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.