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
Fruits
February 27, 2017
Warm February Concerning, But Fruit Growers Shouldn’t Panic
While maps produced by the U.S. Geological Survey do show spring appears to be arriving early, Extension experts don’t expect a repeat of 2012. Read More
Nuts
February 27, 2017
Using Drones To Scout Almonds From Above
At California State University, Fresno, scientists are studying how drones can save almond growers water — and help them use less labor too. Read More
UF/IFAS researcher Cristina Pisani examines ailing avocado tree
Crop Protection
February 27, 2017
New Discovery Smells Like Victory for Florida Avocado Growers
Scientists find naturally occurring repellent that could keep disease-carrying beetles at bay. Read More
Mycelial fans armillaria root rot
Nuts
February 27, 2017
Getting to the Root of Devastating Stone Fruit Fungus
Armillaria root rot is a death sentence for trees and replant sites; however, researchers are looking to breed fungus-resistant rootstocks to make replanting economically feasible. Read More
Berries
February 26, 2017
Advantages to Growing Southern Highbush Blueberries
Growers in some regions where temperatures don’t get too low could consider the benefits of Southern highbush varieties. Read More
Grapes
February 26, 2017
Winegrowers See Total Sustainability in Their Sights
Sonoma County Winegrowers eyes 2019 to become the U.S.’s first completely sustainable wine region. Read More
Fruits
February 25, 2017
Let’s Stand Up for Science
Yes, there’s an art to agriculture, but its very definition is the science of farming, so you have a deeply rooted connection to scientists. Read More
Florida citrus grove
Citrus
February 25, 2017
Citrus Research Investments Yielding Positive Results
Despite still having mounds of wood to chop, grower, federal, and state programs collectively are making a dent. Read More
Fruits
February 25, 2017
Major Challenges to the Fruit Industry Are Closer than You Think
Don’t underestimate the need for research, as innovation is becoming an urgent necessity for our future. Read More
iphone close-up
GenNext Growers
February 24, 2017
New Mobile Apps for Farmers to Grow on the Go
Thanks to the latest in software technology, real-time decisions can be made with one swipe of your finger. Read More
The Latest
Fruits
February 27, 2017
Warm February Concerning, But Fruit Grow…
While maps produced by the U.S. Geological Survey do show spring appears to be arriving early, Extension experts don’t expect a repeat of 2012. Read More
Nuts
February 27, 2017
Using Drones To Scout Almonds From Above
At California State University, Fresno, scientists are studying how drones can save almond growers water — and help them use less labor too. Read More
Crop Protection
February 27, 2017
New Discovery Smells Like Victory for Fl…
Scientists find naturally occurring repellent that could keep disease-carrying beetles at bay. Read More
Nuts
February 27, 2017
Getting to the Root of Devastating Stone…
Armillaria root rot is a death sentence for trees and replant sites; however, researchers are looking to breed fungus-resistant rootstocks to make replanting economically feasible. Read More
Berries
February 26, 2017
Advantages to Growing Southern Highbush …
Growers in some regions where temperatures don’t get too low could consider the benefits of Southern highbush varieties. Read More
Grapes
February 26, 2017
Winegrowers See Total Sustainability in …
Sonoma County Winegrowers eyes 2019 to become the U.S.’s first completely sustainable wine region. Read More
Fruits
February 25, 2017
Let’s Stand Up for Science
Yes, there’s an art to agriculture, but its very definition is the science of farming, so you have a deeply rooted connection to scientists. Read More
Citrus
February 25, 2017
Citrus Research Investments Yielding Pos…
Despite still having mounds of wood to chop, grower, federal, and state programs collectively are making a dent. Read More
Fruits
February 25, 2017
Major Challenges to the Fruit Industry A…
Don’t underestimate the need for research, as innovation is becoming an urgent necessity for our future. Read More
GenNext Growers
February 24, 2017
New Mobile Apps for Farmers to Grow on t…
Thanks to the latest in software technology, real-time decisions can be made with one swipe of your finger. Read More
GenNext Growers
February 24, 2017
In-The-Field Learning Invaluable for Gen…
Annual tour allows Florida's future farming leaders the chance to have open and honest discussions with CEOs and managers and tap into their knowledge. Read More
Grower Achievement Award
February 24, 2017
Know a Vegetable Grower Who’s Innovative…
Then nomination him or her for American Vegetable Grower magazine’s 2017 Grower Achievement Award. Read More
Apples & Pears
February 24, 2017
Don’t Underestimate the Importance…
Trellising study helps growers understand the basics of setting up an orchard infrastructure properly. Read More
Berries
February 23, 2017
Primocane: A Major Innovation in Berry P…
I’ve witnessed the rise of primocane-fruiting blackberries, from first selections to integration in the market. Read More
Fruits
February 23, 2017
First California Ag Innovation Showcase …
University of California, Davis will be the setting for a ground-breaking conference on emerging technology for food and high-value agriculture. Read More
Disease Control
February 23, 2017
Spot Sclerotinia Before It Stops Your Ve…
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this malady that goes by many names. Read More
Berries
February 22, 2017
Florida Strawberry Picking Contest a Big…
Fourth-annual fundraising event brings in more than $100,000 to benefit children of local farmworkers. Read More
Citrus
February 22, 2017
New Insecticide Available to Combat Suck…
Minecto Pro from Syngenta has received EPA approval for use in specialty and vegetable crops to control lepidopteran and other pests. Read More