Huanglongbing Top Importance in Citrus

Huanglongbing Disease in Citrus is Top Problem

By Patrick Cavanaugh Farm News Director

Gary Schulz, President of the Citrus Research Board in Visalia, said the pest pressure in citrus comes down to three problems.

“You know, there’s three really. There’s Huanglongbing, Huanglongbing, and Huanglongbing, (HLB)” Schulz said at the recent California Citrus Conference in Visalia. “When I moved to California in 1990, I had an old-timer that was on my board. He said, ‘You know, in California, we have three major challenges: water, water, and water.’ Well, in the citrus research for pests and diseases, it’s really Huanglongbing.”

Gary Schulz

“If we’re talking about red scale or Phytophthora or lemon fruit drop, those are important challenges, but if HLB begins infecting our commercial groves and spreads as rapidly as it can without our attention and treatment or tree removal, the rest are moot,” Schulz said.

He discussed his hope for the future of the California citrus industry.

“I hope that in five years, we’ve solved HLB. That’s my personal goal. Somebody’s got to put the stake in the ground and put a date out there,” he noted.

Schulz said that Citrus Research Board has got a number of research programs that are all working side by side to find that solution, turn that key, and make that happen.

“It may be more than just one solution. We have a researcher at Washington State University in Pullman for example. They’ve earned a research grant from the USDA because of the creativity in putting their work team together and the fact that they bring a whole new fresh approach and fresh thought process to how to culture the bacteria that causes HLB disease. That’s huge in the science community and has never been done before,” Schulz said.

For more information go to http://citrusresearch.org/

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Huanglongbing is causing concern in California

Increase of Huanglongbing in California Causes Concern

 By Brian German, Associate Broadcaster

Southern California has seen a concerning increase in the amount of trees that are infected with Huanglongbing, or citrus greening disease. California Ag Today discussed the news with Beth Grafton-Cardwell, an IPM Specialist and Research Entomologist for the UC Riverside Entomology Department stationed in the San Joaquin Valley.  She agreed that there is an increased concern surrounding HLB.

“It kind of exploded this fall, and it’s kind of continuing. And, that’s not unexpected. The Department of Food and Ag removes only the trees that are polymerase chain reaction – positive. And sometimes, it takes one to two years for a tree for you to be able to detect the bacteria using that method,” Grafton-Cardwell said.

Beth Grafton-Cardwell

There is no cure currently available for HLB, so once a tree is infected, it will eventually die.  Researchers continue working to find a possible cure for HLB, or at the very least, a more effective means of diagnosing infected trees. “Most of the techniques that are going to help us cure or prevent the disease from being transmitted are five to ten years away. Yet, I think we’re going to see a rapid expansion of the disease in Southern California in this coming year,” Grafton-Cardwell said.

Early detection is one of the most important things.  Grafton-Cardwell noted that many farmers are “helping to get the research accomplished and, for example, helping to get early detection techniques tested, and things like that so that we can try and stay on top of the disease.”

In California, production trees are not required to be screened, but many nurseries are now shifting towards putting all of their trees under screening in an effort to be more proactive in guarding against the spread of HLB.

Biological controls like Tamarixia are used as a means to reduce the number Asian citrus psyllids, which cause HLB, but that type of control method is not designed to completely eradicate insects.

“They’re starting to release the Tamarixia Wasps in Bakersfield. So we’re getting them up into the San Joaquin Valley so they can help out in those urban areas,” Grafton-Cardwell said.

Dogs are also used as a means to detect infected trees, but there is still a need for more effective techniques.  “A large team of dogs can do maybe 1,000 acres a day, and we’ve got 300,000 acres of commercial citrus. So I think we need a multitude of techniques,” Grafton-Cardwell said.

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Citrus Referendum Coming Up

Citrus Growers to Vote on Referendum

News Release from Citrus Research Board

California citrus growers soon will receive a critical citrus referendum ballot from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) asking them to vote on continuing the work of the Citrus Research Board (CRB) for the next five years.

