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  • Author or Editor: Ariel Singerman x
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The Florida citrus industry has been enduring the impact of citrus greening since 2005. The disease has been the main driver for the state’s citrus production to plummet by 80% in the past 13 years, causing the industry to downsize drastically. Planting new groves is key to ensuring a supply of fruit for processors and packinghouses to stay in business. However, a key question is whether it makes economic sense to plant a new grove in the current environment. We estimate the establishment and production costs for a new grove under endemic Huanglongbing (HLB; citrus greening) conditions for three different tree planting densities under different market conditions and examine their profitability. Our results show that establishing a new grove with a tree density similar to that of the state’s average is not profitable under current market conditions. However, greater tree densities are profitable despite the greater level of investment required.

Free access

Monitoring the health of Huanglongbing-affected citrus trees by following changes in leaf Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) titer has an inherent element of imprecision because CLas titer varies considerably within the tree canopy and with calendar seasons. In addition, the destructive sampling method used to determine CLas titer entails a different set of leaves per sampling period adding to the inconsistency and inexactitude of the results. To overcome these ambiguities and to reduce the numerical variability between samples, we developed an experimental method that analyzes portions of the same treated leaves for up to four sampling periods. By assaying subsamples of adjacent locations of the same leaf, random variability was significantly reduced, and comparative analysis can be carried out with greater precision.

Free access

Citrus huanglongbing (HLB), or greening, is the most destructive citrus disease worldwide and is threatening the sustainability of the industry in major citrus-growing regions. Various treatments have been proposed in the literature to manage the disease. We review such literature and conduct an economic analysis based on the reported treatment effects on fruit yield and quality to identify cost-effective management strategies. Our results suggest that, among the treatments we reviewed, broad-spectrum insecticides provide the only cost-effective strategy for mitigating the impact of the disease. Our findings and discussion should help growers, policymakers, and other stakeholders make informed decisions in the search for effective, sustainable, and environmentally friendly treatments and policies against HLB.

Open Access

Citrus greening or Huanglongbing (HLB) has caused sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) yield in Florida to decrease by 55% since the disease was first discovered in 2005. As a consequence, the profitability and sustainability of citrus (Citrus sp.) production in Florida have been jeopardized, as evidenced by the 62% reduction in the number of citrus growers statewide. Because there is still no effective treatment or management strategy to cure the disease, it is crucial to optimize grove practices and management. The use of improved rootstocks could increase the tolerance of citrus scions to biotic and abiotic stresses, thereby allowing growers to cope better with the impact of HLB in the field. We used yield data collected from commercial trials over the course of multiple seasons to assess the side-by-side performance of various commercially available rootstocks developed by the two major breeding programs in Florida in HLB-endemic field conditions. We found that some of the rootstocks attained not only statistically significant differences in yield relative to the control but also meaningful differences in revenue. Those estimates provide evidence regarding the effect of rootstock during the first few seasons after planting. Our findings are useful to improve growers’ decision-making processes regarding rootstock selection for new groves.

Open Access