|IN THIS ISSUE:
VALLEY CITRUS DAY
This annual program conducted through the Citrus IPM Committee will be held on Thursday, December 14, in the auditorium at Rio Farms. Registration commences at 7:30 am, with the program starting at 8:30 and running through lunch. Three CEU's will be available-one in Laws & Regs, one in IPM and one in Other.
A number of topics of interest to the industry are scheduled, including a summary of irrigation water use numbers for citrus, cane and other crops. These are actual metered volumes of water used during the entire year. An update on the Phytophthora/Diaprepes situation and the IPM program will be offered. In addition to a discourse on pesticide law, there is a discussion on "transgenics" in pest management. The closing highlight of the session will be a discussion of the weather by Richard Hagan of the National Weather Service in Brownsville.
For additional details, check with Dr. Juan Anciso at 956/383-1026.
INTERNATIONAL CITRUS CONGRESS-
This program sponsored by the International Society of Citriculture occurs in a major citrus area every four (usually) years. It is being held in Orlando, FL, next week, in conjunction with the Florida State Horticultural Society. Several scientists from the Citrus Center will be attending, Dr. John da Graca among them. John is presenting a very nice poster that we developed concerning the Texas citrus industry.
TEXAS CITRUS FIESTA-
Another program in late January, you may take note of the fact that the Citrus Fiesta Youth Show is almost all digital now, as I have successfully posted the Rules and Regulations (less the actual dates), the Mark Carpenter Scholarship Application form, plus images of 42 of the 50 listed varieties. In addition, I'm still working to post a slideshow that will show the (numbered) images in random order for student use is self-testing their variety identification skills. Actually, I have done the slideshow, I just haven't succeeded in posting it yet-but I have some help working on it.
Check it out at http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/citrus/fiesta/ fiesta.htm. The images are not the greatest, but I plan to replace them after next month's event, using a much higher resolution camera.
RIO GRANDE VALLEY HORTICULTURE INSTITUTE-
While this program is not until January 23, the officers and directors have already been working on the program. We are changing the format from three separate and concurrent sessions in commercial horticulture to a single combined effort. Too, there will be a home horticulture program in the evening.
Tentatively, we anticipate having a presentation on the West Indian fruit fly situation, since the Institute program will occur a week or two before the hoped-for lifting of the quarantine currently in effect in the area where the fly was discovered. In a related vein, irradiation as a quarantine treatment will also be discussed. Other topics are still being developed at this time.
According to an article in the Packer excepted by ultimatecitrus.com newsletter, Rio Queen Citrus of Mission recently acquired Interstate Fruit of Donna, thereby increasing their pack to around 4.4 million cartons of Texas citrus. If that doesn't impress you, consider that the total Texas pack is around 10 million cartons. Essentially, the two houses are expected to maintain their own respective identities, while complementing fruit availabilities between them.
Florida has received an Emergency Section 18 registration for the use of Capture 2 EC (FMC) in an overall pest management program to control Diaprepes root weevil. When applied to barren, moist soil beneath the tree canopy through a herbicide boom, Capture 2 EC binds to soil particles (and organic matter), providing a residual barrier that lasts four to eight weeks. Reported control is 80 to 100 percent of the newly hatched larvae that drop to the ground and try to enter the soil.
The product also is highly effective against the imported fire ant, which is a known predator of Diaprepes larvae. Further tests have demonstrated that this effect is temporary and also allows native predator ants to re-establish, thereby maintaining larval predation.
OPINION ON DIAPREPES IN TEXAS-
Diaprepes has been identified in Texas, but the extent of its occurrence is not yet known. Hopefully, that will be determined in the next few months as the result of trapping efforts by Dr. Vic French, APHIS, and others. What should the industry do about this pest, bearing in mind the tremendous damage and loss potential that it can inflict on citrus trees?
Florida growers have had to learn to live with it over the last three or so decades, while also incurring substantial additional costs for pesticidal control efforts that, to date, have not been so successful as hoped. Indeed, most believe that Diaprepes will ultimately spread to all citrus production areas in Florida, despite decades of trying to control the beast.
So, back to the question of what we should do. If the results of trapping indicate that Diaprepes is limited to only one or two fairly small areas, I submit that the Texas industry should be prepared to attempt an all-out eradication effort, utilizing all of the strategies and materials which have been developed in Florida. This would necessitate planning now for emergency registration of Capture 2 EC and any other materials (that may not be currently registered in Texas) that are used to control adults, eggs and larvae. The burden for attempted eradication should be borne by the industry and state and federal regulatory agencies, rather than by individual growers.
On the other hand, if the weevil is sufficiently established and widespread across the Valley, eradication may not be a viable option-in which case, Texas growers may just have to learn to live with it. I certainly hope that is not the case, but we will have to wait on the results of trapping.
A NEW MILLENNIUM-FINALLY-
Just as our forebears did in 1900, 1800 and prior ages, I am prepared to celebrate the final month of the century and welcome the start of a new century next month. Unlike our forebears, we also celebrate the end of the second millennium and the start of the third.
Yes, I know that most of the country celebrated a year ago-and that the doomsday predictors still haven't figured out why the world didn't end. But, the truth of the matter is that this month, this year, this century and this millennium will all end at midnight on December 31, 2000-and that's that. Happy New everything!
Whenever one provides a phone interview for the print media, sooner or later there will be misquotes or misinformation in the finished article. Such was my experience this week with the Crop Report article which The Monitor carried on Thursday (11/30/00-p. 9c). If you read it and wondered about it, about nine inches of space had about six errors in it.
First, we didn't "miss the market window", as there was no window to miss this season. "Carlots" should have read "cartons"-i.e., about 17 million cartons of fruit estimated for the total crop. Instead of saying that the oranges "will go bad" before February, what I said was that keeping quality of early oranges decreases as the season progresses that far.
I have no idea where the statements originated about oranges going to "juice manufacturers" after December, the statement about Marrs and Navel quality for juice, nor that about other options of "(juice) manufacturers". I do wish I could remember the name of the person who called me for the interview, as she will certainly have to be more careful with her notes and with interjecting inaccuracies into statements either attributed to me or implied to have been said by me.
Water supplies increased substantially during October, rising from about 32 percent to 40.51 percent of conservation levels as of December 1. At least the supply is nearing that which we had at the start of this year.
Rainfall in the Valley has been very limited, both in amount and in location. Few fields or orchards would be considered to have ample soil moisture unless they were recently irrigated.
Fruit movement to market is still sluggish, running as much as 20 percent behind last season. While the orange situation has been problematic all season, even grapefruit volume has dropped below last season's levels. Both fruit color and quality are excellent, so hopefully this situation will turn around soon.
Some orchards that were experiencing moisture stress have begun to "fire", i.e. the newest flush of leaves is drying up and falling. Initially, the petiole wing remains attached to the twig for some time after the blade abscises. For the most part, the problem is moisture deficit, not-fully matured leaves and very low humidity which accompanied a couple of recent frontal systems. Texas citrus mite is also a contributing factor in many cases.
JULIAN W. SAULS, Ph.D.
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