VOL. 22, NO. 2
IN THIS ISSUE:
MOVEMENT TO YEAR'S END
GREENING/PSYLLID QUARANTINE ACTIONS
SEASON NEARING END?
TEXAS CITRUS FIESTA YOUTH SHOW
Movement to Year’s End—
With a little earlier start to shipping than in the recent past, it would figure that the movement of fruit would be higher at the end of the year than in prior years—and that is the case for the most part. As a generality, the Valley has averaged shipping about 41 percent of its total fresh volume (for the season) by the end of December. Since we don’t really know how much the final volume will be, we’ll not be able to figure that percentage until the season ends.
However, we can compare the volume shipped through the end of December with historical data. In terms of total citrus, shipments are 6.1 percent above the average for the last eight years and 16.5 percent above the average for the last five years.
Grapefruit volume (domestic) is up 7.1 and 21.5 percent over the averages for the last eight and last five years, respectively. Early orange volume is up 33.3 and 38.6 percent over the averages for the last eight and five years, respectively. And that’s the end of the good news—navel orange volume is down 23 and 18 percent in comparison to the averages for the last eight and five years, respectively.
The early start of harvesting combined with a smaller total crop would suggest an earlier finish to this season’s crop.
Greening/Psyllid Quarantine Actions—
Effective January 11, 2008, APHIS has issued a Federal order to expand the citrus greening quarantine to the entire state of Florida. The order also includes the citrus psyllid.
Following surveys by APHIS and the Division of Plant Industry, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which confirmed citrus greening in Lake and Hernando Counties, bringing the total to 30 counties, and the determination that a proposed parallel state quarantine, prepared in response to the original November quarantine order, was not adequate, the Federal quarantine was expanded to the entire state.
The quarantine means that no live host plants or plant parts, except fruit, may be moved interstate from Florida. The only exception to interstate movement is nursery stock for immediate export—and then only with the appropriate permits.
There is the future possibility for allowance for the interstate movement of nursery stock, if it is grown, produced, manufactured, stored, and handled in such a way that prevents any risk of spread of the disease. The science that could lead to standards for such movement is still under evaluation.
The Federal citrus psyllid quarantine now includes all of Florida, Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and 32 counties in Texas.
Season Nearing End?—
I just ran across an article in the Dallas Morning News that stated that the Texas red grapefruit season was nearing its end. Figuring that maybe I pulled a Rip van Winkle and missed February and March, at the very least, I decided to check it out. First, the date/time signal on my cell phone insists that we are still in February.
Second, the writer adapted information from the TexaSweet Citrus Marketing website, but there was nothing on the site to suggest that we are nearing the end of the season. Just goes to iterate that one shouldn’t believe everything that’s printed in the paper.
Texas Citrus Fiesta Youth Show—
Well, the nasty weather really put a damper on this year’s Texas Citrus Fiesta Youth Show, as the number of entries was down substantially from prior years. After all, who wants to muck around in citrus groves when conditions are muddy, drizzly, windy and cold? On top of that, many youth were involved in stock show activities during the week.
In terms of overall fruit quality, it was sadly lacking. Many exhibits had dirt around the button; many others had scale insects present, while still others had a variety of mechanical damages that detracted from appearance and quality.
The existence of dirt and scale insects on the fruit is simply unacceptable—exhibits having either are automatically sifted. That’s the rule, folks, and I quote: Individual Citrus Exhibits, Rule 10.3. Each specimen in the exhibit should be completely clean and free of blemishes, chemical residues, scale insects, sooty mold, dirt or other foreign matter. It is disappointing to sift such entries, especially when it is so easy to use an old toothbrush and/or a wooden match or toothpick to remove scale and dirt from the fruit.
Only one of the four commercial grapefruit varieties (Rio Red) placed first in its category. Only four of the six commercial varieties of oranges achieved a first placing. There were no entries of either Marrs or Navel oranges—both commercial varieties. Placing first in its category is required to compete for Grand and Reserve Champion.
Valencias exhibited by Lora Gonzalez of Veterans Memorial FFA and grown by Shary Orchards was chosen Grand Champion, while Rio Reds exhibited by Rolando Moreno of Veterans Memorial FFA and grown by Shary Orchards was awarded Reserve Champion.
The Sweepstakes Award went to Savanah Anciso of Deep River 4-H. This award is for the most points amassed for entries, based on 5 points for each first place, 3 points for each second place and 1 point for each third place.
A Grower Award is determined on the same basis as the Sweepstakes Award and went to Shary Orchards.
If you are still in need of credits for pesticide applicator license renewal, there is a program scheduled for February 13 in the Hoblitzelle Auditorium at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Weslaco (that’s what you used to know as the A&M Research Center). The program is being put on by Brad Cowan, Hidalgo County Extension Agent, and Enrique Perez, Cameron County Extension Agent, so you can contact either of them if you need more specific information.
Registration commences at 8:00 a.m., with the talks to begin half an hour later. There will be five CEUs, including one on Laws and Regulations and one on IPM—the first of which is always a little hard to come by during normal grower meetings. Participation will cost you $5.00 per CEU, or $25 for the whole program of five CEUs.
Though I will be discussing citrus weed management, I also need the CEUs, so I expect to pay for all five credits. After all, preparing for and actually making a presentation should count at least as much as having to sit in the audience and listen to it.
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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