Mike Roberts

Citrus Cooperative Research Projects Advance the Industry

Great things happen when we put our heads together. There are many instances where advancements in the treatment of citrus greening came about during citrus cooperative research projects. For example, during one such cooperative project, a participant noticed that citrus greening causes the rapid loss of fibrous roots; in another, a participant noticed the importance of soil pH for citrus tree health. These observations were both made by citrus growers and “industry cooperators” during citrus cooperative research projects, and those observations then led to research that led to new industry practices in mitigating the effects of citrus greening. 

Such developments are just one of the many benefits of citrus cooperative research projects, like the Citrus Research and Field Trial (CRAFT) program, and those benefits are reason enough for you to board the cooperative research project train.

Benefits of Citrus Cooperative Research Projects

Citrus cooperative research projects are those where research is conducted, usually by a university-backed scientist, using plots in established commercial groves. Citrus growers provide the groves and the caretaking, and the researchers design the study or experiment and execute it. These projects evaluate the success of new agricultural practices—such as new rootstocks and varieties, growth regulators, IPM tactics, and more. The viabilities of the practices are tested under commercial conditions in different groves to measure all the possible variables presented by Florida’s different regions. There are numerous benefits that occur when growers and researchers work together.

Benefits of citrus cooperative research projects include:

  • Researchers save time and valuable research resources by utilizing groves with intact infrastructure and labor needed to run research trials. These savings mean more research at different locations and under different conditions.
  • Growers benefit from the high volume of research that can be accomplished when research budgets can be stretched to cover more locations.
  • Growers and researchers both benefit from the exchange of information and insights that organically occur during research.
  • Relationships between growers and researchers are formed and strengthened; these are relationships that can span decades and beyond, and both sides benefit from the sharing of resources and ideas.

Growers interested in reaping the benefits and contributing to crucial citrus industry research can contact UF/IFAS research faculty at crec.ifas.ufl.edu, swfrec.ifas.ufl.edu, or irrec.ifas.ufl.edu, or through their local Extension agents.

BIO: Mike Roberts is the Vice President of the Frostproof, Fla.-based Griffin Fertilizer Co. Roberts joined the company in November 2011. He has spent the majority of his career in the fertilizer/agchem industry. Roberts earned a Bachelor of Science degree in citrus production from Florida Southern College in Lakeland. For more information, visit griffinfertilizer.com.

This column is sponsored by Griffin Fertilizer Co., and the opinions expressed herein may not reflect those of CFAN or of its advertisers.

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