The Florida citrus industry has been hit hard in recent years by a slew of obstacles. Citrus greening has caused devastating decreases to harvest numbers, hurricanes have ravaged trees and destroyed crops; and imported orange juice coupled with falling domestic juice consumption until recent demand from COVID-19 crisis has created a market that is offering less for a crop than what it cost to grow.
Despite adversity, the Florida citrus industry is a resilient one, and there are many silver linings to be found in the current predicaments the Florida citrus industry is facing. Essentially, it boils down to the fact that Florida citrus industry growers are learning to produce citrus successfully in an environment that includes citrus greening.
The Florida citrus industry is currently looking at a surplus in juice because we recovered quicker from the destruction of Hurricane Irma faster than juice processors thought we would. Many processors are currently under contract to purchase juice from Brazil and Mexico, contracts that were made to replace the juice oranges lost to Hurricane Irma.
But Florida’s citrus forecasts are holding pace compared with last year’s season totals, reversing a trend of lower and lower citrus harvests. Production appears to be stabilizing due to our perseverance in combating citrus greening.
There are many new ways that growers and researchers have found to combat citrus greening and produce a successful harvest. Tolerant and resistant cultivars are being planted and producing fruit. Growers are utilizing science-backed irrigation and nutrient management practices to promote soil health and citrus root health, and research is on-going into many more options.
New information is forthcoming monthly about the Asian citrus psyllid, including management best practices, new tools like kaolin clay and reflective mulch. Researchers from all over the country are collaborating to utilize cutting-edge science to defeat citrus greening, such as the CRISPR gene editing mobilization and HLB using citrus tristeza virus modified to boost a citrus tree’s immunity.
Call us today and we can assist you in providing the latest HLB tolerant varieties. Be proactive, plant a citrus grove.