The All In For Citrus Podcast
All In For Citrus, Episode 30 February 2021

All In For Citrus, Episode 30 February 2021

February 19, 2021

February’s All In For Citrus podcast brings good news about a new faculty position, an upcoming in-person meeting and Australian finger limes projects to battle HLB and keep growers profitable.

After more than a year in the making, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) plans to add a new faculty member in citrus horticulture. Citrus Research and Education Center Director Michael Rogers talks about the position that was introduced on the podcast last year. The process was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic but has now been greenlighted by UF/IFAS. Rogers also notes several new meetings that have been planned for March, both virtual and in person. Topics to be covered include citrus irrigation, soil health and an in-person citrus under protective screen (CUPS) demonstration.

Manjul Dutt joins the podcast for another look into research on Australian finger limes. He says researchers noticed early on that these trees were much more tolerant to HLB disease than traditional citrus varieties. That’s why researchers are continuing to look at the possibility of finger limes as an alternative crop, but they also are trying to figure out all the ways the finger lime contributes to less HLB effects and disease transmission. Not only does the tree have high levels of compounds that may help tolerate the disease, says Dutt, it also has characteristics that may limit Asian citrus psyllid feeding on the plant. He is helping develop new cultivars that are crosses between conventional citrus and finger limes, and some look very promising.

Ute Albrecht highlights two projects in the podcast; one involves the new cultivars Dutt is helping to create. Albrecht will be field-testing the new cultivars, which are preselected varieties based on fruit quality. The research will determine how well they grow in Florida. The second project will aim to identify an all-systems approach to root health. Several current strategies will be combined with new approaches for a comprehensive recommendation for growers.

All In For Citrus, Episode 29 January 2021

All In For Citrus, Episode 29 January 2021

January 22, 2021

An update on the nutrition box program, shade research with some positive side effects, and a bold project analyzing compounds used against HLB headline January’s All In For Citrus podcast.

The Citrus Nutrient Management Program, more commonly known as the nutrition box program, is over a year old. Citrus Research and Education Center Director Michael Rogers, with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), begins this month’s episode of the podcast with an update on the nutrition box program. He said there is very valuable data that has come from the boxes, including identifying regional problems that growers are experiencing. Growers can still sign up for the 2021 program until Jan. 31. Rogers said the program can help growers maximize yields while helping researchers prioritize solutions for specific regions.

Christopher Vincent, UF/IFAS assistant professor of horticultural sciences, gives an update on shade work in the field. Citrus trees generally like shade, so his research is looking to determine the right amount of shade for HLB-infected trees. The work is proving beneficial with an increase in tree yield and overall health. In addition, a positive side effect is that shade can hinder the Asian citrus psyllid’s ability to move from tree to tree. Vincent also discusses some of the results from UF/IFAS antibiotic research examining foliar sprays as well as a new study attempting to increase the efficiency of sugar movement through citrus trees.

Lorenzo Rossi, UF/IFAS plant root biologist, closes the podcast with details on new research funded by a grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The project will test compounds in the field that may influence HLB. Rossi said the goal is to find a specific compound that battles the bacteria that causes the disease. The research is a collaboration between multiple agencies and the private sector. Rossi believes the inclusion of companies in the research may speed up the process of bringing a potential product to market for producers.

All In For Citrus, Episode 28 December 2020

All In For Citrus, Episode 28 December 2020

December 17, 2020

December brings the holiday season, but it is also a busy time for harvesting Florida citrus. As early-season varieties come off the trees, the December episode of the All In For Citrus podcast blends critical information for growers with a little holiday history and cheer.

University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Citrus Research and Education Center Director Michael Rogers gives a field report on the harvesting of Hamlins. He shares information on the Flower Bud Induction Advisory and where growers can find that information, plus a list of upcoming webinars for producers. Even though the Florida Citrus Show has been postponed, Rogers says the UF/IFAS citrus team is looking forward to getting back to in-person events at some point and is thankful to the industry for its patience.

Artificial intelligence (AI) can be an overwhelming topic, but Sandra Guzman says it is easier to swallow when it helps growers. Guzman, an agricultural engineering assistant professor at the UF/IFAS Indian River Research and Education Center, has been working directly with growers to integrate the benefits of in-field technology. She describes systems growers are using to get all their information together and in real-time. Guzman also tells how growers can use AI to help maximize yields and stabilize production with variable weather.

Some holiday spirit, history, and gift-giving tips wrap up the December episode of the podcast. Ruth Borger, UF/IFAS communications specialist, discusses the rich history that citrus has with Christmas. Some people still get an orange in their stocking, and there is a reason for that. Borger details how the tradition has continued over the years and what meanings are behind different varieties that are gifted. She also has several ideas for citrus-related gifts as well as critical tips for the safest way to send fruit to family and friends.

