A new citrus research program in the works is aimed at pinpointing what citrus greening research will effectively combat citrus greening in the field.

Research into finding a cure or treatment for citrus greening, also called HLB, has been ongoing since the disease was detected in a south Florida grove in 2005, and the push now is to identify what exactly will work for citrus growers in the field, according to a Citrus Industry article. A newly planned program, called the Citrus Research and Field Trial Program, looks to study what research has a significant impact for citrus growers in the face of citrus greening. See the details of the program below.

Details of the Citrus Research and Field Trial Program

Mike Sparks, Florida Citrus Mutual CEO, shared the details of the Citrus Research and Field Trial Program, which has been given concept approval by the USDA. “This program is to take your existing research on HLB…What did we learn if you’re going to replant? What rootstock would you use? What nutrition, what inputs would you put into the grove? How would you control the psyllid? What’s your best chance to plant a new citrus grove in the state of Florida that will get our production back to where it was prior to HLB?” He shared, adding that it’s “basically grower field trials … that could exceed 5,000 acres.”

Sparks explained that there will be multiple 20- or 50-acre new blocks planted by Florida citrus growers all around the state. “There will be a program for smaller growers that might not replant 25 acres, but instead might do some resets of existing groves,” he explained.

As to funding, Sparks said that “a majority of the dollars will be funded by the USDA.” He estimated that “it could be an $8 million program from the feds” and “the state of Florida might be able to supplement that by another $4 million.” He added that growers will also “have skin in the game” by also contributing to the program’s cost, emphasizing that “there will be some financial reimbursement for growers who participate.”

Sparks added, “we’re actively, aggressively, right now trying to seek state general revenue dollars that would supplement it.” In terms of a timeline, Sparks maintained “it might be as early as July 1 (that) the program could be authorized and new trees planted.”

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.