The spread of Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP) continues to be a looming threat for Central Valley citrus growers as it vectors Huanglongbing (HLB), a disease that destroys citrus trees. Greg Douhan, a University of California Cooperative Extension Tulare County citrus farm advisor reported to California Ag Today recently that, “There have been so many people onboard really working at this from multiple angles, and we’re in the eradication mode. We want to make sure the insect doesn’t get established in the San Joaquin Valley.”
Douhan said the Valley is on high alert to find ACP in traps. “
If researchers discover a cluster of finds in any particular area, we manage some spray programs and try to get all the growers to do a coordinated effort in order to try to combat it,” he said.
In addition, the SAVE OUR CITRUS app is a free USDA iPhone app to report and identify the four leading citrus diseases: citrus greening, citrus canker, citrus black spot and sweet orange scab. Report your symptoms, upload a photo, and citrus experts will respond.
So far, the practices have been working well.
“I think most of the growers are very well informed,” Douhan said, “and are taking this very seriously because it is this their livelihood.”
Frustrated Citrus Growers Are Determined to Succeed
By Patrick Cavanaugh, Deputy Editor
While farmers have been dealing with some tough times, Bob Blakely, vice president of California Citrus Mutual is optimistic about future generations of citrus growers, “Perceptions and attitudes are really all over the board; we’ve got growers who are really frustrated and ready to throw it in. But most growers are staying in, thinking they can still make it in the citrus industry.”
“California growers are known for their tenacity in the face of challenges,” Blakely commented. “It’s exciting to see young farmers come on, even though they continue to fight the regulatory battles and higher farming costs. But these young guys have the same determination the prior generation had when they started. So, I am optimistic about the future of the citrus industry in California.”
One of the major threats to citrus is the Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP) and its potential to spread the disease Huanglongbing (HLB), as it has in Florida and Texas. “We are very concerned about the recent HLB finds. Here again, they have been discovered in residential areas, which is no surprise to us. That is typically where diseases first show up. At the present time, the ACP are contained. We are starting to delimit that area, and residents are very cooperative in allowing those trees to be removed.”
Download the Save Our Citrus App
There is now an iPhone app to help California residents identify signs of the Asian citrus psyllid and HLB, and easily report findings to agriculture officials. Download the free app in the iTunes store.