All In For Citrus, Episode 27 November 2020

All In For Citrus, Episode 27 November 2020

November 20, 2020

The November episode of the All In For Citrus podcast covers a multitude of grant-funded research that the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) citrus team both leads and collaborates on.

Citrus Research and Education Center Director Michael Rogers begins the podcast with a discussion on research projects UF/IFAS scientists are playing critical roles in collaborative efforts. Projects include studying HLB-tolerant varieties involving finger limes, enhancing root health systematically, and investigating therapeutics and microbial products.

Amit Levy, UF/IFAS plant pathology assistant professor, then highlights the first of two new U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) grant projects. Levy will be looking more into the CLas bacterium that causes HLB. The bacteria clogs the phloem of the tree much like cholesterol in human veins. The new project aims to find out why that happens and how to counteract it.

Bryony Bonning, eminent scholar and professor of nematology and entomology, details the second of the two NIFA grants that UF/IFAS is leading. Her project is tackling the vector of HLB disease, the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP). The research will utilize Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) bacteria and RNA silencing. Bonning says the goal is to have the ACP ingest the deadly proteins Bt bacteria produce and possibly increase that feeding with gene silencing technology. The work hopes to add a critical tool to grower management of the disease by helping to control the vector.

All In For Citrus, Episode 26 October 2020

All In For Citrus, Episode 26 October 2020

October 23, 2020

An exciting development with genome sequencing, timely research in the face of COVID-19 and an update on sting nematode research headline October’s All In For Citrus podcast.

Citrus Research and Education Center Director Michael Rogers details the benefits of recent news about the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) mapping the trifoliate orange genome. He says it’s a truly complete sequence that will allow researchers to use it as a template for future hybrid rootstock varieties.

Rogers adds that detailed information about the genome sequencing can be found on the revamped UF/IFAS Citrus Research website. He describes the site as a powerful one-stop-shop tool for growers to stay updated on industry research.

Another exciting announcement from UF/IFAS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture grant that food safety professor Michelle Danyluk and her team received to ‘prove the negative.’

Danyluk is working with researchers across the United States to put some hard data behind the lack of coronavirus transmission from food and food packaging. The Centers for Disease Control said early on in the pandemic that the virus likely could not be passed along to a consumer buying food at the store. Danyluk says the research will prove that scientifically and help relay that information to the general public with a new website.

Sting nematodes can be a big issue for growers, and the problem seems to have gotten worse over the last several years. The pest weakens the roots of the citrus tree, which is especially troublesome when growers are already dealing with HLB disease.

UF/IFAS nematology professor Larry Duncan says these small worms could be particularly problematic for younger trees when growers are replanting. His research is testing a new wave of nematicides, alongside some of the old ones, to see which are most effective.

Duncan’s team is also testing the non-host peanut plant in row middles. So far, the practice is acting as a cover crop and suppressing sting nematodes in row middles at an impressive rate.

All In For Citrus, Episode 25 September 2020

All In For Citrus, Episode 25 September 2020

September 21, 2020

National recognition, new findings on black spot control, and research on antimicrobial peptides highlight the September episode of the All In For Citrus podcast.

Citrus Research and Education Center Director Michael Rogers starts the episode with the announcement that the University of Florida was ranked in the top 10 of U.S. News and World Report’s Top Public Schools list. Rogers describes how the list is put together, what it means to the university, and how vital students — especially postgraduate students — are to the university’s research.

Plant Pathology Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist Megan Dewdney gives an update on her citrus black spot research. She details findings from an ongoing project examining product effectiveness. The study tested 10 different tools to combat the pathogen. Dewdney also talks about updates to her section of the 2020-2021 Florida Citrus Production Guide. She says the authors continue to update the publication to modernize it and go through a rigorous process to include recommendations for growers.

Wrapping up the episode, Research Assistant Scientist Choaa El-Mohtar joins the show to talk about the system he developed to test naturally occurring compounds on citrus trees. Using a strain of the citrus tristeza virus (CTV), the technology can introduce things like peptides into trees to see how they will react. El-Mohtar says researchers have scanned many antimicrobial peptides in the system and have identified a few that help trees tolerate HLB. He adds that the CTV technology is close to being tested on a large scale at Southern Gardens Citrus and could be available to growers relatively soon.

All In For Citrus, Episode 24 August 2020

All In For Citrus, Episode 24 August 2020

August 21, 2020

August brings a special episode of the All In For Citrus podcast as listeners hear from the new leader of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) and get an update on digital offerings.

