Keeping Citrus Trees Stress-Free Key To Fruitful 2014

Bobby Barben, 2013 Citrus Achievement Award winner

Editor’s Note: This Q&A is the fourth 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).

Do you agree with the early, lower crop estimates, and how does the fruit look in your groves?

Barben: I would not argue with the early fruit estimates. The groves that we look at have a few less pieces of fruit than last year and maybe smaller sizes. That seems a little strange with all of the rain that we have had, but in the groves we look after, we expect a little smaller crop. Of course, the real unknown is what the drop is going to be. Generally, groves look very good, except for poorly drained groves. The rain has been beneficial. We may experience more brown rot than normal, but most groves look very good.

Do you believe Florida citrus growers could benefit from adopting more precision ag technologies?

Barben: I’m a big fan of variable rate fertilizers and spray machines. The money that is saved from not spraying or fertilizing open spaces seems like a no-brainer. And, it is surely more environmentally friendly. Weather stations, soil probes, or any other tool that helps us save water, diesel, and the time and effort to check rain gauges and thermometers is increasing in importance as inputs become more dear.

Do you agree with the assessment that it is very important to keep HLB-infected trees out of stress as much as possible?

Barben: Yes. We see them drop their fruit and leaves and generally look terrible during those high-stress times. How to keep them out of stress is going to be the trick everyone is still learning. What I’m going to do this winter is try to keep the plants hydrated by more frequent, but less duration irrigation cycles. Also, we are going to stretch our fall fertilizer into the winter by injecting a little each month. I’m not sure how this will work out. I don’t want to overdo it and make our trees more vulnerable to cold damage. At this point, we all need to have an open mind and be as innovative as possible.

Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply

Citrus Stories
CitrusProposed Farm Bill Provision To Limit Payments To Non-Farmers
March 25, 2015
USDA has proposed a new rule which would limit payment to those who are only actively engaged in farming. Read More
Summer Foley gets crowned Miss Florida Citrus 2015 by 2004 winner Nikki Upthegrove Matthews and reigning Miss Florida Vicotria Cowen
CitrusMeet The New Miss Florida Citrus
March 24, 2015
Pageant marks comeback of longstanding industry tradition. Read More
CitrusFarm Bureau Says WOTUS Rule Would Ignore Exemptions
March 24, 2015
Common farming practices may be vulnerable to Clean Water Act enforcement under the rule. Read More
CitrusCalifornia Unveils $1 Billion Drought Package
March 23, 2015
Governor, legislative leaders, announce $1 billion emergency drought legislation. Read More
CitrusFeed A Bee Campaign Aims To Plant 50 Million Flowers
March 23, 2015
Bayer CropScience announces program to increase forage opportunities for critical pollinators. Read More
Varieties & RootstocksAnother Player Goes To Bat For Citrus Research
March 20, 2015
Unique Gainesville, FL-based breeding program focusing on mandarin hybrids. Read More
Giant African Land Snail
CitrusFlorida To Get $7.3 Million To Fight Agricultural Pests, Diseases
March 19, 2015
Federal Farm Bill funding will bolster surveillance, detection, and identification of invasive threats to crops. Read More
The Latest
CitrusMake Every Day Ag Day
March 31, 2015
Another National Ag Day came and went on March 18. Did you do anything to promote it this year? Even Read More
Laboratory beakers
CitrusGrowing Demand For Magnesium Nitrate Spurs TradeMark Ni…
March 30, 2015
Via enhancements made to its manufacturing plant, Florida company is able to provide more of its product to various fertilizer distributors and retailers throughout the country. Read More
CitrusProposed Farm Bill Provision To Limit Payments To Non-F…
March 25, 2015
USDA has proposed a new rule which would limit payment to those who are only actively engaged in farming. Read More
Summer Foley gets crowned Miss Florida Citrus 2015 by 2004 winner Nikki Upthegrove Matthews and reigning Miss Florida Vicotria Cowen
CitrusMeet The New Miss Florida Citrus
March 24, 2015
Pageant marks comeback of longstanding industry tradition. Read More
CitrusFarm Bureau Says WOTUS Rule Would Ignore Exemptions
March 24, 2015
Common farming practices may be vulnerable to Clean Water Act enforcement under the rule. Read More
CitrusCalifornia Unveils $1 Billion Drought Package
March 23, 2015
Governor, legislative leaders, announce $1 billion emergency drought legislation. Read More
CitrusFeed A Bee Campaign Aims To Plant 50 Million Flowers
March 23, 2015
Bayer CropScience announces program to increase forage opportunities for critical pollinators. Read More
Giant African Land Snail
CitrusFlorida To Get $7.3 Million To Fight Agricultural Pests…
March 19, 2015
Federal Farm Bill funding will bolster surveillance, detection, and identification of invasive threats to crops. Read More
CitrusReport: Family Farms Are Still Backbone Of U.S. Agricul…
March 17, 2015
USDA reports that 97% of all U.S. farms are family-owned. Read More
CitrusPrecision Agriculture Tools Help Producers Stay On Poin…
March 16, 2015
Check out three high-tech gadgets designed to keep your farming operation on the right track. Read More
Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association; Alliance For Food And Farming; food safety
CitrusAlliance For Food And Farming Bolsters Management Board
March 13, 2015
Organization taps Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association president Mike Stuart to help advocate on behalf of the industry and to encourage fresh produce consumption. Read More
CitrusWhy Honesty Is The Best Policy When Working With The Pu…
March 13, 2015
While at the recent Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention held in Hershey, PA, I sat in on a panel discussion Read More
CitrusIPM Is Now Mainstream In The West
March 12, 2015
New Western IPM Center report shows integrated pest management is widely used and has slashed pesticide use in the western U.S. Read More
FFVA's Emerging Leader Development Program Class 4 visits Lipman Produce.
CitrusReaching Out Helps Future Farming Leaders Take A Lot I…
March 12, 2015
Class 4 of Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association's Emerging Leader Development Program learns best by getting out of the classroom and into the field. Read More
CitrusAnother Pucker In Florida Orange Crop Prediction
March 10, 2015
Early, mid-season varieties slip, dropping projected USDA total below 2013-2014 final output. Read More
CitrusMake The Most Of Social Media For Your Business
March 10, 2015
Social media is a valuable, and inexpensive tool to promote your business and reach a wide audience. Read More
CitrusPreparing For Agriculture’s Future [Opinion]
March 9, 2015
I got invited to serve on a panel recently that was tasked with judging a series of presentations given by four Read More
CitrusFlorida Politicos Hopeful In Wake Of Comprehensive Wate…
March 9, 2015
House decision could be first step in providing a long-term solution for protecting one of the state’s most precious resources. Read More