Bactericides have been the topic of the year for Florida citrus growers, and the results of bactericide trials have been greatly anticipated. A researcher with the Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) recently provided information about an update given to the CRDF’s Commercial Product Delivery Committee on December 5 in a article. See a summary of the CRDF’s Chief Operations Officer Harold Browning’s comments below.

Bactericide Trials Background

Citrus growers were given emergency clearance the use bactericides in the spring to fight citrus greening, a disease that weakens and then kills citrus trees. Growers have been searching for treatments or a cure that will halt the destruction and the severe harvest reduction levels that citrus greening causes. They’ve hung their hats on bactericides.

Since the EPA granted the emergency use of bactericides, grower bactericide trials have been on-going. Research schools, Extension facilities and growers themselves have been hard at work, seeing if bactericides could be the silver bullet the citrus industry needs

Update on Bactericides Trials

In the article, Browning said “Most of the metrics that we’re most interested in are coming up as we go into harvest. The true test of whether we’re seeing anything is going to come when we start looking at what the percent of fruit drop is; and ultimately the yield, which captures fruit size and number of fruit. Across the 82 field sites that we have around the state, we’ll be collecting those kind of data over the next several months.”

Growers will have to wait until January said Browning, for hard data. “We should be able to start showing what we’ve learned with early varieties,” he shared. However, they’re not expecting miracles. “We’re not optimistic that it’s going to be a day or night thing after one season of use. This is the first season that people have had a chance to use them (bactericides) in rotation across the whole season,” Browning explained.

He maintained that other indicators of tree recovery—and hence the success of bactericides, will be next year’s bloom and flush. Growers are optimistic, mainly in part because trees look so good this year, however, good growing conditions could be the reason, and not bactericides.

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