A new Citrus Under Protective Screen project is bigger than anything seen in Florida before.
Florida’s citrus industry is in need of something that will either end citrus greening or will devise a way around it in order to save The Sunshine State’s citrus industry. Growing citrus trees using a Citrus Under Protective Screen (CUPS) set-up is one option that a handful of Florida growers have been trying as a sort of work around, albeit on a small scale. However, the Dundee Citrus Growers Association (DCGA) CEO Steven Callaham has entered into a partnership with EIP Citrus Management, according to a Growing Produce article, to try a Citrus Under Protective Screen set-up that’s larger than anything ever tried in Florida before.
The New Citrus Under Protective Screen Project
Prior to now, Florida growers have started Citrus Under Protective Screen projects of about 10 acres, but the partnership between EIP Citrus Management and the DCGA—called CUPS Co-op Inc.—will involve a 120-acre CUPS structure, bigger than anything seen in Florida today. The CUPS structure will be made up of a dozen individual 10-acre CUPS structures. Other than its size, the major innovative characteristic of the CUPS Co-op Inc. structure is that while it’s being erected by the DCGA, each of the 12 structures will be owned by individual growers.
Each grower will decide what to plant in their individual structure, with the DCGA providing equipment and cooperative caretaking and maintenance. The DCGA will also manage harvesting, packing, and marketing. It’s believed that easy-peel varieties will make up the majority of the plantings, but the article maintains that other orange varieties might be chosen. The 120-acre CUPS structure is potentially large enough to grow enough high-quality citrus to keep a Florida packinghouse busy.
The CUPS Co-op Inc. structure is set to break ground in July of this year. Plantings are slated for 2018, according to the article, and a small, first harvest is projected for the 2020-2021 harvest season. The success of this Citrus Under Protective Screen project, if large enough, is sure to be replicated by other groups in Florida.
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.