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.
There’s no denying that the current state of the citrus industry in Florida is concerning. Ten years of citrus greening due to the HLB bacteria have whittled citrus yields down year after year and now the most recent USDA forecasts put the2015-2016 citrus crop at 50 percent of the crop yield from a decade ago. However, the many producers in the citrus industry have decided to weather the storm until a cure or viable treatment is found, refusing to lose hope in the industry.
The Sunshine State has always been about citrus, and with the dark cloud of HLB— citrus greening— hanging over the industry for the last 10 years, it will surely be a main topic of conversations and presentations alike at the 2016 Florida Citrus Show. Held on January 27th through the 28th in Fort Pierce, Florida, the show narrowly focused on citrus greening and other issues affecting the citrus industry.
With the USDA’s most recent Florida Orange Crop Estimate at a troubling 69 million, there’s no doubt that Florida citrus growers face some tough questions. As a result of citrus greening (or HLB), the industry’s harvest has reduced more than 50 percent over the past decade. Any way you slice it, that’s a big cut, and for some growers, that cut goes so deep that it’s time to ask whether resetting trees is worth the investment or not.
Last November, a bill was proposed by U.S. Rep Vern Buchanan (R-16) that would provide Florida citrus growers with more incentive to plant citrus trees. If passed, the legislation will potentially provide aid to our industry, which is in dire need of it in light of citrus greening (or HLB).
Florida’s farmers, growers, and ranchers increasingly are changing up and adding to the mix of the crops they produce, the livestock they raise and the forage they provide. Some call it agricultural diversification. Some call it alternative farming. Many call it smart business.
It’s rare today to read an article or column about Florida citrus without seeing a reference to citrus greening (Huanglongbing, or HLB), the tree disease that has seriously compromised citrus production all across the state since it was first found in Florida, near Homestead, in August 2005.