In Focus: Phil Rucks

In Focus: Phil Rucks

1. Are growers planting more trees in the face of greening? 
Rucks: “This year, growers seem to be more optimistic in planting trees either for resets or solid plantings due to the recent information we have available in controlling the Asian citrus psyllid. I personally have encouraged growers to replant due to the fact they lose up to 1% to 2% per year from other tree-killing issues, such as citrus blight, phytophthora, freeze damage, flood damage, etc. They’ve been so focused on greening that the other tree losses have caught up with them in affecting their bottom line on returns per acre in production. In addition, all nursery growers, including myself, experienced a delay in planting this spring due to the unusual cold winter. Growers were still evaluating tree recovery and loss up until this summer, which resulted in a delay.”

2. What varieties and rootstocks seem to be of most interest to growers right now and why?
Rucks: “According to the Florida Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Citrus and Budwood Registration, the sweet orange (juice) varieties, Hamlin, Mid-Sweet, and Valencia, represent 73% of all nursery propagations grown in Florida. This comes as no surprise since the Florida citrus industry is more than 90% geared toward juice processing. The Swingle Citrumelo rootstock (45%) and the Kuharske Carrizo rootstock (31%) are the most propagated varieties representing 76% of all rootstocks grown. This is due to the majority of Florida’s soil types and a combination of sweet orange varieties are being most compatible. However, some growing regions, such as the Indian River or Gulf, require other more suitable rootstocks besides Swingle, Kuharske, or Carrizo.”

3. Are you seeing interest in some of the new varieties? Is so, which ones?
Rucks: “The Florida citrus industry recognizes it has to change to better variety selections to be competitive in the ever-changing domestic and global market. The New Varieties Development & Management Corp. (NVDMC) was originally formed by the Florida Citrus Packers (2005) and later the Department of Citrus (DOC) awarded a contract to fund new variety selections for the Florida citrus growers (fresh and processed). Recently, the NVDMC has released two promising varieties, one for processing, the Valquarius [see more on page 37], and the Sugar Belle for fresh packing. Another selection available from USDA, the Early Pride, has great fresh fruit appeal. The NVDMC has even brought in a very popular California easy peel seedless mandarin with great attributes for Florida’s fresh fruit market. I’m very optimistic for the Florida citrus industry in having many more varieties for the future.”

4. Has the nursery industry caught up with demand after the void left in the wake of canker eradication?
Rucks:
“Unfortunately, the Florida citrus industry lost more than 100,000 acres of citrus that will never be fully replaced. Realistically, we have probably gained back half of what we lost to citrus canker. This year, the citrus nursery tree supply has caught up with the citrus canker void from the past five years.”

