A Florida citrus grower discusses how planting density and technology could help growers cope with citrus greening.
Citrus trials have been on-going at Southern Gardens Citrus since 2012, looking at how technology and planting density can help growers cope with citrus greening, also called HLB. Southern Gardens’ vice president of grove operations, Jim Snively, discussed the results thus far in a Citrus Industry article. Read the details below.
A Look at Planting Density and Technology
The trials at Southern Gardens have looked at planting density to see if planting citrus trees at a higher densely that usual can improve a grove’s bottom line in terms of fighting citrus greening. According to the article, the field studies have shown a “sweet spot” of approximately 363 trees per acre. So, in terms of new plantings, Snively said, “Everything we’re doing today, we try to target and plant a minimum of 300 trees per acre.”
In terms of technology, according to the article, Southern Gardens is using variable rate application equipment that takes into consideration factors like tree size when applying fertilizer and chemicals. It adds up to savings for the company, “We see anywhere from a 20 to 30 percent reduction in our chemical usage and fertilizer usage, so it helps reduce our costs,” Snively said in the article. “We feel that’s a very big part of surviving this disease because it’s so expensive with the amounts of materials we’re using. We’re also doing more automation with our irrigation systems, which allows us to do more with either continuous feeding or more frequent fertilizer injection applications.”
Additionally, the company also plans to utilize aerial imaging, further grid soil sampling, and precision ag to further improve applications and more.
Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their grove and pasture. As a full-service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection product distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture. For questions or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.