Survey Results Tapping HLB Efforts of Best Citrus Growers
Read the summary of a survey asking the ‘best’ citrus growers about their greening management efforts.
A recent Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) survey looked to address the practices utilized by the ‘best’ citrus growers in terms of coping with HLB, which is also called citrus greening. The disease has been impacting the Florida citrus industry since it was detected in 2005, and researchers and citrus growers alike are searching for a cure. The results were reported in Citrus Industry magazine after they were shared by CRDF researcher Jim Syvertsen at the CRDF’s Commercial Product Delivery Committee on August 10th, though the identities of the citrus growers’ were not. See a sample of the findings below.
Results of Citrus Growers’ Survey
The purpose of the survey was to see if the results experienced by the ‘top’ citrus growers could be examined and replicated. CRDF researcher Jim Syvertsen said the survey was “to determine what the best growers are doing to maintain citrus tree health and yields in the face of HLB…”
Four separate growers of various sizes were surveyed. Common denominators that could be responsible for the growers’ successes included:
- Better Management. Syvertsen maintained that every grower “said HLB has caused them to be better managers of citrus tree health and to do a better job with irrigation, fertilizer, psyllid control and overall management of the trees.”
- Custom Nutrition. Syvertsen said that “growers are splitting (nutrition) applications into as many applications as possible … by fertigation, dry fertilizer, foliar feeding and also controlled-release fertilizers.” The article maintains that the recommendation is to “spoon-feed trees with many small doses over multiple applications throughout the year.”
- Good Psyllid Management. Syvertsen shared that all the growers “have maintained good psyllid management in the past, to the extent of frequent sprays for psyllids, neonics (neonicotinoids) for young trees and maintaining as small a psyllid population as possible. Some have been somewhat disappointed in the populations of psyllids coming back in spite of intensive psyllid management. One of the things that they have considered … is that, if they need to cut back on costs, they might start re-evaluating their psyllid management programs.
Additional findings included:
- Re-Evaluating Bactericides. “All of the growers we interviewed have tried bactericides — some of them multiple times — and have not been impressed with their results … The results were variable, and they are considering cutting back on bactericides next year. Some are going to continue with bactericides in the hope that they might get some more benefits than they’ve seen in the past.” Syvertsen
- Limiting Stress. Syvertsen maintained all the growers recommended “whatever growers need to do to avoid any additional stresses. That’s the key.”
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