CRDF Awarded Specialty Crop Block Grant

CRDF Awarded a Specialty Crop Block Grant Project to Support the Health of New Citrus Plantings.

The Citrus Research and Development Foundation has been notified by the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program administered through Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, that their proposal submitted for support in the most recent Block Grant cycle was approved for funding.  The project, entitled “Sustaining the Florida Citrus Industry:  Protecting Young Trees from HLB and Other Disease”, requested $557,000 over a two-year period to support projects that will develop and deliver solutions associated with planting new citrus groves in Florida.  The goal is for these new plantings to grow to productive age and provide sustainable yields in the presence of HLB.  Methods must be developed and field tested to protect young trees during the first 5-6 years following planting, when they are most vulnerable to infection by the HLB bacterium carried by Asian citrus psyllid.  At the same time, horticultural practices must be enhanced to provide for early productivity and yield quality so that groves will provide financial return before being impacted by disease infection.

Four primary activities will be pursued in support of protecting young citrus plantings, utilizing grower cooperators in partnership with University of Florida, IFAS research and outreach specialists.

 

  1. Determine the role of nutritional and insecticidal treatments in mitigation of HLB in new citrus plantings;
  2. Develop methods for use of soil-applied insecticides to protect trees up to 6 years of age from ACP feeding and HLB infection;
  3. Bring young trees infected with HLB into production using intensive horticultural management strategies; and
  4. Develop and test Advanced Production Systems for efficient, sustainable citrus groves

 

Projects already underway addressing these activities will be supported through this award, with the timeline for funding starting in January, 2013 and running through December, 2014.

This research will have short-term impacts. As citrus growers face increasing infection, higher production inputs and increasing costs, many are reluctant to replant.  The ability to replant and revitalize citrus groves impacts all citrus growers.  This award will advance CRDF priorities to deliver short-term solutions to the industry in this important area.

The Foundation expresses appreciation to those who assisted in making this funding award possible, and looks forward to partnering with University of Florida, IFAS in meeting the goals of the project.