Posts Tagged: lemons
Every year growers get together to learn what is being done in the citrus research world that could affect their operations. This June, University of California and the Citrus Research Board are bringing some good talks to three different growing areas. All growers are invited, but RSVPs are appreciated.
Well it came again, the Citrus Tasting at Lindcove Research and Education Center in Lemon Grove near Exeter, close to Visalia and just down the road from Fresno and up from Tulare. They came, growers to see and taste new and old varieties. And then the next day, the general public with oooos and ahhhs to taste the range of flavors we call citrus. Big fruited pummelos and little fruited finger limes. Sweet, sour, not sweet, not sour, dull, and boing!. Growers came on Friday morning and the general public the following Saturday. It was crowded both days.
Citrus is wonderful, everyone knows, but it is also under dire threat of Huanglongbing and the potential destruction of this industry and the trees that are found in many backyards. So in a completely unscientific survey, I asked growers why they were there if their world was about to end. First of all, those who showed up were already optimistic about the future, so there was already a self-selection. But, growers felt like a solution would be found, science would find an answer. Driving across the Valley and through coastal counties like Ventura there are lots of new plantings......if there's water. But it's surprising how confident growers are about finding a solution. There are some hopeful signs out there like the new rootstock release from USDA of US-1516 which shows a lot of tolerance to the disease. Then there is the potential of disease tolerance in a citrus produced in Florida from a collaboration of Southern Gardens, USDA and a consortium of Universities. Yes, there is hope, but years are still needed to test and gear up for production for commercial applications.
So it was good to be around growers who have an enthusiasm for the future and looking for new planting varieites.
And they are both grapefruit, one is Melogold the one on right is Oro Blanco
Buddha's Hand citron
The Citrus Display at Lindcove Research and Extension Center, before the crowds
On Aug. 30, Ventura County's citrus growers, pest-control advisers (PCAs) and pest-control operators (PCOs) embarked on the most ambitious program of Asian citrus psyllid suppression in commercial groves ever undertaken in California. The program involves coordinated pesticide treatments across more than 15,000 acres of citrus in the Santa Clara, Las Posas and Santa Rosa valleys. Hundreds of growers, PCAs, PCOs, grove managers and packinghouse field staff — aided by our county's two grower liaisons and the local ACP-HLB Task Force — are working together to pull it off.
This is the second cycle of area-wide management (AWM) treatments in Ventura County. The first was carried out from January through March in the east end of the Santa Clara River Valley. It involved eight of the county's 49 psyllid management areas PMAs and achieved good compliance, with 87 percent of the total acreage being treated (the rate within individual PMAs ranged from 80 percent to 93 percent).
The current cycle, however, involves 36 PMAs, vastly increasing the program's complexity. It also increases the workload for our PCAs and PCOs, and amplifies the consequences of any disruption in the timetable, which requires that all the citrus in each PMA be treated within a narrow two-week window.
And disruptions are precisely what the program has encountered. The extended periods of extreme heat that have cooked the county over the past two months have idled equipment and crews. At the same time, explosions of other pests — particularly broad mite, flaring under the unusually tropical conditions — have diverted resources to non-ACP treatments to avoid immediate economic harm from damaged fruit.
It remains to be seen whether the crews will be able to get back on track, and finish the fall AWM cycle by the end of November as planned. There is also the chance the applicator crews will encounter further delays, either in the form of extreme heat, Santa Ana winds or early rains associated with the strengthening El Niño condition in the Pacific.
As I have reminded members of Ventura county's citrus community numerous times since we began planning the transition to AWM, our program at this stage is a huge experiment with statewide ramifications.
We can't really draw lessons from areas outside California that are attempting area-wide suppression efforts (Texas and Florida) because their circumstances are so different. We have different weather and topography, for one thing. And Florida in particular did not even try to control ACP until most of the state was also infected with Huanglongbing (HLB) disease, so their program has struggled from the start. Our landscape is also quite different, with none of the giant citrus plantations of Florida and a much more complex pattern of intermingled smaller orchards and urban development than anything seen there or in Texas.