The grower-funded and grower-directed CRB was chartered nearly 50 years ago to enable California citrus growers to sponsor and support needed research that industry members otherwise would be unable to individually fund or access on their own. The Board’s mission is to ensure a sustainable California citrus industry for the benefit of growers by prioritizing, investing in and promoting sound science.

Some key areas funded include general production research, a variety improvement research program, a quality assurance program on agricultural chemical residues, and pest and disease control activities. Currently, disease control is crucially important.

The California citrus industry is now in the fight of its life to prevent the spread of the devastating disease huanglongbing (HLB) from California’s orchards.

HLB already has decimated most other major citrus growing regions, including Florida.

In California, HLB so far only has been found in 40 residential trees in Los Angeles; however, unless researchers are able to find a solution, HLB could gain a foothold in the state’s commercial groves. Currently, the CRB is dedicating its primary research efforts to controlling the spread of HLB and eradicating the disease. The Board is beginning to see some promising results; but without the CRB, much valuable research will go unfunded.

“We urge all citrus growers to vote when they receive their ballots from the CDFA,” CRB President Gary Schulz said. “Citrus is important to our state’s economy, employment, health and positive identity. We are proud to proactively protect and sustain the world’s largest fresh citrus market. The work that our researchers are conducting is vital to sustaining the California citrus industry and ensuring its continued success.”

The CRB administers the California Citrus Research Program, the grower funded and grower-directed program established in 1968 under the California Marketing Act as the mechanism enabling the State’s citrus producers to sponsor and support needed research. More information about the Citrus Research Board may be found at www.citrusresearch.org.

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HLB Detected Again in San Gabriel

46 HLB Positive Trees in California

News Release from Citrus Insider

CDFA routinely conducts HLB surveys throughout the state based on a risk model that considers factors that may make an area more likely to have a presence of the disease. CDFA has further fine-tuned this approach by increasing the number of samples pulled from citrus trees that are considered high risk. This strategic approach – developed by the CDFA lead diagnostician with input from the Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program and leading scientific researchers – has helped pinpoint infected trees.

State and local crews are building relationships with residents in the area, which not only helps gain access to properties, but also results in swift removal of trees identified as having HLB. While removal of diseased trees is mandatory, positive homeowner relationships encourage cooperation. Of the eight trees recently detected, seven have already been removed or been scheduled for removal by CDFA. Crews are contacting the property owner of the remaining citrus tree Tuesday, March 28, and will pursue quick removal.

In 2016, CDFA collected nearly 50,000 plant samples and nearly 80,000 Asian citrus psyllid samples to test for HLB. Since sample collection began in 2008, more than 400,000 plant and psyllid samples have been collected and processed. This diligent work has contributed to quick detection and eradication of diseased trees.

As a part of the Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program, CDFA will continue surveying and sampling the area for HLB and keep the industry abreast of finds as they occur.

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Trump Election May Help California Agriculture

President-Elect Trump May Help Make California Agriculture Great Again!

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

The election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States may prove very significant for California. He and his future administration may be able to make sense of the devastating water deliveries diverted from California farms to protect fish species that may already have become extinct, in order to comply with the Endangered Species Act.

Joel Nelsen, president, California Citrus Mutual and a leader in California agriculture, is encouraged by the election results. “You know, the Donald Trump election was a bit of a surprise to me. You can always hope, but the numbers did not look that good. Now that he is our president-elect, I think we can be somewhat optimistic about the next Congress and this next administration,” Nelsen said.

Joel Nelsen, president, California Citrus Mutual.
Joel Nelsen, president, California Citrus Mutual.

Nelsen said the optimism is going to be on several fronts. “One, I think we have an opportunity now to move water legislation that contains real storage and creates water for a bigger population in California,” he said.

“We also have an opportunity to slow down a rogue agency—which I would call Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—and their activity specific to crop protection tools. We can get an effort going to modernize the Endangered Species Act. Nobody wants to eliminate species, but let’s face it, when that was first signed and passed, it was two generations ago. I think we need to take another look at that,” he said.

