September 22, 2022
As the 2022 citrus harvest gets underway, All In For Citrus podcast host Frank Giles catches up with the directors of three University of Florida Institute of Food Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) research and education centers. The directors discuss how the citrus crop is looking in their areas as well as key research projects underway at their facilities.
Michael Rogers, director of the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center, noted that he’s seeing a mixed bag when it comes to this year’s crop. While some groves clearly are suffering the effects of HLB, others look quite good.
“I have seen some groves that look quite remarkable, kind of reminiscent of where we were 15 or 20 years ago,” said Rogers. “These growers have been working on their nutrition programs in particular and have their soil pH right and are alleviating the stress on the trees. Over a period of years, they have really seen those groves come back. I was in a grove a couple weeks ago that looked very similar to what we would have seen before HLB. The big question remains, will those fruit hang on the tree? … That has been a big focus for us in research, trying to find ways to keep fruit on the trees through harvest.”
Rogers also addresses a shortage of imidacloprid, which is an important insecticide for citrus, especially young trees. Work is underway to make the product more available to growers.
Ron Cave, director of the Indian River Research and Education Center, discusses citrus research projects at that facility and its Millennium Block. He says there is a field day scheduled there on Oct. 19 that growers will want to attend.
The new director of the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center, Michael Burton, talks about his priorities for citrus research and provides some details on his background before coming to Florida.
Check out the September All In For Citrus podcast for more crop updates and a look at UF/IFAS citrus research. The podcast is a joint project of UF/IFAS and AgNet Media.
August 24, 2022
The August episode of the All In For Citrus podcast takes listeners on a deep dive into the use of plant growth regulators like gibberellic acid (GA) to help fight fruit drop. The episode features an in-depth conversation between Michael Rogers, director of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Citrus Research and Education Center, and Tripti Vashisth, UF/IFAS associate professor of horticultural sciences. They cover subjects such as the number and timing of applications of GA to optimize tree response. While GA research has been discussed before, podcast host Frank Giles noted that this is the most comprehensive conversation he’s heard to date on the subject.
Vashisth has been on the forefront of research on the use of GA in Florida citrus. Over the years, this research has led her to refine application recommendations to improve GA performance. Studies have shown that multiple applications of GA produce the best results. UF/IFAS now recommends up to five applications. But what about growers who can’t afford five applications? Rogers and Vashisth discuss this challenge facing many growers and offer guidance on how much can be cut back without diminishing GA application return-on-investment.
The conversation covers GA applications for both Valencia and Hamlin oranges, which respond differently to the treatments. There also has been some anecdotal observations that GA applications made at night perform better than in the daytime. Vashisth offers guidance on this topic in the podcast.
In addition to GA, Rogers and Vashisth discuss new and ongoing research on the use of 2,4-D to improve fruit retention in HLB-affected oranges.
Growers interested in fighting fruit drop with plant growth regulators will not want to miss this episode of All In For Citrus. The podcast is a joint project of UF/IFAS and AgNet Media.
July 19, 2022
This month’s All In For Citrus podcast focuses on the upcoming Citrus & Specialty Crop Expo scheduled for Aug. 17–18 at the Lee Civic Center in North Fort Myers, Florida. Michael Rogers, director of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Citrus Research and Education Center, said the university’s citrus research team worked hard to develop a program that growers can put to work in their groves today.
June 27, 2022
In the June episode of the All In For Citrus podcast, Michael Rogers, director of the Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC), speaks live and on-the-scene during the Florida Citrus Industry Annual Conference in Bonita Springs. He said the great turnout for the event, hosted by Florida Citrus Mutual, is indicative of the fighting spirit of the state’s citrus growers.
May 23, 2022
Fruit drop continues to plague Florida citrus groves. Growers and researchers are seeking ways to mitigate the problem. This was the topic of a number of presentations during the Florida Citrus Growers’ Institute held in Avon Park in April.
March 23, 2022
March means spring break for many, and Florida is a favorite destination for students looking to celebrate the time off. Michael Rogers, director of the Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred, took the occasion to shine the light on the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) citrus graduate program. Sixty-five students are currently engaged in graduate studies as they learn to be future leaders in citrus science and business. According to Rogers, while they are learning, they also are providing a valuable contribution to current research that has material benefits to citrus growers.
John Chater, assistant professor of horticultural sciences, recently joined the UF/IFAS citrus team to help growers evaluate the many new rootstocks and scions being developed by plant breeders. Chater joined the podcast to talk about his background and new job duties with UF/IFAS. In addition, he spoke about the varieties that have caught his attention in Florida.
