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

IrrigationCalifornia Growers Sue State Over Drought
October 30, 2014
They claim the State Water Resources Control Board illegally denied water deliveries. Read More
CucurbitsNew Watermelon Planting Program For The Southeast U.S.
October 30, 2014
Sakata seeking to make regional impact by providing in-demand material through several local producers. Read More
Leafy Vegetables3 Can’t-Miss Cabbage Varieties For Florida Growers
October 30, 2014
Reed's Seeds highlights a trio of high-performance selections for Sunshine State producers. Read More
Insect ControlTake Control Of Thrips In Your Greenhouse
October 30, 2014
Why such a foreboding title? Thrips, one of the tiniest pests of greenhouse crops, are the carrier of one of Read More
BerriesManage Black Root Rot Of Strawberry
October 30, 2014
Controls include preplant nematode analysis, three-to-five year crop rotations, and more. Read More
FruitsSexual Evolution May Bear More Fruit In The Orchard
October 30, 2014
Scientists take a closer look at genes and find new plant breeding possibilities. Read More
Apples & PearsWashington Apples To Restart Shipments To China
October 29, 2014
Agreement reached between U.S. and Chinese governments to reinstate market access after two-year absence. Read More
EquipmentEnter To Win A Kubota At The Washington State Horticultural Association Annual Meeting
October 29, 2014
Attendees have a chance to take home a new utility vehicle courtesy of Wilbur-Ellis and Western Fruit Grower. Read More
CitrusUSDA To Provide $4 Million For Honey Bee Habitat
October 29, 2014
The funds will go toward helping growers implement conservation practices to improve honey bee health. Read More
FruitsHuge California Drought Meeting Planned
October 29, 2014
State, federal officials to meet as forecasts for the coming year look bleak. Read More

The Latest

IrrigationCalifornia Growers Sue State Over Drought
October 30, 2014
They claim the State Water Resources Control Board illegally denied water deliveries. Read More
CucurbitsNew Watermelon Planting Program For The Southeast U.S.
October 30, 2014
Sakata seeking to make regional impact by providing in-demand material through several local producers. Read More
Leafy Vegetables3 Can’t-Miss Cabbage Varieties For Florida Grower…
October 30, 2014
Reed's Seeds highlights a trio of high-performance selections for Sunshine State producers. Read More
Insect ControlTake Control Of Thrips In Your Greenhouse
October 30, 2014
Why such a foreboding title? Thrips, one of the tiniest pests of greenhouse crops, are the carrier of one of Read More
BerriesManage Black Root Rot Of Strawberry
October 30, 2014
Controls include preplant nematode analysis, three-to-five year crop rotations, and more. Read More
FruitsSexual Evolution May Bear More Fruit In The Orchard
October 30, 2014
Scientists take a closer look at genes and find new plant breeding possibilities. Read More
Apples & PearsWashington Apples To Restart Shipments To China
October 29, 2014
Agreement reached between U.S. and Chinese governments to reinstate market access after two-year absence. Read More
EquipmentEnter To Win A Kubota At The Washington State Horticult…
October 29, 2014
Attendees have a chance to take home a new utility vehicle courtesy of Wilbur-Ellis and Western Fruit Grower. Read More
CitrusUSDA To Provide $4 Million For Honey Bee Habitat
October 29, 2014
The funds will go toward helping growers implement conservation practices to improve honey bee health. Read More
FruitsHuge California Drought Meeting Planned
October 29, 2014
State, federal officials to meet as forecasts for the coming year look bleak. Read More
PotatoesNew CEO At Black Gold Farms, A Top 100 Grower
October 28, 2014
Eric Halverson takes the reins at the potato operation, while his father Gregg will remain president of the farm’s board of directors. Read More
FruitsValent U.S.A., MGK Enter Into Marketing Agreement
October 28, 2014
Valent U.S.A. to manage the marketing and sales of MGK’s crop protection line of insect control products beginning in April 2015. Read More
VegetablesMultistate Land-Grant University Research Project Contr…
October 28, 2014
The project began in the 1970s as a Regional Initiative and has since expanded Internationally. Read More
FruitsMichigan State Offers Online Database Of Tree Fruit Dis…
October 28, 2014
Search engine helps growers identify several issues in the orchard. Read More
Stone FruitStudy Examines How To Keep Sweet Cherries Fresh
October 28, 2014
Canadian researcher says cooling of sweet cherries is key to delivering a quality product. Read More
Protected AgricultureLED Lighting Symposium To Be Held At University Of Ariz…
October 27, 2014
Event to focus on LED lighting technologies for specialty crop production. Read More
Cucurbits11 Cool Cucurbits For Florida’s Climate
October 27, 2014
Leading vegetable seed companies highlight high-performance selections for growers in the Sunshine State. Read More
CitrusModern Agriculture Is A True Centerpiece Of Thanksgivin…
October 27, 2014
FFAA's Mary Hartney says take time during this holiday season to give thanks where thanks is due. Read More