Nelsen noted there are some opportunities on the horizon. He hopes the upcoming Congress and new presidential administration will generate some positive activity for the California agriculture industry .

Nelsen and other California ag leaders will soon return to Washington to make sure things are getting done. “A couple of us are going back next week for the lame-duck session because we are hoping Congress will pass a budget that will fund the Asian Citrus Psyllid and Huanlongbing program,” he said. “There is no money for it in the USDA budget. As a result, the support at the federal level is less than what it could be or should be.”

“Because the current administration is going to be in office until January 19, 2017, the activists have until then to get things moving in a direction that cannot be stopped from their perspective. I don’t think these next two months will necessarily be quiet.”

“We must have a mindset that others will attempt to do what they think cannot be done. It will be up to many of us in leadership positions to ensure that there’s still a balanced approach with this administration before the next one comes in,” Nelsen said.

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Patience: How Homeowners Can Help ACP Detection

Authorities Need to Monitor ACP Detection, Confronted With Impatient Homeowners

by Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm Director

44111-CCM-Web_Headshot_Joel-Nelsen
Joel Nelsen, President of California Citrus Mutual

Joel Nelsen, the president of the Exeter-based California Citrus Mutual noted that most homeowners do not realize how intensive it is for authorities to monitor traps for the Asian Citrus psyllid (ACP) at their homes.

“Most people don’t realize how intrusive this process is,” said Nelsen. “You’ve got a member of the County Ag Commissioner’s office driving down a street. He sees a citrus tree in a front yard, or he can see it’s tall enough in the back. He knocks on the door. The homeowner’s not home, so he has to come back.”

“Later, he comes back to the home and again, knocks on the door and finds that the homeowner is home. He says, ‘Can I put a trap out here to find out if you’ve got the Asian citrus psyllid?’ The homeowner hopefully says, ‘Yes.’ He comes back in two weeks. He looks at the trap. There’s no ACP. He comes back two weeks later, and if the homeowner is home, he looks at the trap,” Nelsen explained.

“It’s a constant bother to that homeowner,” Nelsen said. “Eventually, they find more than one ACP. Then the inspector says: ‘Can I spray a crop protection material on your tree and kill the Asian citrus psyllid?’”

“Hopefully the homeowner says, ‘Yes,’” said Nelsen.

CCMLogoNelsen noted that the inspector visited five times already within a two month period, and now he needs to do inspect elsewhere, so having that homeowner be amenable to that much intrusiveness is a significant goal.

Nelsen noted, “The consumer education program that forms the partnership between us and them, from our perspective, is vitally important so the consumers understand what Huanglongbing (HLB)—the fatal citrus disease carried by ACP—is”.

“Then when you find Huanglongbing (HLB),” said Nelsen, “and hopefully it’s very minimal, that homeowner is more likely to agree that the tree must be removed. Fortunately, everybody has said: ‘Yes.’”

 

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USDA Funds $30M to Fight Citrus Greening

USDA Targets Citrus Greening with Promising Tools and Long Term Solutions

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $30 million in funding TODAY for 22 projects to help citrus producers combat Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening, a devastating citrus disease that threatens U.S. citrus production. The money will fund promising projects that could offer near-term solutions as well as research funding that may develop long-terms solutions. The promising near-term tools and solutions are funded through the HLB Multiagency Coordination Group while the research projects are funded through the Specialty Crop Research Initiative Citrus Disease Research and Education (CDRE) program, which is made available through the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill).

“Our HLB Multi-Agency Coordination Group has worked closely with the citrus industry to select and fund projects that we think will make a real difference for growers against HLB,” said Vilsack. “Funding these projects through cooperative agreements puts us one step closer to putting real tools to fight this disease into the hands of citrus growers.” Vilsack continued, “Through the CDRE research we are announcing today, we are also investing in long-term solutions to diseases that threaten the long-term survival of the citrus industry.”

