Recognized as the world’s premier grapefruit production location, the Indian River region on Florida’s East Coast has been in peril due to citrus greening. Fortunately, important research into ways forward are underway and is gaining more support of late.
Accomplished agriculture scientist Rhuanito “Johnny” Soranz Ferrarezi has been hired as an Assistant Professor of Citrus Horticulture at the UF/IFAS Indian River Research and Education Center (IRREC) in Fort Pierce.
Ferrarezi brings more than 10 years of experience to his new position. He joins two additional recent hires at IRREC (Dr. Jawwad A. Qureshi, an expert with citrus pest management; and, Dr. Liliana Cano, an innovative plant pathologist), and will work as a team with them to assist growers as they manage citrus greening.
According to Ronald Cave, IRREC Director, Ferrarezi’s research with low-cost automation in citrus research groves is sought-after by growers and his peers. Ferrarezi identified an irrigation smart-device that costs growers a fraction of the standard equipment being used in most groves, and is more efficient in applying water to commercial crops.
Ferrarezi has started work at IRREC’s experiment groves and greenhouses. His plans are to work with local producers to conduct nutritional enhancement studies with fruit groves in which citrus greening is present. The nutritional enhancements will retain plant health and extend grove survival under HLB, he said.
A prolific author, Ferrarezi published three catalogs for research projects; a book on nutritional guidelines for citrus seedlings production; and, wrote a book chapter about plant nutrition. He wrote and published 18 peer-reviewed journal articles in publications such as the Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science, HortScience, Journal of Plant Nutrition, and HortTechnology.