Push Early Yield With Advanced Citrus Production Systems

ACPS grove in Florida

Living in the era of HLB, growers clearly understand that the days of managing groves like the generations that came before them are over. They’ve already begun adjusting production to include aggressive foliar nutrition and intensive psyllid control to live in the presence of the disease.

While these steps are important, more radical approaches are being considered like advanced citrus production systems (ACPS). This style of production incorporates elements of open hydroponics or intensive fertigation, high planting density, and a suitable rootstock capable of developing a compact tree and an efficient root system in the fertigated soil zone.

The driving force behind ACPS is the idea of bringing a new grove into commercially viable production quicker than traditional plantings. This will be increasingly important as HLB threatens to shorten the productive lifetimes of trees and groves. Only a handful of growers have tried the system, including Pete Spyke who was featured as Florida Grower’s cover story in October 2008.

UF/IFAS has been collaborating with other growers to build data on ACPS and its potential in Florida. According to Dr. Arnold Schumann, a soil and water scientist with UF/IFAS, the practice is showing some significant early yields in trials.

In one trial with Gapway Groves in Auburndale, trees that turned three years old in December yielded 220 boxes per acre using this system. Typically, trees are four to five years old before they begin producing similar yields in a traditional configuration.

The economic advantage of early, high production and return on investment with drip open hydroponics and high-density planting is significant. About one to two years of production costs are saved with ACPS. Economic break-even can occur much earlier (e.g., eight years) with high-density ACPS than with conventional citrus production (13 to 18 years), assuming that trees are kept healthy.

Loading the player...

The Auburndale site is located on typical Ridge soils at an elevation of about 160 feet above mean sea level. It was previously used for a traditional low-density citrus grove with a standard production system using old fully grown trees with resetting.

Several densities of trees were planted in the grove with a conventional spacing planted as a control. Densities included: 10×20 feet (218 trees per acre), 8×18 feet (303 trees per acre), and 8×15 feet (363 trees per acre). All rows are orientated north-south with four replications in a randomized complete blocks design, covering a 14-acre block.

“To make a credible economic comparison requires full analysis of all establishment costs, the production costs for three years, and the fruit yield and quality for two seasons,” says Schumann. “We are in the process of conducting this analysis. In the interim, it is fair to say that by growing trees faster, the time saved in years are therefore savings of production costs, too. For example, if ACPS gets the trees to a productive size in three years, equivalent to 4½-year-old trees grown conventionally, then the method has saved the grower one and a half years of production costs.”

“I think this grove trial has demonstrated that we can bring a grove into production quicker,” says John Strang, Gapway’s grove manager. “Thus far, the 8×18 (302 trees per acre) looks good to me. I think as long as you have a rootstock that will make a smaller tree, this spacing might be a good compromise between early yields and something that can be maintained and harvested with existing equipment.”

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Citrus Stories
water droplet_generic
Citrus
September 22, 2016
Senate Committee Report Says WOTUS Reforms Needed
A report issued from the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee says federal agencies overreach their authority to regulate Read More
Spring Valley Farms in Umatilla, FL, from a drone
Citrus
September 22, 2016
Citrus Tax Incentive A Big Step Closer To Fruition
U.S. House vote ends in landslide of support for emergency legislation, which allows growers to immediately expense the cost of planting new trees. Read More
The new Greefa unit at Stemilt is nearly the length of a football field. “It just keeps going and going,” says General Manager Jay Fulbright. (Photo courtesy of Stemilt)
Citrus
September 20, 2016
Preventative Control Rules Now In Effect For Large Businesses
Facilities employing 500 or more people must meet new standards. Read More
If Palmer amaranth is present in your field, do not remove the weed plants. Instead, destroy the weeds by burying or burning near the infested field.
Photo credit: Dwight Lingenfelter, Penn State University
Citrus
September 20, 2016
EPA Says Glyphosate Not Likely To Cause Cancer
Paper says herbicide not carcinogenic at doses relevant for human health risk assessment. Read More
illustration showing data taken and recorded on new citrus varieties
Varieties & Rootstocks
September 20, 2016
Is Citrus Ready To Break Out Of The Bubble?
Opportunity for enhanced data collection process at variety display days could give breeding and research teams a leg up in vetting sensible selections. Read More
cash money in hand
Business Planning
September 19, 2016
American Agricultural Exports Could Feel Sting From Strong Dollar
Despite headwinds, the U.S. remains the most stable economy in the world. Read More
NASA's global temperature heat map for 2015
Citrus
September 17, 2016
August Was The Hottest In 136 Years
The extended heat wave continues a streak of 11 consecutive months of record-setting temperatures. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
September 26, 2016
Presidential Candidates Comment On Agric…
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump weigh in on a number of topics of concern to growers. Read More
Citrus
September 26, 2016
Florida Sugarcane Industry Strengthening…
Pot sweetens with promotions for three executive staffers of the state’s Growers Cooperative. Read More
Citrus
September 22, 2016
Senate Committee Report Says WOTUS Refor…
A report issued from the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee says federal agencies overreach their authority to regulate Read More
Citrus
September 22, 2016
Citrus Tax Incentive A Big Step Closer T…
U.S. House vote ends in landslide of support for emergency legislation, which allows growers to immediately expense the cost of planting new trees. Read More
Citrus
September 20, 2016
Preventative Control Rules Now In Effect…
Facilities employing 500 or more people must meet new standards. Read More
Citrus
September 20, 2016
EPA Says Glyphosate Not Likely To Cause …
Paper says herbicide not carcinogenic at doses relevant for human health risk assessment. Read More
Business Planning
September 19, 2016
American Agricultural Exports Could Feel…
Despite headwinds, the U.S. remains the most stable economy in the world. Read More
Citrus
September 17, 2016
August Was The Hottest In 136 Years
The extended heat wave continues a streak of 11 consecutive months of record-setting temperatures. Read More
Citrus
September 15, 2016
What The Bayer-Monsanto Merger Means Thu…
The deal, subject to regulatory approval, would create the world’s largest agriculture company. Read More
Citrus
September 15, 2016
Support Strong For Emergency Citrus Legi…
Proposed bill that would increase fruit production figures through tax code tweaks passes first test in U.S. House Ways and Means Committee approval. Read More
Citrus
September 14, 2016
Bayer Acquires Monsanto After Months Of …
Mega-Merger sealed with $66 billion all-cash transaction. Read More
Citrus
September 13, 2016
Can CRISPR Carry Agriculture Innovation …
Game-changing technology allows targeted gene modification to fight diseases like citrus greening. Read More
Citrus
September 12, 2016
Historic Farmworker Overtime Law Approve…
California legislation, the first of its kind in the nation, is reviled by grower groups who say it will actually do economic harm to farmworkers. Read More
Citrus
September 12, 2016
FDA Allocates $21.8M To Help States Comp…
Funding has been awarded to assist 42 states with implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act. Read More
Citrus
September 9, 2016
Are You Feeling Befuddled By Fickle Fore…
In any situation, proactivity pays. We can wait for the sky to fall, or we can sing in the rain. Read More
Citrus
September 8, 2016
Bayer Ups Monsanto Offer
German company increases offer by 2% for world’s largest seeds company. Read More
Citrus
September 7, 2016
Getting To The Root Of Improved Fruit An…
Taking a holistic approach to soil health is a key to increasing plant vigor and yields. High yields begin with Read More
Citrus
September 7, 2016
Hermine Rains Down On Already-Soaked Sun…
Storm delivers extra dose of precipitation during one of the state’s wettest spells on record. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]