Dr. Bob Hartman, CEO of Classic Caladiums, spent his early years in Miami. When he was a young teen, his father purchased 20 acres in Palmdale, FL. The south side of the property was comprised of densely wooded hammock. The hammock doubled as Hartman’s playground and adventure land. Consequently, he knew the property like the back of his hand. Curiously, the hammock also was home to a range of citrus trees.
Social distancing and enhanced sanitation practices have been adopted in many Florida groves and facilities in an effort to curtail spread of the coronavirus.
“Growers are making the necessary adjustments by increasing sanitation and keeping workers separated,” said Steve Smith, executive vice president of Gulf Citrus Growers Association. “The larger growers with multiple locations are keeping crews separated into small groups.” Read more.
Huanglongbing (HLB) is a disease that has devastated the Florida citrus industry, threatens the entire U.S. citrus industry, and globally is rapidly spreading. Florida’s citrus production is 90% sweet orange, which is quite sensitive to HLB. The heavy reliance on sweet orange for Florida citrus production makes the industry especially vulnerable to diseases that are damaging to this type of citrus.
Florida’s outstanding in-state citrus breeding programs at UF/IFAS and USDA-ARS have been hard at work developing new selections for the processed and fresh fruit pipelines. More than 40,000 unique plants are in the field, many of which fruited this year for the first time. Read more.
The Florida Citrus Research Foundation (FCRF) is the owner and co-managing entity of the A.H. Whitmore Foundation Farm located between Leesburg and Groveland. After the movement of the U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory (USHRL) from Orlando to Ft. Pierce, the continued value and usefulness of the Whitmore Farm was called into question. Read more.
Fifty-five years ago, the writer John McPhee visited Florida as part of his research for the elegant little book he titled simply “Oranges.” He noted the roughly 100-mile ridge running between Leesburg and Sebring had “the most intense concentration of citrus in the world” and likened the scent it produced to a sedative. Read more.
Florida citrus nurseries and growers have been quick to adopt new varieties for trial and commercial production on a range of scales. Because many of these citrus varieties are made available with limited or no data, production plans are being developed on the fly. This certainly isn’t ideal. Read more.
All farms evolve over time as growers try new crops that fit their ground and economic situation. Some crops are a hit and others are not. That’s why small-scale trials are important to find winners or weed out losers before going into new, large-scale plantings.
There is certainly no shortage of regulations, statutes, and rules governing Florida’s citrus industry. This fact is particularly obvious to those new to the party. It is sometimes puzzling why an industry would self-impose such a situation. Was the master plan to regulate ourselves into prosperity? Quite the contrary. Read more.
Mark Ritenour with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) reports on evaluations of new fresh mandarin and sweet orange selections. Ritenour is a professor at the Indian River Research and Education Center in Fort Pierce.
The level of interest and curiosity associated with North Florida and South Georgia citrus production is escalating. Some Floridians are reserving judgement, some are convinced that it is going to be a disaster, and others wish they could magically relocate their groves and infrastructure to the Northern counties. Read more.
Fred Gmitter provided an update at Citrus Expo on University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) citrus varieties, including OLL-20 and Bingo. Gmitter is a UF/IFAS citrus plant breeder and geneticist at the Citrus Research and Education Center.
As citrus growers, packers, processors, gift-fruit shippers and others taste, feel and smell the latest varieties from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), they hope their taste buds explode with flavor and that a fresh aroma fills the room at the Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC).
New fresh citrus fruit selections continue to be developed and released by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
When you are told the experimental citrus grove you have planted is like no other in the country, you know it is a sign of the times and changes brought on by citrus greening.
For the Florida citrus industry, last year was considered a rebound season after the big blow Hurricane Irma dealt in September 2017. And it was. The 2019-2020 citrus season is now officially underway in the Sunshine State with USDA’s initial citrus crop estimate in the books. Pre-season predictions from citrus economist Elizabeth Steger pegged the orange crop at 73 million boxes – a touch above last season’s final tally of 71 million boxes and change.
The fall brings numerous opportunities for the Florida citrus industry to engage with the plant improvement teams at the UF/IFAS and USDA-ARS.