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Agronomist Update: Planning for 2019 CA Citrus Production

October 24, 2018
This agronomic image shows citrus trees.

Crop insect and disease pressure are problems growers are always going to face, and we want you to be as prepared as possible. At this year’s CAPCA Conference, we brought in our agronomist Garrett Gilcrease to provide insight into the 2018 citrus season.

What are some insects to watch out for, and what kind of threat do they pose?

Thrips were a threat growers saw all season. Groves faced constant pressure, with growers going out 2-3 times to keep clean.

Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) is a massive threat. I see many who look at the problems in FL and then look at CA with a 1:1 ratio. I don’t see it that way. Florida has dealt with this for a long time, but they also have different growing conditions and end uses for their citrus. They are mainly a juice market, so you have the ability to take fruit that may be of poor quality, mix it with fruit of some quality, and maybe come up with a product that is of passable quality. This allows you the flexibility to endure for a long time in comparison to us. They also have a rainy summer when high humidity and rain lessen the demand on the root system, allowing some reprieve. In CA, the summers are hot and long with no rain or increase in humidity to give a break on ET values. So anything that will compromise the root system will have a very large impact, very early on.

How can growers protect their citrus orchards?

Scout. If you see an ACP, report and spray. Spray is the only real guide here, and using ACP effective materials around susceptible timings is the real key to keeping numbers down.

How big of a threat is citrus greening to the CA market?

We in CA are mainly a fresh fruit market. Our fruit has to be perfect inside and out to make it to market. Without that end use flexibility, we have a much shorter timeframe and harder stop at the bottom vs FL. Thus the urgency.

What can growers do to protect crops from citrus greening?

Since the pathogen that causes citrus greening is vectored by ACP, you’ll want to follow the spray recommendations for ACP.

To combat insect pressure, Syngenta recommends the use of insecticides like Minecto® Pro, which offers broad-spectrum control of common citrus fruit pests from petal fall through first cover.

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