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
Nuts
August 22, 2017
Stink Bug Threatens High-Dollar Crops in California
While populations are low, it appears invasive pest has recently stumbled upon one of the state’s peaches and almonds. Read More
Lemon tree in Florida full of fruit
Grapefruit & Specialty
August 22, 2017
More Florida Citrus Producers Pondering the Lemon Pledge
Local farmers are sweet on the prospect of growing the acid fruit. Read More
Berries
August 22, 2017
Columnist Wins Prestigious Plant Breeder Award
John Clark, who writes a column for American Fruit Grower® and Western Fruit Grower® magazines, is honored with National Plant Breeders Association Impact Award. Read More
Apple Grower of the Year
August 22, 2017
U.S. Apple Association Hosts Annual Apple Outlook Conference in Chicago
American Fruit Grower® and Western Fruit Grower® magazine’s 2017 Apple Grower of the Year will be officially presented on Thursday, Aug. 24, during the first day of the conference. Read More
Port Of Miami shipyard
Farm Management
August 21, 2017
NAFTA Renegotiation Long Overdue for Florida Farmers
Specialty crop growers in the Sunshine State seek relief from unfair trade deal. Read More
Alan Jones takes a ride around Jones Potato Farm
Citrus
August 21, 2017
Take Alternative Routes to Find Conventional Farming Solutions [Opinion]
In order to grow, things have to change. Are you ready? Read More
Apples & Pears
August 20, 2017
APHIS Seeks Comments on Risk Removal for Dormant Apple Cuttings
Dormant live cuttings from countries in the European Union must currently go through pest risk assessment. Read More
young Florida citrus grove
Varieties & Rootstocks
August 19, 2017
Pressure Is on to Pick and Plant Citrus Winners
With even more variety selections available, information and communication are keys to success. Read More
honeybees
Citrus
August 19, 2017
More Forage Grants Distributed in Honor of National Honeybee Day
National forage program is scattering seeds from New York to California to celebrate pollinators. Read More
Citrus
August 18, 2017
Bayer Aims Research Prowess at Defeating Citrus Greening
Company enters collaboration with Citrus Research and Development Foundation to uncover antibacterial and plant defense tools against the disease. Read More
fine-tuning an orange
Citrus
August 18, 2017
How Florida Growers are Fine-Tuning Citrus Fertility
Some are tweaking nutrition programs to focus on root health along with foliar applications. Read More
Citrus
August 17, 2017
How Wicked Will Winter 2018 Be in the U.S.?
The 200th edition of the Farmers’ Almanac reveals wide-ranging weather patterns and events that would require everything from shovels to shorts. Read More
GenNext Growers
August 17, 2017
Young Growers See Evolving Orchard Production on Cornell Tour
A group of 30 got a chance to see operations boasting vertical integration and higher production per acre up close in the Champlain region of New York State and Vermont. Read More
More Vegetables
August 16, 2017
Variety Specs | Production Tips: Broccoli ‘Eastern Crown’ from Sakata
'Eastern Crown' is an outstanding variety for the East Coast and warm regions throughout the U.S. Read More
Fruits
August 15, 2017
California Nurseryman Settles With Feds Over Plowing Dispute
John Duarte admits no liability but will pony up more than $1 million in civil penalties and environmental mitigation fees. Read More
The Latest
Nuts
August 22, 2017
Stink Bug Threatens High-Dollar Crops in…
While populations are low, it appears invasive pest has recently stumbled upon one of the state’s peaches and almonds. Read More
Grapefruit & Specialty
August 22, 2017
More Florida Citrus Producers Pondering …
Local farmers are sweet on the prospect of growing the acid fruit. Read More
Berries
August 22, 2017
Columnist Wins Prestigious Plant Breeder…
John Clark, who writes a column for American Fruit Grower® and Western Fruit Grower® magazines, is honored with National Plant Breeders Association Impact Award. Read More
Apple Grower of the Year
August 22, 2017
U.S. Apple Association Hosts Annual Appl…
American Fruit Grower® and Western Fruit Grower® magazine’s 2017 Apple Grower of the Year will be officially presented on Thursday, Aug. 24, during the first day of the conference. Read More
Farm Management
August 21, 2017
NAFTA Renegotiation Long Overdue for Flo…
Specialty crop growers in the Sunshine State seek relief from unfair trade deal. Read More
Citrus
August 21, 2017
Take Alternative Routes to Find Conventi…
In order to grow, things have to change. Are you ready? Read More
Apples & Pears
August 20, 2017
APHIS Seeks Comments on Risk Removal for…
Dormant live cuttings from countries in the European Union must currently go through pest risk assessment. Read More
Varieties & Rootstocks
August 19, 2017
Pressure Is on to Pick and Plant Citrus …
With even more variety selections available, information and communication are keys to success. Read More
Citrus
August 19, 2017
More Forage Grants Distributed in Honor …
National forage program is scattering seeds from New York to California to celebrate pollinators. Read More
Citrus
August 18, 2017
Bayer Aims Research Prowess at Defeating…
Company enters collaboration with Citrus Research and Development Foundation to uncover antibacterial and plant defense tools against the disease. Read More
Citrus
August 18, 2017
How Florida Growers are Fine-Tuning Citr…
Some are tweaking nutrition programs to focus on root health along with foliar applications. Read More
Citrus
August 17, 2017
How Wicked Will Winter 2018 Be in the U.…
The 200th edition of the Farmers’ Almanac reveals wide-ranging weather patterns and events that would require everything from shovels to shorts. Read More
GenNext Growers
August 17, 2017
Young Growers See Evolving Orchard Produ…
A group of 30 got a chance to see operations boasting vertical integration and higher production per acre up close in the Champlain region of New York State and Vermont. Read More
More Vegetables
August 16, 2017
Variety Specs | Production Tips: Broccol…
'Eastern Crown' is an outstanding variety for the East Coast and warm regions throughout the U.S. Read More
Fruits
August 15, 2017
California Nurseryman Settles With Feds …
John Duarte admits no liability but will pony up more than $1 million in civil penalties and environmental mitigation fees. Read More
Apples & Pears
August 15, 2017
Wet Weather Breeds Phytophthora in Young…
Crown rot, root rot flourishing in very wet growing season. Read More
Citrus
August 15, 2017
New Conference to Shine Spotlight on Cen…
Education and interaction part of UF/IFAS-led agenda. Read More
Biocontrols Conference
August 14, 2017
Biocontrols: The South African Fruit Gro…
While insect and disease pressure differs from U.S., South African fruit growers say education and slow transitions make for successful integration of biological products. Read More