New citrus (Citrus sp.) tree plantings in Florida have been less than 50% of tree mortality/removal rates as indicated by the rate of decline in the Florida commercial citrus tree inventory. The significant decline in tree inventory in recent years, largely due to the citrus disease known as huanglongbing [HLB (Candidatus liberibacter)], remains a critical factor contributing to the sharp decline in citrus production in Florida. Concerns over significantly higher costs of production and the uncertainty associated with the spread of HLB have prompted industry leaders and governmental agencies to develop strategic incentives to promote reinvestment in planting new citrus trees to producers. Several programs have been proposed to encourage new plantings of early- and midseason oranges [Citrus sinensis (primarily ‘Hamlin’)], ‘Valencia’ orange, and grapefruit (Citrus ×paradisi) in Florida. Several existing citrus tree replanting programs are evaluated using net present value (NPV) methods to analyze the outcome of the investment.
Huanglongbing (HLB) was first discovered in Florida in 2005. It can now be found in all counties in the state where commercial citrus production takes place. HLB is a bacterial disease that is transmitted by the Asiatic citrus psyllid. HLB negatively affects citrus producers in several ways, including reduced yield, increased grove maintenance costs, and increased tree mortality. The research presented in this article suggests that another consequence of HLB is its adverse effect on the willingness of producers to invest in new plantings. Reduced plantings imply reduced fruit production in the future.