As you already know, it’s very common to have non-uniform tree growth and fruit yield. Many of you already implement effective strategies to handle this problem. We want citrus farmers to have the right tools to manage non-uniform growth, increase grove productivity, reduce waste, and maintain high profits.
Here are three reminders for site-specific practices on how you can best manage soil and yield variability in citrus groves:
- Divide your grove into different management zones.
Separate your grove into management zones based on tree size or relative productivity. Each sub region allows you to characterize each section by soil and fertilizer application. Make sure to map the yield potential of each tree— if you have time. This will provide you with a more accurate spatial overview of your field.
- Explore further soil sampling within each management zone.
Conduct further sampling using a grid-based system. The grid should be based on the range of spatial dependence (one study showed the maximum spatial dependence to be close to 500 feet). Don’t forget to base soil sampling intervals on the range of its properties instead of fixed sampling intervals.
- Apply only what amount of fertilizer you need for different areas.
You may already be determining the average amount of fertilizer for your entire grove and then applying that to the entire field. However, some areas of your field may receive more than enough for their stage of growth and others do not receive enough. In order to reduce yield variability, you should apply the fertilizer based on soil fertility tests. This is done by using variable rate fertilization, which will allow you to apply different amounts to different locations. You’ll be able to reduce your production costs and save fertilizer at the same time.
Read more in-depth instructions on how to decrease poor growth and increase productivity here.
That being said, in light of citrus greening (or HLB), there are many grove owners who are considering whether to keep up the fight against the disease or look into diversifying their land holdings. At AgAmerica Lending, we offer the Citrus Grove Conversion Program, a unique solution that enables growers to convert their grove and diversify their crops.
AgAmerica Lending is committed to helping our growers and producers to thrive and succeed in all areas, from soil management and yield variability to land refinance and farm ag loans, with our low interest rates, long amortizations, and an outstanding 10-year line of credit.