We also have little in common with the few other areas in California that are trying to implement AWM (mainly portions of Imperial and San Diego counties) because we have far more acreage and a much greater number of growers. Eventually, the San Joaquin Valley will find itself implementing AWM, at which point California will finally have an AWM program exceeding ours in scale. The very slow pace of ACP detections there, however, suggests that day is still well in the future.
For now, we have to figure out what works — and what doesn't — on our own. Trying to craft policies and protocols while also attempting to implement them is a bit like trying to build a race car while speeding down the track at 200 mph, but we have no other choice. Think of it as “adaptive management” on steroids.
There have been some very productive discussions among members of the Ventura County ACP-HLB Task Force and our hard-working PCA/PCO community, identifying data needs, logistical constraints and strategy options so we can continuously refine and improve the program. One of our chief challenges is adjusting for our equipment and spray crew limitations while still achieving effective ACP suppression, even when the weather and other pests refuse to cooperate.
One piece of very good news that has emerged at the midpoint of our fall AWM cycle is that the California Department of Food and Agriculture has been conducting timely treatments in urban yards within 400 meters of commercial citrus in each PMA. That did not happen last winter, and the result was swift re-infestation of commercial groves from ACP populations in neighboring landscape plants. At our request, and to CDFA's credit, the agency changed its policy and is no longer waiting to determine the level of grower participation before commencing those treatments.
Countering that, however, are scattered reports of growers refusing to participate — some even going so far as to switch packinghouses in order to avoid the policy instituted by responsible houses to suspend picking and packing fruit from an orchard during the PMA treatment window until the treatment has been conducted.
Evading the treatment requirement is irresponsible and fatally short-sighted. We know for a fact that HLB is less than 50 miles from us, and we also know for a fact that ACP from areas to the south — potentially even infected psyllids — is being transported into Ventura County in loads of bulk citrus. Just recently, a psyllid that tested “inconclusive” for HLB — neither positive nor negative — was collected in Piru. It may be a false alarm, and additional testing of psyllids at the same site will be conducted, but when clusters of such ACP have been found in the past, they have indicated locations where trees soon test positive for the disease.
Holdouts in the Ventura County citrus community must stop thinking of the ACP campaign as a battle against a bug, like so many other battles the industry has fought and won in the past. It is not. Ventura County citrus has never before confronted a tree-killing, insect-vectored disease epidemic, and the tools and strategies of conventional pest management will not stop or control it.
Save the date
To help Ventura County's citrus community better understand the nature of the epidemic — and the bitter lessons from Florida's failure to address it proactively — Farm Bureau and the ACP-HLB Task Force will host a workshop on Dec. 2. As speakers, we've invited three experts whose presentations were among the most compelling at last February's International Research Conference on HLB in Florida:
- Mike Irey, director of research and business development for Southern Gardens Citrus (which farms nearly 15,000 acres of oranges in Florida), who will speak about conditions in his state and provide an industry perspective on what it's like to live with HLB for a decade;
- Dr. David Bartels, an entomologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Mission Laboratory in Texas, who will discuss his analysis of HLB survey data and what it can tell us about possible HLB infection sites throughout Southern California;
- Dr. Neil McRoberts, an epidemiologist and associate professor of plant pathology atUC Davis, whose computer modeling and research into the economic and social factors affecting disease spread can help guide development of an HLB management strategy for California.
The workshop will be from 1 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 2, at the Museum of Ventura County, 100 E. Main St., Ventura. It's free, but RSVPs are required. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (805) 289-0155 if you plan to attend.
— John Krist is chief executive officer of the Farm Bureau of Ventura County. Contact him at email@example.com.