USDA’s HLB Multi-Agency Coordination Group funded fifteen projects that support thermotherapy, best management practices, early detection, and pest control efforts for a total of more than $7 million. All of them are designed to provide near-term tools and solutions to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $30 million in funding TODAY for 22 projects to help citrus producers combat Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening, a devastating citrus disease that threatens U.S. citrus production.  the citrus industry fight HLB. The projects include:

Two projects to provide improved delivery of thermotherapy to HLB infected trees, a promising treatment that has shown to help infected trees regain productivity after treatment. One of these projects will test thermotherapy on a grove-wide scale. since studies have shown heating a tree to 120 degrees for approximately 48 hours can kill the HLB bacterium in the upper part of the tree, allowing the tree to regain productivity. This funding will address the challenge of identifying a quick and practical way for growers to use the technology on a large scale.  

Six projects to provide citrus producers with best management practices in Florida citrus groves.

  • One project will focus on lowering the pH of the irrigation water and soil to strengthen the root systems of citrus trees to help them better tolerate HLB infection.
  • Three projects will support different combinations of integrated management approaches for sustaining production in trees in different stages of infection.
  • Two projects will test strategies for preventing tree death due to HLB infection. One of those will field test rootstocks that have shown ability to tolerate HLB infection. The other will use technologies to rapidly propagate the tolerant material for field use by the industry.

Three projects to increase early detection of HLB.

  • One project will train dogs to detect HLB infected trees. Detector dogs have proven to be highly adept at detecting citrus canker and early results suggest they will be an effective early detection tool for HLB.
  • One project will develop a root sampling and testing strategy.
  • One project will compare several promising early detection tests.

Four projects to provide tools to kill the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), the vector of HLB.

  • One will produce and release the insect Diaphorencyrtus aligarhensis as a second biological control agent in California.
  • One project will use a biocontrol fungus to kill ACP adults.
  • One project will use a trap to attract and kill ACP adults.
  • One project will increase the use of field cages for the production of the insect Tamarixia radiata in residential areas, especially those that are adjacent to commercial groves in Texas. Tamarixia has already proven to be an effective biological control agent for ACP. Using field cages will enable the wider use of this effective ACP control.

In addition to these projects, USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture funded more than $23 million dollars for research and education project to find lasting solutions to citrus greening disease. Examples of funded projects include developing HLB-resistant citrus cultivars, the development of field detection system for HLB, using heat as a treatment for prolonging productivity in infected citrus trees, creating a new antimicrobial treatment, among others. A fact sheet with a complete list of awardees and project descriptions is available on the USDA website.

Fiscal year 2014 grants have been awarded to two California universities, University of California, Davis, $4.6M and University of California, Riverside, $1.7M. The University of Florida, Gainesville and Kansas State University, Manhattan, are also receiving research awards.

CDRE is a supplement to the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI). The focus of this year’s funding was specifically on citrus greening disease. Because there are wide differences in the occurrence and progression of HLB among the states, there were regional as well as national priorities for CDRE. These priorities, recommended by the Citrus Disease Subcommittee, fall within four categories: 1) priorities that deal with the pathogen; 2) those that deal with the insect vector; 3) those that deal with citrus orchard production systems; and 4) those that deal with non-agricultural citrus tree owners.

One subcommittee member is Justin D. Brown, Vice President and General Manager, D Bar J Orchards, Inc. in Orange Grove, California.

The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

USDA NIFA Citrus Greening Awardees Fact Sheet
USDA NIFA Citrus Greening Awardees Fact Sheet

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ACP Quarantine Expands in Santa Clara County

ACP Quarantine Adds Another 61 Square Miles to the North

Announced TODAY, the Asian citrus psyllid or ACP Quarantine has expanded to include an additional portion of Santa Clara County following the detection of multiple psyllids in and around the City of San Jose.

The quarantine expansion adds 61 square miles to the north, bringing the total quarantine area to 160 square miles. A map is available online at: www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/go/acp-quarantine. Residents with backyard citrus trees in the quarantine area are asked not to transport or send citrus fruit or leaves, potted citrus trees, or curry leaves from the quarantine area.

In addition to quarantines in portions of Santa Clara, Fresno, Kern, San Joaquin, and San Luis Obispo counties, ACP entire-county quarantines remain in place in Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Ventura counties.