On April 5, the Florida Citrus Growers’ Institute will take place in Avon Park. Florida’s citrus Extension agents help organize the event. Ajia Paolillo, an agent based in Arcadia, joined the podcast to discuss the program. HLB, fruit drop and plant nutrition are just a few of the topics that will be covered in the educational sessions. She said the agents are particularly excited to finally be hosting the event in person again after COVID-19 forced the event to go digital during the pandemic.
The All In For Citrus podcast is a joint project of UF/IFAS and AgNet Media. Listen to the March episode here.
February 25, 2022
The Florida legislative session is well underway in Tallahassee. The University of Florida hosted its annual Gator Day at the Capitol in February to remind lawmakers of all that the school does for its students and stakeholders. Michael Rogers, director of the Citrus Research and Education Center, and fellow citrus team members from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) made the trek to Tallahassee to showcase the importance of citrus in the state and the vital research being done on behalf of growers. Rogers discusses the trip in the February All In For Citrus podcast episode. He reports that free orange juice samples at the UF/IFAS booth were a big hit.
UF/IFAS entomologist Kirsten Pelz-Stelinski also joins the podcast to share her research on the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) and a new grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to further her study. The goal of the research is to use bacteria already present inside the ACP to manipulate the pest so it can no longer be a vector of the pathogen that causes HLB. The process is building on previous research Pelz-Stelinski and colleagues have conducted to manipulate the ACP.
Growers will be interested to hear from Davie Kadyampakeni, a UF/IFAS assistant professor who details his new research on citrus nutrition. He has been studying the impact of macronutrients on yield, tree health and juice quality. Kadyampakeni also has been researching the importance of micronutrients like manganese, boron, zinc and iron.
“We have seen tremendous success where we have increased the amounts of micronutrients,” Kadyampakeni says. “We are learning we need balanced and constant nutrition for these HLB-affected trees.”
Kadyampakeni says his research also is being applied to update recommendations for citrus nutrient applications that consider the impacts of HLB.
The All In For Citrus podcast is a joint project of UF/IFAS and AgNet Media.
January 24, 2022
It’s tough to be a citrus grower in Florida right now. In the January All In For Citrus podcast episode, Michael Rogers discusses the challenging environment for growers. Below-average prices and low yields are among the major obstacles.
However, the UF/IFAS citrus researchers and Extension agents continue to work hard on behalf of growers, looking for tools they can use now to stay afloat. Rogers, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Citrus Research and Education Center director, notes several events in February to get important information out to growers. He also discusses the search for two new positions on the team to further help producers.
UF/IFAS citrus horticulturist Fernando Alferez joins the podcast from the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center (SWFREC) to provide an update on individual protective covers, which researchers are testing on young citrus. He and his team just concluded a multi-year trial on the system and saw both an increase in quality and yield. In addition, Alferez details results of some in-season treatments of relatively inexpensive products that are showing less fruit drop in Hamlin groves.
Reducing fruit drop is also something Ute Albrecht, a UF/IFAS plant physiologist at the SWFREC, is seeing in her trunk-injection research. Albrecht joins the podcast episode to share findings from a multi-year study in which a single injection reduced fruit drop dramatically. She talks about the challenges of the delivery system and new technology that may make it a practical option for growers. Albrecht reminds growers that trunk injection is still being studied and not a recommendation from advisors.
December 17, 2021
2021 won’t go down as one of the best years for citrus growers, but there were some wins for the industry. After the holidays, a major event will springboard the industry into the new year.
Michael Rogers, director of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Citrus Research and Education Center, notes that the continuing pandemic and low production are dampening the holiday cheer this year. However, recent research recommendations and the return of events should give the citrus industry reasons to be jolly.
In the December episode of the All In For Citrus podcast, Rogers discusses the gibberellic acid research and recommendations developed by UF/IFAS that can reverse the effects of huanglongbing disease. There has been some misinformation about the use of the product. Rogers clearly outlines gibberellic acid use and its flexibility due to not being a pesticide.
After ringing in the new year, the citrus industry will gather for a major show in January. The Florida Grower Citrus Show is Jan. 26–27 at the Havert L. Fenn Center in Fort Pierce, Florida. The event is a great opportunity for UF/IFAS scientists to communicate their ongoing research. UF/IFAS’ Mark Ritenour and Sandra Guzman join the December podcast episode to talk about the educational lineup at the show, including their presentations, during the two-day event.