Read about one Florida citrus grower’s experiences with CUPS—Citrus Under Protective Screen—so far

Citrus Under Protective Screen, or CUPS for short, has been touted as an answer to the devastation caused by citrus greening, also known as HLB. The disease was detected in a South Florida orange grove in 2005, and Florida citrus harvest totals have steadily dropped ever since. A CUPS setup utilizes what amount to giant screen rooms being erected over a citrus grove to keep out a tiny insect—the Asian citrus psyllid—that is the vector that spreads citrus greening. One grower, Jerry Mixon of KLM Farms, shared his experiences so far with his facility in Alturas in Polk County, according to a recent Citrus Industry article. See the highlights below.

Optimism and CUPS

Mixon shared his insights at a field day at his Central Florida facility that saw around 40 citrus growers, researchers, and other industry players, according to the article. “We wanted to be able to produce great quality, great tasting Florida fruit. We’re anticipating a good crop coming up in 2019,” he was quoted as saying in the piece. Here are the highlights:

Cost: Mixon has 30 acres under a screen growing system, and he plans to plant 40 more. According to Mixon, the cost of the structure is between $20,000 to $25,000 an acre.

Hurricanes: “CUPS is not for everyone, probably. There is risk involved obviously with hurricanes, which we experienced last year with Irma.” He said in the article, adding, “short of hurricanes … I think it’s a great way to produce some wonderful-tasting, great-looking quality fruit out of Florida.”

Research: experimental plots raised for testing and research by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) have shown positive results, which is the main reason for Mixon’s optimism, according to the article.

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.