Reducing ACP Spread In California

Beth Grafton-Cardwell: Spread of Disease Must Be Prevented

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

Collaborative changes are being made to combat the Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP). Beth Grafton-Cardwell is the director of Lindcove Research and Extension Center near Exeter, as well as a research entomologist with UC Riverside. She recently spoke at the 2019 Citrus Showcase in Visalia as a key speaker on the state of Huanglongbing (HLB) in California, with an overview of how to prevent ACP,—which vectors HLB, a fatal disease to citrus—from moving around the state.

We were trying to communicate why we’ve made the changes we’ve made for the industry that has been a collaborative effort between CDFA, growers, and the university, Grafton-Cardwell said. “We need better ways to prevent psyllids from moving around the state because they might have HLB in their bodies, and we’ve got to prevent the spread of the disease.

beth_grafton-cardwell
Beth Grafton-Cardwell

The Florida citrus industry did not do a great job in containing the Psyllid, and now HLB is rampant in the state’s citrus industry, which has devastated the citrus economy there.

“Florida found that they did not do much to control psyllid movement, and they found that psyllids were moving in bulk citrus bins and retail nursery plants around the state, and within a concise amount of time, they spread the Psyllid and the disease everywhere,” Grafton-Cardwell said. “We’re trying to avoid that. We have 100% tarping of citrus truckloads. We have treatments that have to be done if growers want to move citrus between major zones in California, so that we can prevent that kind of movement.”

Conversations continue about quarantine areas in California to reduce spread.

“There’s been a lot of discussion regarding quarantines because it’s painful for some growers who have low Psyllid numbers to have to treat and to move their fruit to other zones.”

“There’s been a lot of questions. We did a lot of scientific analysis to look at impacts as well as numbers. It’s not just about psyllid numbers; it’s about their impact if growers were to move the disease into a high citrus growing region,” Grafton-Cardwell explained.

Governor Brown Includes $12.5 Million In Budget for HLB Control

HLB Funds To Be Used by the Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Program

News Release

Recognizing the importance of protecting California’s commercial citrus industry and backyard citrus trees, Governor Jerry Brown’s 2018-19 California state budget includes $12.5 million from the general fund dedicated to fighting an incurable citrus disease called Huanglongbing (HLB).

Signed last week, the funds will be used by the Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program (CPDPP), a program primarily funded by California citrus growers and administered by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The CPDPP helps detect and eradicate Huanglongbing in residential areas, suppress Asian citrus psyllid populations, control the movement of the Asian citrus psyllid, enforce regulations, and fund outreach programs to homeowners, industry members and local governments.

While Governor Brown’s commitment to helping fight HLB is a step in the right direction, California citrus is at a crossroads. More than 685 cases of Huanglongbing have been detected in California, with more than 350 detections in 2018 alone, all in urban areas of Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties.

Ventura County ACP Report Less Than Uplifting

Joanne O’Sullivan, a licensed PCA and QAL (Qualified Applicator), and a Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program Grower Liaison in Ventura County, reported TODAY that four new urban settings with 25 or more citrus trees on the property have been discovered in Asian citrus psyllid treatment areas in recent weeks. These four finds are within the same area as the commercial Camarillo find in March.

CDFA deems these orchards also as commercial; therefore, the homeowners are financially responsible for the treatment.

O’Sullivan said, “The first two homeowners I contacted were more than willing to cooperate and take on the financial costs of spraying. They understand it is necessary for the benefit of both their trees and the health of Ventura County’s citrus industry. The third homeowner opted to remove 15 of his trees and CDFA then sprayed the remaining ten. The last and remaining homeowner will take a bit more convincing, but I am confident they will come to see the great benefits of working with us.”

“On a less uplifting note,” O’Sullivan continued, “it has been an unlucky month for Fillmore and Piru producers. Piru has been hit again in the Bardsdale area with two ACP confirmations in the same week. These same growers had completed the ACP psyllid spray protocol in November of last year. It goes without saying that the producers are less than delighted to be repeating treatment again so soon.”

She reiterated a very important element in the ACP/HLB program,
”The goal of the [Ventura County ACP-HLB] Task Force has been to delay as long as possible the introduction of HLB into Ventura County. As a result of the progressive and aggressive work from producers, packers, pest advisors, operators and the CDFA and county trapping programs, Ventura remains one of the most successful ACP/HLB programs in the state.

A critical element of ACP treatment protocol for organic growers is the importance of scouting post-treatment. All blocks must be aggressively monitored following applications, using the sampling protocol that is included in the ACP CONFIRMATION IN YOUR AREA packet.

Current protocol requires organic producers to sample every two weeks after the third treatment. Sampling every two weeks allows the grower to document control. Early detection and swift eradication is our best defensive against the introduction of HLB and its devastating effects on Ventura citrus producers.

Every producer – commercial and organic – should be familiar with the signs of Asian citrus psyllid. Literature on identifying ACP is available at the CRB, UCIPM, UC Cooperative Extension as well as from CDFA. Share it with your workers. If you have any doubts about your ability to identify adults, nymphs, and eggs, please contact me, I am always glad to meet with you on your ranch and help you scout.

In closing, I was forwarded an interesting short news article outlining the economic hit Florida has taken as the result of HLB, with annual production dropping from 1,000,000 boxes of fruit to 750,000. This news story is a not- so-gentle reminder of why it is vitally important that everyone working together in a cooperative spirit can keep Florida’s scenario from happening in California.

Take a look:

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/us-orange-production-hit-disease-041911170.html#rOCRoWr

And let’s all keep up the diligent efforts that help keep Ventura’s citrus industry strong.

 

CPDPP

The California Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program is a grower-funded program administered by the Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Committee, which was established to advise the California Secretary of Agriculture and the agricultural industry about efforts to combat serious pests and diseases that could threaten our state’s citrus industry.

Key responsibilities are:

  • Develop informational programs to educate and train residential owners of citrus fruit, local communities, groups and individuals on the prevention/detection of pests, diseases and their vectors specific to citrus.
  • Develop programs for surveying, detecting, analyzing, and treating citrus pests and diseases.
  • Set box assessment to help pay for citrus pest and disease detection, treatment and educational outreach programs.

Photo Credit: UC ANR News Blog