Posts Tagged: citrus
Coachella Valley citrus growers and industry researchers met yesterday to discuss an attack against the Asian citrus psyllid, an insect lethal to citrus crops that has recently been found in California, according to a story in today's Desert Sun.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture announced late last week that a single Asian citrus psyllid was detected in San Diego County, which set in motion a collaborative effort that includes UC Cooperative Extension to protect the state's citrus industry.
Asian citrus psyllid transmits citrus greening disease, which is already endemic in Florida and has wreaked havoc for citrus industries in Asia, India, the Middle East, South and Central America.
According to an article in Western Farm Press, the Citrus Research Board and representatives from the USDA, CDFA, UC and the San Diego County Agricultural Commissioner’s office met with citrus growers and other citrus industry leaders immediately after the psyllid find. They discussed the discovery and the threat it poses, as well as the industry and regulators’ plan of action.
The Citrus Research Board plans another meeting Sept. 25 in San Diego.
The New York Times ran a rather technical article this week about a disease that is sending shivers down the spines of citrus growers in Florida and California - citrus greening. The disease is endemic in Florida. California growers are nervously watching the border with Mexico, where a pest that transmits citrus greening has already been found. That development was covered by the Los Angeles Times in July, as mentioned in this blog post.
This week's article, focused on Florida, included some dire predictions:
On concerns over solving the problem by genetically modifying citrus for resistance, Jude W. Grosser of the University of Florida said, "It’ll probably come down to the point where people have to decide whether they want orange juice or not.”
A Florida grower was quoted as saying, “Scientists have 10 years at the most to find a solution, or there’s not going to be a citrus industry in Florida.”
UC scientists are among those looking for solutions to managing the disease. The article said Abhaya Dandekar of UC Davis is working on an electronic nose to identify volatile organic compounds produced by infected trees.
UC citrus entomologist Beth Grafton-Cardwell also has her finger on the pulse of citrus greening. She is the author of an ANR publication about Asian Citrus Psyllid, which includes a lengthy section on citrus greening.