Each analysis is based upon a hypothetical farm operation using practices common to the region. Input and reviews were provided by growers, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisors and other agricultural associates. The authors describe the assumptions used to identify current costs for individual crops, material inputs and cash and non-cash overhead. A ranging analysis table shows profits over a range of prices and yields. Other tables show the monthly cash costs, the costs and returns per acre, hourly equipment costs, and the whole farm annual equipment, investment and business overhead costs.
The studies for establishing orchards to produce lemons and oranges estimate costs for growing in Kern and Tulare counties. Revenue for the citrus is based on estimated sales to the fresh packaging market.
The study for organic strawberries takes into consideration growing conditions on the Central Coast of California and complying with the National Organic Program. In particular, it focuses on growing organic strawberries in Santa Cruz and San Benito counties for the fresh packaging market.
The study for producing paddy rice in the Sacramento Valley focuses on the costs of growing medium-grain rice, under a rice-only rotation in Butte, Colusa, Glenn and Yolo counties.
The field corn study focuses on the production costs of a full-season corn crop in the Sacramento Valley and the northern San Joaquin Valley. This region would include Colusa, Glenn, Sacramento, Sutter and Yolo counties. The study based costs on a farm using furrow irrigation and Roundup Ready-GMO seed.
The study on silage corn, double cropped under conservation tillage methods, focuses on production costs of corn silage using minimum tillage operations in the northern San Joaquin Valley. The corn is planted in the spring after a winter forage crop is harvested. The study is based its costs on a farm using border/flood irrigation and Roundup Ready-GMO seed.
- “Sample Costs to Establish an Orchard and Produce Lemons in the San Joaquin Valley-South-2015”
- “Sample Costs to Establish an Orchard and Produce Oranges in the San Joaquin Valley-South-2015”
- “Sample Costs to Produce Organic Strawberries in the Central Coast Region-2014”
- “Sample Costs to Produce Rice in the Sacramento Valley-2015”
- “Sample Costs to Produce Field Corn in the Sacramento Valley and Northern San Joaquin Valley-2015”
- “Sample Costs to Produce Silage Corn-Conservation Tillage Practices in the Northern San Joaquin Valley-2015”
These cost-of-production studies can be downloaded for free from the UC Davis Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics website http://coststudies.ucdavis.edu. Sample costs are also available for many other commodities. Many earlier production cost studies for agricultural commodities are also available at http://coststudies.ucdavis.edu/archived.php.
For additional information or an explanation of the calculations used in the studies, contact Don Stewart, staff research associate in the Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics at UC Davis at (530) 752-4651, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bob Hill, a local Ventura PCA, saw an interesting mite he had never seen before and asked if I could id it. Well, I sent it in to Mark Hoddle and UCR and he turned it over to his student Ricky Lara to id it. And this is what he says:
I started finding this type of mite infrequently in 2011, when I was sampling foliage in avocado orchards. Although seldom seen, they have a wide geographic distribution on avocado. I found them in Cambria (SLO), Santa Rosa Valley (Ventura County) and Irvine (Orange County). At the time I narrowed down the mite family to Winterschmidtiidae. I have to double check, but I believe their feeding habit is listed as fungivorous (The Manual of Acarology). They might feed directly on plant material too (no fungus on the avocado leaves I sampled) but no one has really studied them. I tried rearing them in the lab (without other mites as a food source, only pollen) but the colony only lasted for a couple of months. On avocado I have seen these mites at the leaf-vein junctions. This probably provides a natural home ("domatia") for them as it does for other mites (e.g. phytoseiids, tydeids, stigmaeids). On lemons, the calyx structure probably serves the same ecological function for these mites.
The tydeid mites are what I call the "tidy mites" since their basic function is to run around and clean up leaves, although there are some predatory and scavenging members of the family This little guy is just one of the many tidy mites found out there and its recent appearance is just a reflection of the weather/climate we have this time.
The red circled mite is the one we are talking about here. The structures next to it are some egg cases of another animal. The red dots are called opisthonotal glands which produce pheromones, the purpose of which is not clear.