In 1823, Florida became the first state to plant a commercial citrus grove. The industry and its challenges spread across the southern states of Louisiana, Texas, Arizona and California. Because these areas include many international ports of entry, because of their proximity to international borders and because of their favorable climate, the risk of introduction and establishment of invasive pests and diseases is heightened. In recent years Florida has returned to its status of first in the US: unfortunately Florida has been the first to be hit by many of the potentially disastrous pests facing the citrus industry.
The Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP), carrier of huanglongbing (HLB) (also known as citrus greening disease), was first discovered in Florida in June of 1998. (See previous blog post “An introduction to the Asian Citrus Psyllid” for details on the insect and disease.)The discovered psyllid tested negative for HLB. At that time the industry in Florida was attempting to eradicate another disease, citrus canker. Some people were unhappy with the aggressive battle against citrus canker, however, and in November 2000, an injunction on inspections and eradication was implemented in Broward County, which may be when and where the Florida HLB epidemic began.
In October 2005, HLB was known to exist in two counties. By the time it was discovered, however, the problem was well established. By August 2008, 32 counties were infected.
In late 2005 and early 2006 key citrus stakeholders formed the Citrus Health Response Program (CHRP). This organization’s focus is a holistic approach to protecting the industry: developing and implementing minimum standards for inspection, regulatory oversight, disease management, and education and training. The goals are developed by five sub-working groups:
- Nursery and Budwood Working Group
- Production Practices Working Group
- Packing Working Group
- Processing Working Group
- Harvesting Working Group
- Residential Citrus Working Group
Common themes within CHRP are:
- The need for education and training, research, and a balance of regulatory oversight with industry due diligence
- Flexibility in adjusting to new information
- Requirements that are based on sound science and the principles of plant quarantine
It is important that we in California and other citrus-producing states learn from the hard lessons Florida is experiencing. The ACP has already been found in our state. Although HLB has not yet been detected, our response must also be organized, science-based, and flexible to sustain an important California industry.
UC’s Small Farm Program offers a great deal of science-based information for small farmers. Much can be found on their website.
Once at the UC Small Farm Program page, you will find a lot of information to help your small farm operation. The topics include: specialty crops, food safety, marketing, agritourism and farm management.
In addition to the basic topics the site provides farm operators a quick way to keep track of upcoming events, related news, and more.
It would be difficult to find someone who is not feeling the strain of the current economic changes and uncertainty. While we are lucky to live in an era of easy access to information, another difficulty most of us share is finding a reliable source for financial advice.
The nation-wide Cooperative Extension System has put together a great collection of sound, practical and easy-to-digest financial advice. It can be found at http://www.extension.org/Financial%20Crisis.
The site is nicely broken down in the following way:
- Business related financial information
- Family related financial information
- Farm and Ranch related financial information
- Individual related financial information
- Youth related financial information
In the articles you will find many ways to save money, encouragement, suggestions for planning, and many other things to think about. The youth related financial information reminds those with children that financial worries affect them too, as well as ways for children to be involved in helping the family pull through.
On the same page you will find an “Ask the Experts” section. Here you can read previous sets of questions and answers as well as an opportunity to ask your own question. In addition to learning on a wide variety of financial subjects, the volume and topics in the “Ask the Experts” section will assuredly help remind you that you are not alone if you are currently experiencing financial challenges.
We hear often of exotics pests and invasive species. We know that plants, pests and disease can spread in many ways. We also know new problems arrive regularly – seemingly with increasing speed.
In the Ventura County UCCE office people often show up with samples of soil, plants, and insects. We would like to take this opportunity to remind people that moving these, and related items, across geographical borders (countries, states and counties) often require permits. Permits may even be required when working with government agencies. Not obtaining a permit when required can lead to unpleasant consequences including: regulatory action, fines, or loss of research funding.
To help protect yourself and reduce the spread of exotic and invasive species, please do not move samples across geographical borders without checking if a permit is required. UC ANR Safety Note #146, “Quarantined and Regulated Pest Permit Requirements” can help. It can be found at http://groups.ucanr.org/ehs/files/68310.pdf.
Other UC ANR safety topics can be found at http://groups.ucanr.org/ehs/Safety_Notes/.
Ventura County UCCE Staff Research Associate Maren Mochizuki shares with us how monitoring spore traps in avocado orchards can lead to better understanding and management of disease.
An important component of integrated pest management is frequent monitoring to understand which, if any, pests are present and at what time of year. In collaboration with Akif Eskalen a researcher at UC Riverside, Ben Faber, Ventura County UCCE Farm Advisor and Maren Mochizuki, Ventura County UCCE Staff Research Associate are sampling in three avocado orchards in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties using traps that catch spores, reproductive structures for many disease-causing organisms in avocado such as Dothiorella and Phytophthora
The spore traps consist of glass microscope slides suspended at two heights in the avocado tree canopy. Every two weeks, we remove the slide and replace it with a fresh one; researchers at UC Riverside examine and identify the spores under a microscope. We hope to improve our understanding of the life cycles of these spore-producing organisms for more effective disease management.
Young avocado tree killed by Dothiorella canker,
White, powdery exudates from a Dothiorella canker
Healthy green avocado foliage (right) next to the pale, yellow foliage of a tree with Phytophthora root rot