HLB Solutions Lead Agenda At 2014 Florida Citrus Show
Florida citrus growers generally agree that the road to solutions for HLB and other pests and diseases will be a long and winding path. This road will lead to numerous approaches that will help growers find a way to remain productive and profitable in the future.
There’s no better place to learn about these solutions than the Florida Citrus Show (CitrusShow.com) in Ft. Pierce. The event will be held at the Havert L. Fenn Center on Jan. 29-30 and is jam packed with vital information for the modern challenges of citrus production.
The show is a multifaceted event hosting two days of educational sessions, more than 80 suppliers of citrus production goods and services, and an excellent opportunity for growers to mix and mingle with their peers.
“The Florida Citrus Show continues to be a venue for growers to come together to learn about how to successfully produce citrus in our challenging environment,” says Gerry Bogdon, group publisher of Florida Grower magazine. “With an expansive trade show, it also represents a great networking opportunity for everyone who makes a living through our signature crop.”
Get The Drop On Fruit Drop Are you planning to attend the 2014 Florida Citrus Show? Total Voters: 14
Without question, fruit drop was the top story last season. Greg McCollum, a plant physiologist with USDA, will present findings on the connection between HLB and excessive fruit drop during the Show. He says that any stress put on HLB-infected trees is increasingly problematic and will likely enhance the amount of drop. “Treatments that are effective in reducing fruit drop in otherwise healthy trees may reduce drop in HLB-affected tress,” says McCollum. “Other than observations by folks in the field, we know very little about HLB-induced fruit drop. We can’t just extrapolate results from healthy trees and expect the same for HLB-affected trees. It is unlikely, in my opinion, that there will ever be a treatment to overcome HLB-related fruit drop, but without research there is no way to know.”
Are you planning to attend the 2014 Florida Citrus Show?
Total Voters: 14
Growers have stepped up their game in dealing with HLB through aggressive psyllid control programs and enhanced nutrition applications. They are spending anywhere from $2,000 to $2,200 per acre on production with these costs/anti-HLB measures. That is more than double what they spent before HLB came on the scene in 2005.
Higher prices are needed to support the aggressive measures growers are using to address HLB. Matthew Salois, an economist with the Florida Department of Citrus, will speak on the changing market dynamics impacting the industry during the Show.
Salois says high on-tree prices can be achieved in the short run, but growers should be concerned about the long-term economic relevance of the industry. “The persistent trend of tree mortality rates exceeding tree planting rates sets a downward course of for production,” he says. “Support will be needed for enhanced budwood supply and an expansion of nursery capacity is critical to the production infrastructure and will promote increased plantings.”
Replanting and supporting the state’s citrus infrastructure will be an important part of the Citrus Show program. An entire session will feature the question — “Is It Time To Replant?” The session will present an economic case study on replanting options by Spike Schultheis of the Small Business Development Center.
Phil Rucks, owner of Phillip Rucks Nursery, will present how the nursery industry is gearing up for increased plantings. In addition, a grower panel will provide insights on how individuals are approaching planting decisions.