance says more citrus growers are paying attention to what's happening below the ground in their groves. Read More
Citrus‘Super Cold’ Winter, Sizzling Summer On Tap In 2015 Farmer’s Almanac
August 21, 2014
The 223rd edition of the folksy regional forecast manual predicting extremes. Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateMountains Of Data Being Used To Combat Citrus Greening
August 20, 2014
As HLB research evolves, new methods need to be developed to effectively utilize information. 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 Vegetable Farm
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 In The Golden State
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

The Latest

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
CitrusU.S. Fall Weather Outlook Foresees Wild Ride
August 14, 2014
From continued drought in the West, to a possible early Polar Vortex visit in the East, forecasters are predicting an active autumn. Read More
CitrusMiffed By Marketing? You’re Not Alone [Opinion]
August 13, 2014
Properly promoting product involves engaging your target audience to meet their needs. But based on the campaigns dominating airtime, many are missing the mark. Read More
CitrusUpdate On The Farm Bill Implementation
August 11, 2014
A six-month progress report states disaster relief, risk management tools, innovative conservation partnerships, and the research foundation are all moving forward. Read More
CitrusJohn Deere Announces Certified Pre-Owned Equipment Prog…
August 6, 2014
Deere dealers to offer certified used machines that meet stringent quality inspections and requirements.   Read More
CitrusFarming Production Costs And Farmland Values Increase
August 4, 2014
Midwest sees spike in production costs’ Northern Plains land values increased by 16.3% Read More
CitrusGrowingProduce.com Relaunches With Responsive Design Fo…
August 4, 2014
New look offers customized experience for users depending on their device – phones, tablets, and desktop computers. Read More
CitrusFlorida Farmers Awarded For Innovation
July 28, 2014
UF/IFAS and Florida A&M hail industry leaders who excel in making their farming systems more profitable and sustainable. Read More
CitrusThe Exponential Rise Of Biopesticides
July 28, 2014
The first sustainable commercial success stories in the biopesticide market were seen in the 1980s and 1990s. Since then, the market has grown exponentially, and is projected to exceed $3 billion by 2016. Read More
Citrus9 Resources For All Of Your Biopesticide Questions
July 25, 2014
As the use of biopesticides continues to increase at a staggering rate, more and more resources are being made available to the public to help increase awareness of the sector. Read More
Apples & PearsAn Awakening To The Value Of Biopesticides [Opinion]
July 25, 2014
With the entry of major suppliers into the biopesticide arena, whether or not biopesticides work is no longer the question. Now, people want to understand how they work. Read More
Apples & PearsPGRs: The Overlooked Piece Of The Biopesticides Puzzle
July 25, 2014
Yield and quality can be as important to growers as crop protection. Read More
CitrusFlorida Citrus Poised To Tell ‘Amazing’ Sto…
July 25, 2014
Flexibility, creativity, and swagger to be hallmarks of refreshed public relations plan. Read More
CitrusEPA’s Water Rule In Over Its Head [Opinion]
July 24, 2014
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam says the state's farming sector and overall economy are in danger of drowning in red tape. Read More