Explore CUPS pros and cons from a UF/IFAS professor emeritus and senior economic consultant with the Florida Department of Citrus.
Citrus greening, or HLB, has hit the Florida citrus industry hard, and everyone from growers to scientists are searching for options to both mitigate the issue until a cure is found. Citrus Under Protective Screens, or CUPS, is one option for the fresh fruit market that has gained traction in the last few years. CUPS features high-density citrus being grown underneath screen tents. A Citrus Industry article by UF/IFAS professor emeritus and senior economic consultant with the Florida Department of Citrus, Thomas H. Spreen, shares CUPS pros and cons from an economic standpoint. See them below.
CUPS Pros and Cons
The article shared the following CUPS pros and cons:
- “Nearly all flying insects (with the possible exception of mites) are excluded from the facility, making it free of HLB.”
- “Weeds are less likely to invade, which reduces herbicide costs.”
- “Trees…grow very quickly and can produce a crop in year three (or possibly even in year two).”
- “Early adopters are reporting attractive yields, even on young trees.”
- “Packout rates are expected to be high due to lack of insect damage as well as protection afforded by the screen from wind scar.”
- “There is a weather risk from cyclonic winds.”
- “The initial investment — including land, irrigation and new trees — exceeds $1 million per screen house.”
In summary, the article maintains “CUPS offers a high-risk, high-reward approach to fresh citrus production in Florida. It is not suitable for smaller investors unless they are able to join a partnership and pool capital with others.”
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