Charlotte County Florida Weekly

Expo offers recent findings to help Florida’s citrus and crop growers


COURTESY PHOTO

COURTESY PHOTO

University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers will present their latest findings of immediate use to Florida’s citrus and specialty crop growers at the Florida Citrus and Specialty Crop Expo on Aug. 17 and 18 at the Lee Civic Center in North Fort Myers.

The expo features 33 presentations, filled with information that growers can use now to sustain their operations. UF/ IFAS will also staff a booth in the exhibit hall with hands-on exhibits and free information.

UF/IFAS researchers will be featured Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning of the expo.

Citrus topics include incorporating newer pest challenges into a multi-pest management program, the root cause of citrus greening disease initiation and progression, stopping weeds before they start, fertilizer options and alternatives, and plant growth regulators toolkit among others.

The UF/IFAS exhibit booth has been redesigned this year with more hands-on exhibits in pest, disease and weed management, along with the latest information on gibberellic acid.

The 2022 Citrus Production Guide will be available along with an updated summary of citrus research projects, providing growers with a detailed look at the broad range of projects that UF/IFAS researchers are working on across the state for their benefit.

Included in the vegetable seminars is one about tomato economics. There, Kim Morgan, an associate professor at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center, will give an update on the Florida tomato industry.

The structure of the United States fresh-tomato industry is continuously changing under intensifying foreign competition, the influence of the changing patterns of consumer spending, ongoing pandemic disruptions and rising labor and input costs, the UF/IFAS economist said.

“Florida, producing mainly open-field mature green tomatoes, suffered significant losses due to this change in consumer preferences toward new varieties and the pandemic related closures of the food service sector. Planting new varieties aimed toward food-at-home use in response to changing consumer tastes are key recommendations for Florida growers to improve long-term business viability,” Ms. Morgan said.

Also at the expo, Gary Vallad, a professor of plant pathology at the GCREC, will talk about tomato garget spot management. Mr. Vallad will cover the basics of pathogen and disease management, including effective fungicide programs, timing fungicide applications, and breeding efforts to develop resistant varieties.

To register for the free event and view a complete program, see www.citrusexpo.net. ¦

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