The requirements for a successful CUPS operation–citrus grown under protective screens–were shared at a December Field Day.
A successful CUPS operation has to-date been the best solution for Florida citrus growers to combat citrus greening. Standing for Citrus Under Protective Screens, CUPS operations grow citrus trees under screen tents that exclude the Asian citrus psyllid, the insect vector that spreads citrus greening. A CUPS Field Day at the Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred in early December featured the requirements for a successful citrus operation utilizing CUPS, according to a Citrus Industry article. See the details below.
Requirements for a Successful CUPS Operation
The Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred has been producing citrus utilizing CUPS for at least four years in a 1.3 acre screened-in structure. A flier at the CUPS Field Day outlined requirements that create a CUPS operation that is successful. They include:
- A “high yielding, high quality” fruit “with potential to generate high fruit revenue.” This is because a CUPS operation comes with a high upfront cost, and continued maintenance is also a necessity. The handout maintained that Ray Ruby, Ruby Red and Flame grapefruit, and Honey Murcott, seemed to “thrive” in CUPS, with .24 acres of Ray Ruby grapefruit generating $25.89 per box, or $23,094 per acre in revenue, and .34 acres of Honey Murcott generating $42.48 per box, or $22,472 per acre.
- Citrus varieties must be self-pollinating.
- Citrus varieties must be heat tolerant.
- Weekly scouting for pests.
- Frequent spraying for diseases and pests.
- Regular leaf nutrient analyses to optimize the program used for nutrients.
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