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OPTIMISM IN SPITE OF HLB INVESTING IN FLORIDA CITRUS Rob Atchley General Manager of Citrus Groves, A. Duda and Sons, Inc.

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Presentation on theme: "OPTIMISM IN SPITE OF HLB INVESTING IN FLORIDA CITRUS Rob Atchley General Manager of Citrus Groves, A. Duda and Sons, Inc."— Presentation transcript:

1 OPTIMISM IN SPITE OF HLB INVESTING IN FLORIDA CITRUS Rob Atchley General Manager of Citrus Groves, A. Duda and Sons, Inc.


3 EARLY HLB EXPERIENCE Disease was found on the LaBelle property in 2006 Began calendar-based psyllid control program immediately Removal of HLB positive trees implemented Tree removal strategy abandoned after a (final round) scouting cycle resulted in removal of 19,000 HLB- positive trees First attempts at psyllid scouting using yellow sticky cards Ability to raise new trees in doubt

4 DESIRE TO REPLANT Over 2,000 acres of our LaBelle grove was fallow due to the Canker eradication program 55,000 resets also removed under the program Need to replace the lost acreage and regain production and efficiencies Made decision to focus on solid-set replanting 200-300 acres per year Solid plantings would enable better tree care and psyllid control Planting initiative resulted in roughly 1,000 acres of solid plantings (between 2007- 2011) Raising resets in existing groves doubtful

5 EARLY PLANTINGS Projects began in 2007 Partial blocks resulting from canker arcs prioritized Primarily early/mid oranges on Carrizo and Swingle root stocks Traditional row spacing Drill spacing tightened to 8’-9’ Cultural program included additional psyllid control measures (nowhere near todays levels) Passive pest scouting through yellow sticky card only

6 COKE/PEACE RIVER PRODUCTS/DUDA PROJECT Opportunity to fill out and expand the citrus footprint in LaBelle with the stability of long-term pricing support Construction began in December 2012 2,870 net acres in size Mixture of familiar rootstocks as well as new selections US 897, US 812, US 802, US 942, X639 50% micro-jet irrigated and 50% seepage irrigation Focus on increasing planting densities Built using GPS technology from the beginning

7 MOVING AHEAD Some growers have viewed the Coke offering as not attractive enough to make the investment Inflation? Prices too low compared to market potential Buying and developing land too risky Confidence in producing the crop drives risk tolerance Our experience with post canker plantings are one of the many things that have given us confidence to move ahead with this opportunity in this growing environment

8 CHMAS WORK! Low psyllid numbers are normal in areas where growers work together with coordinated sprays Easier when fewer growers control large acreages More difficult but just as effective in areas with fragmented ownership Aerial, low-volume, and air-blast sprays all can contribute The CHMA you are located in is just as important to your success as the soil and irrigation sources you have to work with

9 POST CANKER REPLANTING PERFORMANCE Not every planting has been successful We learn more with every generation Early yields at sustainable levels have been the norm Increasing planting densities is driving early yields Enhanced nutrition (foliar and granular) is resulting in harvestable yields as much as a year earlier than expected HLB detection is at manageable levels



12 NEW GROVE DESIGN ADVANTAGES New groves have allowed higher planting densities Traditional densities of 125-150 trees per acre replaced with 227 to 303 trees per acre Opportunity to match rootstock to soil type GPS used for all swale and tree row layout Immediate money savings All lines within the grove are perfectly square Enables the use of auto-steer technology to improve efficiencies and application quality Tighter design tolerances result in better ability to manage moisture




16 NEW TOOLS IN THE TOOLBOX Research will bring us new options to fight HLB Resistant varieties and rootstocks New chemistries Systemic products to fight psyllid or the pathogen Compounds that repel the psyllid Chemistry with new SAR effects We must combat the disease using conventional methods while researchers look for options HLB is a very old disease that has touched many areas of the planet We should be realistic about the time needed for research

17 BECOME A FARMER Grow citrus as intensively as any other specialty crop Intensive nutritional program and evaluation Map soil zones to enable precision treatment of problem areas Utilize targeted soil and leaf sampling to evaluate programs If the trees are telling you something LISTEN and adjust BUY QUALITY MATERIALS!!!! Dedicated scouting commitment Use active methods to seek out and identify pests When pests are identified respond rapidly Everyday is Monday morning for our trees

18 BECOME A FARMER Give irrigation the focus it deserves Water quality and quantity Frequency Remember you are not an accountant and your accountant should not be your farmer! A common denominator with people experiencing success in the current environment is their willingness to spend money on their trees.

19 MANAGE TREE STRESS Managing stress on trees is critical to surviving with HLB Stresses beyond your control: Extreme temperatures Drought conditions Stresses within your control: Nutritional levels Pest pressures Soil moisture levels We can improve our situation greatly by eliminating stresses on our trees

20 WHY SHOULD WE PLANT Industry preservation Production down to 104 million boxes 2014-2015 season?? We need to maintain a critical mass 50,000 acres of new plantings with an average yield of 500 boxes/acre would have moved this years crop to only 129 million boxes! Time is a luxury we don’t have!

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