The ACP is an invasive species of grave concern because it can carry the disease huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening. All citrus and closely related species, such as curry trees, are susceptible hosts for both the insect and the disease. There is no cure once a tree becomes infected, the diseased tree will decline in health and produce bitter, misshaped fruit until it dies. HLB has been detected just once in California – in 2012 on a single residential property in Hacienda Heights, Los Angeles County. This plant disease does not affect human health.

Residents in the area who think they may have seen ACP or symptoms of HLB on their citrus trees are urged to call CDFA’s Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899. For more information on the ACP and HLB, please visit: www.cdfa.ca.gov/go/acp.

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ASIAN CITRUS PSYLLID QUARANTINE IN MADERA COUNTY

SACRAMENTO, January 7, 2015 – A portion of Madera County has been placed under Asian citrus psyllid quarantine for the following the detection of one ACP northeast of the City of Madera, in the Madera Lake area. The quarantine zone measures 100-square miles, bordered on the north by Road 603; on the south by Avenue 15; on the west by Road 26; and on the east by the Madera Canal. A link to the quarantine map may be found here: www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/go/acp-qmaps.

The quarantine prohibits the movement of citrus and curry tree nursery stock out of the quarantine area and requires that all citrus fruit be cleaned of leaves and stems prior to moving out of the quarantine area. An exception may be made for nursery stock and budwood grown in USDA-approved structures that are designed to keep ACP and other insects out. Residents with backyard citrus trees in the quarantine area are asked not to transport citrus fruit or leaves, potted citrus trees, or curry leaves from the quarantine area.

ACP county-wide quarantines are now in place in Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Tulare, and Ventura counties, with portions of Madera, Fresno, Kern, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Clara counties also under quarantine.

The ACP is an invasive species of grave concern because it can carry the disease huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening. All citrus and closely related species, such as curry trees, are susceptible hosts for both the insect and disease. There is no cure once a tree becomes infected, the diseased tree will decline in health and produce bitter, misshaped fruit until it dies. HLB has been detected just once in California – in 2012 on a single residential property in Hacienda Heights, Los Angeles County. This plant disease does not affect human health.

Residents in the area who think they may have seen ACP or symptoms of HLB on their citrus trees are urged to call CDFA’s Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899. For more information on the ACP and HLB, please visit: www.cdfa.ca.gov/go/acp .

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NEW TULARE COUNTY ASIAN CITRUS PSYLLID DETECTIONS NEAR EXETER  

BREAKING NEWS 

 

The Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner’s office announced TODAY that one additional Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP) has been detected on a trap south of the city of Exeter. The latest interception was confirmed by the California Department of Agriculture (CDFA). Maps and current information are available on the Agricultural Commissioner’s website by visiting: http://agcomm.co.tulare.ca.us/default/.

CDFA has already begun to saturate the affected area with detection traps in order to determine the extent of any infestation.The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) and CDFA will work collaboratively to determine what steps are taken next.

The Asian citrus psyllid is an invasive species of grave concern because it can carry the disease Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening. All citrus and closely related species are susceptible hosts for both the insect and the disease. There is no cure once a tree becomes infected. The diseased tree will decline in health, producing bitter, misshaped fruit until it dies. To date, HLB has been detected on just one residential property in the Hacienda Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles.

“Our staff will continue to support the efforts of our $750 million citrus industry, as well as our residential citrus owners,” said Tulare County Ag Commissioner Marilyn Kinoshita. “I want to emphasize that citrus fruit is safe to eat and the disease is not harmful to human health.”

Residents in the area who think they may have seen the pest are urged to call CDFA’s Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899 or the Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner at (559) 684-3350. Media inquiries related to technical questions about Asian Citrus Psyllid and Huanglongbing disease are encouraged to contact Katie Rowland, Account Coordinator for Nuffer, Smith, Tucker Inc. at (661) 817-3638. For additional inofrmaiton, click on the USDA’s Save Our Citrus website.

 

 

 

 

 

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