Protector Screens on citrus crops to fight HLB

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Protector Screens on citrus crops to fight HLB

Florida, and its traditional citrus orchards, has been suffering the effects of a destructive  bacterial disease for over a decade now.

HLB (Huanglongbing), also known as ‘greening’, has devastated close to two-thirds of the citrus plantations that existed 20 years ago. In two decades, the area of this crop has gone from around a million acres to just 332k acres. In the face of this situation, there are still those who have not given up, and are aligning all their resources towards combating this disease. These efforts will allow orchards to recover some of the production that has been lost.

The television program “Where the Food Comes From”, which creates weekly publication of episodes dedicated to agriculture, has dedicated a chapter to show the effects of greening.  Their focus is to showcase how there are still Florida farmers who resist giving up and continue to fight to ensure the prosperity of citrus cultivation in Florida.

Chip Carter, the host and creator of the program, visited Dundee Citrus, a cooperative founded in 1924 that brings together more than 200 citrus producers. Four years ago, many of the company’s and its members’ cultivation hectares had to be uprooted due to greening.

In the current episode, a new hope rises on the horizon for the future of citrus called protective screens. Steven B. Callaham of Dundee Citrus explains that by using protective screens they are implementing an innovative technique using a mesh-based structure to completely isolates the trees.

If you watch the video closely, you can see our Agromillora ‘Smart Tree’ Citrus were planted in this structure.


With this project, Dundee Citrus is developing a solution to greening, but in tandem they have implemented an improved production model too. Callaham explains that the innovative protection system features the best trees and cutting-edge planting frameworks. This updated model can produce 2.5 times more fruit than a conventional production method.

The idea, Callaham comments, is to “cultivate much more… with much less: less land, less water, and less fertilizer.”

With projects like Dundee Citrus, and the commitment from farmers and the industry to adopt innovative solutions, it is clear that the citrus industry in Florida has a strong future. This path will not be easy or short, but can be achieved, as Steve B. Callaham says, “we have to fight, fight, and fight.”


SOURCE: “Where the food comes from” season 04 chapter 6


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