Citrus Research and Education Center Director Michael Rogers starts the episode by announcing a redesign to the UF/IFAS Citrus Research website. The university listened to industry feedback on the organization and accessibility of the site. Rogers says the redesign makes it a one-stop-shop for growers with all of the information they need to know. He says the citrus team is looking at a lot of the new practices they are doing during the pandemic and plan on adopting some of them, such as video presentations, moving forward.

J. Scott Angle officially started as the UF/IFAS new vice president for agriculture and natural resources in mid-July. While he isn’t from Florida, Angle has a personal relationship with citrus and extensive experience in how research is funded and allocated. Starting a position during a global pandemic has admittedly been quite different for Angle. Still, he is focusing on meeting as much of the industry as possible and listening to the issues.

“My job is to make sure that we support all of the growers and those that work in the industry,” Angle said. “I wake up every morning to make sure that they remain profitable and able to do their job, grow, and expand their business.”

Angle has an impressive resume and has spent the last several years at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. There he oversaw $125 million of funding for projects related to huanglongbing disease and worked with the likes of Florida Citrus Mutual’s Mike Sparks, Larry Black, Tom Mitchell, and others. He believes research advances over the last five years are proof that the university is utilizing funding in the best way for growers, and that the UF/IFAS team will play a significant role in keeping the iconic citrus industry profitable for years to come.

All In For Citrus, Episode 23 July 2020

All In For Citrus, Episode 23 July 2020

July 24, 2020

July’s All in For Citrus podcast episode focuses on online educational opportunities for growers as in-person events continue to get canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions.

 

Citrus Research and Education Center Director Michael Rogers begins the program with an update on the phased reopening of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). Rogers says more researchers are being allowed to return to their laboratories in a scaled-back manner while adhering to social-distancing guidelines. He says it’s exciting to see some movement toward normalcy, but the health and safety of staff is the top priority. Faculty continue to move research projects forward, are providing new online educational opportunities, and remain available to growers when they have issues.

 

Tripti Vashisth, UF/IFAS assistant professor, describes how information normally presented at Citrus Expo will be made available to growers online. Vashisth was organizing the educational sessions prior to the cancellation of the in-person 2020 Citrus Expo. She says presenters are now in the process of recording their talks, which will be included in the virtual Citrus Expo debuting online Aug. 19-20. She previews some of the session topics and speakers on the agenda.

 

Citrus Expo is not the only digital education program UF/IFAS is developing. Five presentations from the 2020 Florida Citrus Growers’ Institute, which was canceled back in April, are now available online. Citrus Extension Agent Chris Oswalt says the presentations have been approved for continuing education units (CEUs). Growers can find the information and how to apply for the CEUs at the 2020 Florida Citrus Growers’ Institute webpage.

All In For Citrus, Episode 22 June 2020

All In For Citrus, Episode 22 June 2020

June 19, 2020

Listen to the June episode of the All In For Citrus podcast to hear a bit of breaking news as well as updates on two research projects with exciting potential.

Citrus Research and Education Center Director Michael Rogers learned just hours before the recording of this episode that the University of Florida was moving forward with the state's Phase Three of reopening from coronavirus restrictions. He describes what that means for the citrus agents and discusses some of their tentative plans for the 2020 Citrus Expo that, as of now, is still happening.

Johnny Ferrarezi, assistant professor at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Indian River Research and Education Center, offers an update on the exciting Millennium Block research. The project looks at a variety of scion and rootstock combinations for grapefruit, tangerines and navel oranges. Although it’s still too early to publish data, Ferrarezi says he already sees a lot of differences in growth between the combinations.

UF/IFAS Assistant Professor Lauren Diepenbrock wraps up this episode with how she's helping growers start young trees off on their healthiest foot. Her research aims to make official recommendations for growers who are replanting trees in the face of widespread huanglongbing.

All In For Citrus, Episode 21, May 2020

All In For Citrus, Episode 21, May 2020

May 22, 2020

In May’s All In For Citrus Podcast, listeners can hear the latest huanglongbing (HLB) research and recommendations as well as how the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) citrus team is operating as COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease.

As always, Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC) Director Michael Rogers begins the podcast. He shares news about how operations with research both on and off campus can continue with a little less restriction. Rogers says the team will be abiding by social distancing rules but will continue with virtual education as a few new opportunities come online in the near future.

The Nutrition of Florida Citrus Trees, 3rd Edition is now available to growers. UF/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center Director Kelly Morgan gives an update on important new information in the fertilization guide, including official HLB recommendations. Morgan said growers have been asking for those additions for some time, and the citrus team is excited to have them included in the new edition.

CREC Associate Center Director Kirsten Pelz-Stelinski concludes this month’s episode with an update to her research that is targeting bacteria, both good and bad, in the body of the Asian citrus psyllid. She also discusses some unintended benefits of bactericide use in the industry. Her trials are showing a possible slowing of transmission between the pest and the tree.

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