GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida’s citrus growers say as much as 90 percent of their acreage and 80 percent of their trees are infected by the deadly greening disease, which is making a huge dent in the state’s $10.7 billion citrus industry, a new University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences survey shows.
The survey, conducted in March 2015, shows the first grower-based estimates of both the level of citrus greening in Florida and the impact of greening on citrus operations in Florida.
“Even though the industry acknowledges that greening has reached epidemic proportions across the state, estimates of the level of infection and its impact on citrus operations are scarce,” the researchers wrote in the paper.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Opportunity awaits American and Florida marketers who want to sell 100 percent not from concentrate Florida orange juice in China if they take a cue from American restaurant giants like Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut, a new University of Florida study shows.
Zhifeng Gao, an associate professor of food and resource economics at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, led a study in which researchers surveyed shoppers as they entered grocery stores in four major cities in China: Beijing, Shanghai, Zhengzhou and Shenzhen.
After questioning 1,053 consumers, the researchers found Chinese usually will buy an orange juice drink that is made with only 10 percent real juice. They also found that Chinese consumers know little about the benefits of Western-style juice products, such as their high nutritional value.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida Professor Emeritus William S. “Bill” Castle, who is internationally recognized as the leading authority on rootstocks and work that has shaped the entire Florida citrus industry, will be inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame on March 11.
“Dr. Castle inspired numerous students to become involved in the citrus industry, and many serve in leadership roles today,” said Jack Payne, senior vice president of agriculture at UF. “His impact on the citrus industry and the role he played were vital to the survival of that industry.”
Castle conducted research at the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred for more than 30 years. His research has resulted in improved citrus scions and rootstocks, orchard designs and management of high density plantings, citrus propagation and pre-plant expert systems, windbreak design and establishment, along with pomegranate cultivars and plantings.
Female Oriental fruit fly. Click on image for high-res version. Cutline at bottom.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The lifting of an agricultural quarantine in Miami-Dade County on Feb. 13 signaled victory over the invasive Oriental fruit fly and a return to business as usual for growers within a 99 square-mile area that includes vegetable farms, nurseries, packing houses, residential neighborhoods and much of the state’s commercial tropical fruit acreage.
Officials with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences credit the success story to determination and teamwork by a partnership of growers, landscapers, homeowners, government officials and agency personnel, and UF/IFAS Extension faculty.
“Our personnel played a vital role in bringing the quarantine to a quick ending, by facilitating clear communication between producers and agency personnel,” said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “The good guys won, and we’re proud that we helped make it happen.”
Numerous UF/IFAS Extension faculty took part in a statewide effort known as the Oriental Fruit Fly Eradication Program, or OFF Program, he said. Funded and overseen by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), the OFF Program also included representatives of the FDACS Division of Plant Industry, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection — Plant Protection Quarantine, the Miami-Dade County Agricultural Manager’s office, Miami-Dade County officials and growers’ organizations.
“Our faculty helped growers and regulators understand each other’s point of view,” Payne said. “Both sides were very motivated and once they recognized the need for cooperation, it wasn’t difficult to build consensus on a science-based plan to eradicate the fly.” Continue reading
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences received $6.7 million in funding as part of a $20.1 million grant for research on citrus greening, a disease devastating Florida’s citrus industry.
The United States Department of Agriculture awarded the grants to universities for research and Extension projects to help citrus producers fight citrus greening, also known as huanglongbing or HLB. This funding is available through the Specialty Crop Research Initiative’s Citrus Disease Research and Extension Program, which was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and is administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
“Citrus greening has affected more than 75 percent of Florida citrus crops and threatens production all across the United States,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The research and extension projects funded today bring us one step closer to providing growers real tools to fight this disease, from early detection to creating long-term solutions for the industry, producers and workers.” (more …)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — John Davis, professor and associate director of the School of Forest Resources and Conservation in the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has been named associate dean for UF/IFAS research.
“Dr. Davis is an excellent researcher and teacher, and knows UF/IFAS very well. He has assisted this office for many years in a variety of roles, and understands how to support faculty in this important position,” said Jackie Burns, dean for UF/IFAS research. “We are thrilled to have Dr. Davis join our team.”
Davis earned his Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Genetics / Forestry from Michigan State University in 1989, and joined UF/IFAS after a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Washington. He now specializes in genomics of ecologically important species and their interactions, with a majority research appointment in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation in UF/IFAS.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — International researchers, including ones at the University of Florida and Florida State University, are sharing in a $4 million grant from the United States Department of Agriculture to attack the problem of citrus greening, a disease that has devastated citrus crops in Florida. (more …)
LAKE ALFRED, Fla. — University of Florida horticulture scientist Manjul Dutt is hoping to turn your next margarita on its head by making it a lovely lavender instead of passé pale green. (more …)
LAKE ALFRED, Fla. — When Jude Grosser’s daughter, Melinda, was in elementary school, he would often take her to his laboratory at the University of Florida’s Citrus Research and Education Center, where he works as a researcher on citrus diseases and creating new varieties. In the lab, he let Melinda look at fluorescent proteins from jellyfish, glowing in plant cells under the microscope, and even grow microorganisms in her petri dish handprint. Now, the 26-year-old is set to get her Ph.D. in molecular microbiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the spring and still finds herself working with her dad.
The pair recently co-authored a research paper on new grapefruit cybrids, developed when the nuclear genes from a ”Ruby Red” grapefruit were combined with genes from within a cell’s cytoplasm (the jellylike material that makes up much of a cell) from a “Dancy” mandarin. The change increased the harvest window of the new grapefruits by three months. This resulted in the commercial release of a new UF/IFAS grapefruit cultivar N2-28 ‘Summer Gold Grapefruit’ that can be harvested into August. Melinda was working as an undergraduate Howard Hughes Medical Institute “Science for Life” student in the laboratory of UF Department of Horticultural Sciences Professor Christine Chase in Gainesville for her contribution to the project. (more …)
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LAKE ALFRED, Fla. — In the next three months, Florida citrus growers will have to decide whether to extend for another six years the citrus box tax, the proceeds of which help to pay for citrus greening research at the University of Florida’s Citrus Research and Education Center and other research universities and laboratories.
The Citrus Research and Development Foundation, Inc., Box Tax Advisory Council voted unanimously in June to recommend continuation of the citrus box tax at the current assessment rate of $.03 (3 cents) per harvested box for the last year of the current referendum, fiscal year 2015-16. (more …)