VOL. 21, NO. 6
IN THIS ISSUE:
CTV IN LINDCOVE
CTV in Lindcove—
The University of California maintains a citrus research facility in Lindcove, Tulare County, that is also home to the California Citrus Clonal Protection Program. The latter facility has been very important to the Texas Citrus Budwood Certification Program, as we have obtained a number of varieties from it to include in our program (after appropriate testing).
During the last three years, the facility identified a total of seven trees that were infected with citrus tristeza virus. Surprisingly, officials have found 44 CTV-infected trees already this year—including four that are in the CCPP.
It is believed that the source of CTV may be infected trees in orchards around the facility that are no longer being eradicated, since the CTV eradication program was terminated several years ago. At this point, budwood supplies from the CCPP are likely to be limited for awhile.
With only 142 representatives and 14 senators opposing it, a bill to increase the federal minimum wage goes to the President for signature (or veto, though the latter is widely considered unlikely). This bill will up the rate from the current $5.15 to $5.85 in the next couple of months, with a target of $7.25 by mid 2009.
There really isn’t a whole lot new in this arena—growers across the country need farm labor (mostly for harvesting) and there are an estimated 12 million illegals in the country now. Putting those two facts together, it could be concluded that the current illegals aren’t all that enthused about farm work.
I don’t know the reasons, but the U.S. share of waters in the reservoirs remains around 75 percent of conservation level—but Mexico’s share dropped by about one-third, from 45 to 30 percent of conservation level. My best guess is that there have been transfers of in-storage waters from Mexico to the U.S. to fulfill the annual requirement.
A strange phenomenon occurred over the Memorial Day Weekend—significant rainfall in most of the Valley. Parts of Cameron County received nearly half the annual average, while Hidalgo County received substantially less. The problem with so much rain at once is that for most of the Valley, anything more than about four or five inches is going to run off into the drainage system, as most soils cannot absorb that volume of water in a short time.
With amounts totaling up to 11 or 12 inches over the weekend, some flooding occurred—mostly in residential areas where the rain that falls on rooftops, driveways, streets and parking lots must go into the drainage system with almost no chance of being absorbed into the soil. Ultimately, municipal runoff feeds into the same drainages as the runoff from fields, orchards and pastures.
The 2006-07 season closed as of May 19, 2007, as the last of the crop went on its way to market. In the end, total fresh utilization was 9.34 million cartons, up 13.79 percent from the prior season.
Breaking it down by types, fresh grapefruit volume exceeded the prior season by nearly 21 percent while the volume of early and midseason oranges exceeded the prior season by just over 27 percent. Valencias were up nearly 81 percent.
Navels were down about 32 percent; export grapefruit was down nearly 74 percent. In essence, navel production was down significantly this season, while export grapefruit returned to near historic levels.
In relation to the original crop estimate back in October, grapefruit exceeded it by 5.70 percent, earlies by 1.59 percent and Valencias by 52.92 percent. In-season revisions to the estimates went the wrong way for grapefruit (down) and earlies (up), as the final figures were 8.95 percent higher for grapefruit and 8.51 percent lower for earlies. The revisions for Valencias were headed in the right direction, but production still exceeded the final estimate by nearly 36 percent.
As a rule, tendencies to alternate bearing suggest lower production of grapefruit, earlies and Valencias in the 2007-08 season. In contrast, the relatively short crop of navels suggests an increased crop in the coming season.
If you are inclined to make guesses about the size of the current crop, have at it. The crop is set, now that the last major fruit drop has occurred. No additional (natural) fruit drops should occur on grapefruit and round oranges.
Navels, however, will experience a couple of additional drops in June-to-July and July-to-August. In addition, navels can also experience significant drop from fruit splitting in the late summer.
For me, I’ll wait until later, as those green berries are just too hard to see among all the green leaves on the tree.
Populations of citrus rust mites are of concern at the moment because they tend to proliferate during the hot, humid weather that we have following the rains. California red scale males should be on the wing, so you can expect to see crawlers before too long.
I was seeing tremendous numbers of whiteflies (no, I don’t know which one, but they weren’t sweet potato and they weren’t cloudy winged—just plain old whitefly) a couple of weeks ago on navel oranges, but I haven’t checked on them since the rains (which hopefully but unlikely drowned them). Dark foliage is great when it is due to good nutrition, not so when it is caused by sooty mold accumulations from the feeding of whitefly, blackfly, psyllid or other sucking insects.
Generally, almost everything you have done in the orchard to this point has been geared toward making and setting a crop—and nothing you do now can make it any bigger. What you do from now on, however, aside from keeping the fruit free of pest damages, is to take care of the tree so that it can better support and mature this crop while preparing for the next one.
Hurricane season started last Friday, but there have already been two named tropical systems. The second one—Barry—went into the Tampa Bay area of Florida and brought some much-needed rainfall to some areas of that drought-stricken state. Peninsular Florida still needs rain, there are still a lot of letters in the alphabet, and the season runs through October.
JULIAN W. SAULS, Ph.D.
Professor & Extension Horticulturist
2401 East Highway 83
Weslaco TX 78596
THE INFORMATION GIVEN HEREIN IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES
ONLY. REFERENCE TO COMMERCIAL PRODUCTS OR TRADE NAMES IS MADE WITH THE
UNDERSTANDING THAT NO DISCRIMINATION IS INTENDED AND NO ENDORSEMENT BY
THE COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE IS IMPLIED.
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