NOVEMBER, 2009       

VOL. 23, NO. 11                                                                             

 

IN THIS ISSUE:

CROP ESTIMATES
SEED QUARANTINE UPDATE
GREENING INFECTION RATE IN FLORIDA
CANKER QUARANTINE LIFTED ON FLORIDA FRESH

PSYLLID IN ARIZONA
FLORIDA ECONOMIC FORECAST
HLB/ZC CONFERENCE

Crop Estimates

The long wait is over and the news is worse than feared.  Florida’s orange crop estimate came in at only 136 million boxes—a 16 plus percent drop from the prior season and even lower than the lowest pre-season estimate. The split was 69 million early/mid and 67 million Valencia.

The overall US orange crop is down nearly 10 percent.  It could have been worse, but California registered an overall gain of over 13 percent over the prior season.

For grapefruit, Florida’s crop is expected to be down 8.8 percent overall, from 21.7 million boxes last year to 19.8 million this year.  Whites declined 12 percent while coloreds dropped just over 7 percent.

Nationally, the total grapefruit crop is expected to be down just over 9 percent, as all states suffered reductions in estimated production as compared to last season.

Putting the Texas estimates into terms used by TVCC for its weekly utilization reports, Texas grapefruit is expected to come in at 10,600 carlot equivalents for the season, as opposed to 11,150 for last season’s final—a shortfall of 4.9 percent.  Early/mids are estimated at 2,500 carlot equivalents compared to last season’s final of 2,579—a shortage of 3.1 percent.  Valencias are estimated at 400 carlot equivalents compared to 319 last season—an increase of 25.4 percent.

Seed Quarantine Update


The original Federal Order involving the prohibition of importation of citrus seeds of January 29, 2008, was recently amended and will become effective November 6, 2009.  Basically, Belice, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Mexico were added to a long list of countries from which citrus seeds may not be imported.  This decision occurred in response to indications that both citrus greening (HLB) and citrus variegated chlorosis (CVC) diseases can be spread via seed, and reflects the fact of the presence of greening in all four of the newly added countries.

Effective October 31, 2009, Texas Department of Agriculture has amended its quarantine regulations to prohibit the importation of citrus seeds from Florida.  This action was taken based on the indication that citrus greening (HLB) can be spread via seed. 

If seed transmission is a valid means of moving greening, why wouldn’t the seeds of grapefruit, oranges or other citrus harvested from greening-infected trees also be at risk of spreading the disease?  As you probably know, an undetermined number of citrus aficionados plant the seeds that they get from supermarket citrus.  With the lifting of the canker quarantine to allow Florida citrus fruits into Texas and California markets, one wonders if there has been any consideration of the possible seed transmission of greening via the seeds in those fruit?

Greening Infection Rate in Florida


In an article published in Citrus Industry (October 2009), Robert Morris, Candice Erick and Mark Estes of IFAS, NASS and DPI, respectively, concluded that the infection rate of citrus greening in Florida orange groves was only 1.6 percent of total orange trees.  This report came about as the result of analyses of surveys returned by about 31 percent of the 3,000 growers to which it was mailed—and represents the situation from September 1, 2007, to August 31, 2008.  According to the authors, the response rate for grapefruit and specialty fruit was too low to permit extrapolation to the state’s total.

According to the data, Florida growers removed 847,208 greening-infected orange trees during that period, and reported another 1,025,024 orange trees that were visibly symptomatic for greening.  Based on nearly 66 million orange trees in Florida groves, that came out to the 1.6 percent infection rate. 

The range of infection, however, was full scale, from individual groves with no infection (mostly in the northern part of the industry) to groves with complete infection (mostly in the Indian River and southern areas).  Unfortunately, grower responses by different production areas were inadequate to compare, so it is to be hoped that they get better response for the 2008-09 year.  If your grove was in the high infection area, the statewide rate of 1.6 percent greening infection would be almost like a bad joke.

Canker Quarantine Lifted on Florida Fresh


It’s official—the USDA has lifted its citrus canker quarantine on fresh fruit movement from Florida to other citrus-producing states, effective October 22.  Elation among Florida’s fresh shippers is obviously quite high. 

Surprisingly, California Citrus Mutual apparently did not weigh in during the public comments period.  Too, it would have been kind of difficult for USDA to ignore research conducted by its own scientists that canker lesions on fruit were unlikely (emphasis mine) to spread the disease.  We just have to hope that the research is correct.

Psyllid in Arizona


On October 15, a single Asian citrus psyllid was discovered on a sticky trap at a residential property in San Luis, AZ.  The site is about half a mile from the border and about one-and-a-half miles from the location of last summer’s detection of ACP in the Mexican state of Sonora.

This represents the first detection in Arizona.  Officials have increased the number of traps and inspections in the immediate vicinity.  The location is some distance away from any commercial orchard.

Economic Forecast


In an article by Kevin Bouffard in The Ledger (10/21/09) concerning the Annual Florida Citrus Outlook of the Florida Department of Citrus, Senior Economist Mark Brown expects Florida orange growers to see juice prices rise to $1.33 per pound solids for early and mids and to $1.46 per pound solids for Valencia juice.  He also expects the lower crop volume to pull down inventory by about 13 percent by the end of the season.

For grapefruit, Mr. Brown expects juice grapefruit to bring $1.04 per pound solids for whites, $1.15 for reds.  Too, he expects inventory to drop about 15 percent over the season. 

That’s good news for Florida growers—and although we in Texas do not grow fruit for juice per se, we usually have more juice fruit, especially grapefruit, than we would like.  Consequently, an increase in the expected prices of grapefruit solids is good news for Texas growers, too.

HLB/ZC Conference


Early registration was extended and that deadline has passed, so if you’re planning on attending, it will cost you $225 now.  It is scheduled for November 16-18 at the McAllen Convention Center.  While some may view this as primarily a researcher-oriented meeting, there is still a lot on the plate that should be of interest to Texas citrus growers.



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.


| Valley Citrus Notes Index | Aggie Horticulture |
 
thp