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.
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.
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.
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.
April 20, 2020
April’s All In For Citrus podcast includes timely information, says goodbye to a recognized figure at the University of Florida, and says hello to a new face on the citrus team.
Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC) Director Michael Rogers starts off the episode with on update on operations amid COVID-19 restrictions. The citrus team has transitioned to working remotely and continues to be available via telephone and internet. Researchers are still tending to projects in labs on a limited basis while adhering to social-distancing guidelines. Rogers details some of the upcoming digital information that will be available to growers.
It’s not the ending that Senior Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources Jack Payne thought he would have to his career, but staying home during this pandemic has allowed him to look back on his tenure at the University of Florida. Payne outlines how the industry has changed during his decade at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences helm. He also discusses some of the accomplishments of his team and he makes some predictions on what lies ahead.
As the citrus industry says goodbye to Payne, it also says hello to a new citrus Extension agent. Ajia Paolillo brings her enthusiasm to growers in DeSoto, Hardee and Manatee counties. Paolillo did not grow up in agriculture, but she is no stranger to the citrus industry. She worked for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Division of Plant Industry as a citrus nursery Inspector. She also spent time in the CREC lab studying rootstocks. Paolillo talks about how she hopes to take what she learned from some well-known citrus Extension agents and become a trusted source for growers, starting with getting to know the producers in her counties.
March 23, 2020
The March episode of the All In For Citrus podcast covers how the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC) is operating under COVID-19 restrictions and some of the research that continues.
CREC Center Director Michael Rogers starts the episode with the impacts COVID-19 is having on the citrus research team and how it is operating under the fluid situation. He said the center is still working on research while being closed to the public. Grower support will continue via online and telephone avenues. Rogers suggests all citrus growers subscribe to the UF/IFAS Citrus Team Newsletter that will be one of the channels used to distribute research findings. It's important to note this interview was recorded on March 20. Find the latest information on operations at the UF/IFAS and CREC websites.
Lorenzo Rossi, UF/IFAS assistant professor, focuses on root health research, including how root traits affect nutrient uptake. He discusses work on new nutritional guidelines, explaining that citrus nutrient requirements are different than when guidelines were formulated prior to HLB. Rossi also talks about promising research with oak mulch and studies on other mulches, compost and cover crops.
Wrapping up this episode, Ramdas Kanissery, UF/IFAS assistant professor, gives the latest updates on his weed research. Kanissery explains what herbicide synergy is and how it helps growers maximize applications and reduce tolerance. He also discusses research that is improving the safety of production practices a well as potential impacts weeds have in a grove.
February 21, 2020
This month's podcast includes three timely interviews on topics of interest to the citrus industry.
Citrus Research and Education Center Director Michael Rogers gives an update on the Citrus Nutrition Box Program that started last fall, including the individualized nutrition recommendations being made by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) experts. Rogers also shares the latest information on the search for a new UF/IFAS vice president, including dates in March when the candidates will meet with the industry. Finally, he announces a new citrus Extension agent.
UF/IFAS postharvest horticulturist Mark Ritenour addresses several fresh fruit issues, starting with changes in maximum residue limit requirements for fresh citrus markets. One new research project he discusses is an effort to develop methods to reduce postharvest decay. He also speaks about an electronic grading unit that will measure numerous fruit quality parameters. Researchers want to determine the unit's ability to separate unmarketable fruit – including that affected by HLB – from healthy fruit.
Wrapping up the episode, entomologist Lukasz Stelinski says that even with HLB infection in Florida at virtually 100 percent, reducing the psyllids that spread the disease promotes plant health and yield. He discusses the importance of psyllid spray timing as well as rotating insecticide modes of action. Biological control of psyllids is also addressed.
January 24, 2020
The first episode of the year of the All In For Citrus Podcast includes efforts to get research information out to growers, threshold numbers on production costs that are a little shocking with current juice prices the way they are, nutrition programs that continue to help manage HLB-affected trees, and breeding work to solve citrus challenges.
