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Citrus sprayer

During the past few years, Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) populations were running high, with insecticide applications making little difference in curbing overall counts of the pest. It soon became evident that the HLB vector was developing resistance to certain chemicals, and there were little to no beneficial insect populations in most groves to help in the fight.

ACP counts got to the point where some growers decided to cut back their insecticide programs significantly because they didn’t appear to be making a dent in the pest’s presence in groves. It also was not economically feasible for some growers to be making upwards of 12 psyllid control applications per season.

Jim Snively, production manager for Southern Gardens Citrus, says the situation was cause to reevaluate their ACP-control approach. That assessment didn’t call for a significantly reduced application program, but it did call for a change.

The results came back last spring and showed positive for resistance to imidacloprid and some of the organophosphates. Snively says when they got the results of the tests, their ACP populations were as high as they had been in the past two to three years.

What did they do? “I like to say we laid off the hard stuff,” Snively says. “We backed off applying pyrethroids and organophosphates and moved to softer chemistries.”

Frank Giles is editor of Florida Grower

CBD legal? Ag commish Nikki Fried says?A non-euphoric strain of cannabis is being sold in stores across Florida. It’s available as oils, edibles, and even flower. But as questions about the legality of it linger, CBD remains in limbo.

Earlier, State Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried announced Holly Bell as the new Director of Cannabis. During the same announcement, she also discussed the legality of CBD products.

“It’s not legal here right now,” Fried said. “And that’s exactly what I’m hoping the legislation is going to allow.”

Still, the state’s Interim Director of Medical Marijuana, Christine Coppola, says there’s no way to be certain what’s being sold in stores. Currently there is no date on when the framework will be put in place. But Fried said it should happen soon and stores that don’t follow the rules will be shut down.

WFSU

Crop protection alternatives to fumigationOne of the most difficult challenges to orchard renewal is the threat of nematodes and the broader replant disease complex of which nematodes are a big part. It’s often why growers who wish to farm organically establish an orchard using conventional practices and then transition to organic production. Fumigation is believed to be the best way to get an orchard established on a replant site and set young trees on the right track.

“There’s always a replant disease complex, whether you’re talking apples, cherries, or even grapes,” says Tom Forge, research scientist in Applied Soil Ecology and Nematology with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Summerland, BC.

New research out of Forge’s lab is showing promising results from amending soil with compost before replanting trees and adding bark mulch immediately after planting, versus fumigation. Forge is quick to point out the distinct differences in fruit growing in British Columbia versus many places around the U.S., and elsewhere in Canada. With property prices at a premium in the heart of fruit production, many BC fruit growers farm small parcels of land near residential communities.

Forge supposed that if organic amendments were used, they might suppress the nematodes, but they would also improve soil quality in other ways that would promote overall healthier root growth, resulting in trees that can better withstand attacks from nematodes in the soil. His first trials were in raspberries. Poultry manure, fumigation, and compost were compared in raspberry sites.

Christina Herrick

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