Another week goes by and yet another detection of Asian Citrus Psyllid. This time in Fresno County with both live adults and nymphs found. This is a disturbing trend after the recent detections in Tulare County and previous finds in Kern County.
Controlling psyllids is the number one way to prevent the damaging effects of Huanglongbing (HLB) in California. Industry leaders volunteer their time and expertise to the Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Committee and rules are put into place to protect commercial orchards from this devastating disease. Growers from throughout the state put their hard-earned dollars into the program to ensure its success in protecting the industry.
But all these efforts can be quickly diminished without the full cooperation and commitment of the entire industry. The rules are sometimes complicated and easy to overlook with all the demands of doing business in California. We get it, but these recent finds necessitate additional discussions on what more is needed to protect the industry.
Do we need additional regulations for growers, harvesters, haulers and/or packinghouses? Are there further educational requirements needed for anyone to possess a valid compliance agreement? Are the current spray and move or other mitigation alternatives sufficient to protect the industry? Or as growers do we need to do a better job of ensuring our neighbors and the people we do business with are doing everything they can to prevent the spread?
I don’t pretend to know all the answers, but these are the discussions that I know the Citrus Pest and Disease Committee will continue to have and what all concerned growers should be having throughout the state.
We all know what has and is continuing to happen to our counterparts in Florida with HLB rampant throughout the state. They are doing everything they can to save their industry and they don’t have that much more time to spare. Florida went from over 200 million boxes annually to around 40 million boxes this year, making California the nation’s number one in production by default.
Let’s make sure we are doing all we can collectively and individually to protect the California citrus industry and ensure its viability for generations to come!
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