Senior Correspondent-at-Large Ernie Neff starts the show with Michael Rogers, director of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Citrus Research and Education Center. Rogers discusses communication efforts, including the All In For Citrus Podcast and steps UF/IFAS is taking to further improve its communications with growers. He also provides an update on the search for a new UF/IFAS vice president and shares details on upcoming citrus events.
Then, Extension economist Ariel Singerman speaks on a recent article he wrote on the subject of how much growers can afford to spend on the caretaking of processed orange groves. The article addresses the grove management decisions growers must make in the face of current orange price declines. It points out that an average grower would need to cut back significantly on caretaking expenses just to break even.
Next, plant pathologist Evan Johnson discusses the damage that HLB inflicts on citrus tree roots and steps growers can take to cope with the problem. Chief among the root health management practices are “spoon-feeding” of nutrients and irrigation. The more frequent applications allow trees to make better use of those inputs. Johnson says most growers he knows have adopted the spoon-feeding practice, and some have seen increased root mass.
Wrapping up the show, geneticist and plant breeder Jude Grosser believes higher quality orange juice, coming from higher quality oranges, is needed to combat falling juice sales. He points out that growers also need oranges that are better able to produce good juice fruit in the face of HLB. Grosser talks about new orange varieties that have been developed by UF/IFAS to accomplish those goals. He and fellow breeders have focused on improving juice quality throughout the entire season.
December 19, 2019
The December All In For Citrus podcast has critical insights on citrus production, including contract issues, a view from Brazil, soil health research and the Winter Weather Watch program.
Numerous Florida citrus growers have no contracts and no offers, or very low offers, for their juice oranges this season. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Citrus Research and Education Center Director Michael Rogers discusses the difficult decisions facing those growers and how they might best decide to allocate money for grove management practices. Nutrient and water management should be top priorities, he says.
Indian River Research and Education Center horticulturist Johnny Ferrarezi joins the podcast to discuss his recent trip to Brazil. Even though the situations in Florida and Brazil are very different, he says there is a lot to take away from the Brazilian citrus industry's management practices.
Keeping trees as healthy as possible is key to surviving HLB disease. Sarah Strauss, UF/IFAS soil microbiologist, gives an update on her research into cover crops. Strauss and other researchers are working on trying to identify varieties that make the best cover crop mixes for growers. She also talks about new funding just announced to start a study looking into compost.
Multi-county citrus Extension agent Chris Oswalt discusses the long-running Winter Weather Watch program that provides participating growers with phone access to localized weather forecasts. The watch is available in the west, central and southwest regions of Florida. Oswalt says many growers use information from the watch in conjunction with information from the Florida Automated Weather Network.
November 22, 2019
The All In For Citrus podcast for November is packed with updates on various aspects of citrus production.
Citrus Research and Education Center Director Michael Rogers tells how the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) helped a Washington Post reporter write a well-balanced article about the Florida citrus industry and HLB. Rogers points out that the reporter painted a pretty dire picture of the Florida citrus industry as a result of HLB, but also described some research advances.
UF/IFAS pathologist Ozgur Batuman reviews his research that is looking to attack the Asian citrus psyllid from the inside out. Batuman is excited about five viruses he and others have found and isolated in the gut of psyllids in Florida. He hopes these viruses can be manipulated to negatively impact the function of the host and possibly even kill the psyllid.
UF/IFAS horticulturist Tripti Vashisth discusses the success of a Citrus Nutrition Management Program that distributed nutrition sampling kits to approximately 110 growers this fall. The kits provide everything growers need to collect leaf and soil samples for a year. The samples help growers ensure their nutrition programs are working.
Yiannis Ampatzidis, UF/IFAS assistant professor, shares the latest information on his high-tech tool for growers to monitor groves. His research uses drones to save time and money by monitoring tree size and counting gaps in rows. This information is needed for insurance reasons, and Ampatzidis hopes it can soon save the grower even more money by incorporating variable-spray technology.