Citrus Disease Research and Extension (CDRE)

The Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) Citrus Disease Research and Extension Program (CDRE) is authorized in the Agricultural Act of 2014 (H.R. 2642) to award grants to eligible entities to conduct research and extension activities, technical assistance and development activities to: (a) combat citrus diseases and pests, both domestic and invasive and including huanglongbing and the Asian citrus psyllid, which pose imminent harm to United States citrus production and threaten the future viability of the citrus industry; and (b) provide support for the dissemination and commercialization of relevant information, techniques, and technologies discovered pursuant to research and extension activities funded through SCRI/CDRE and other research and extension projects targeting problems caused by citrus production diseases and invasive pests. Continue reading

USDA Invests $13.6 Million in Citrus Greening Research

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced four grants totaling more than $13.6 million to combat a scourge on the nation’s citrus industry, citrus greening disease, aka Huanglongbing. The funding is made possible through NIFA’s Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) Citrus Disease Research and Extension Program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“The economic impact of citrus greening disease is measured in the billions,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “NIFA investments in research are critical measures to help the citrus industry survive and thrive, and to encourage growers to replant with confidence.”  Continue reading

Florida citrus production is still down

In Southeast Farm Press

The USDA predicted Jan. 12 Florida will produce 71 million boxes of oranges for the 2016-2017 season, which is down more than 12 percent from the 81.5 million boxes harvested last season.

If the forecast holds true, it represents a decline of more than 70 percent since the peak of citrus production at 244 million boxes during the 1997-98 season. The drastic reduction in citrus production in Florida is largely due to the citrus greening disease, which continues to plague citrus trees and the citrus industry with no long-term solution in sight.

Read the entire story in Southeast Farm Press.

Time-lapsed imaging may help growers detect citrus greening

in Southeast Farm Press

by Brad Buck, University of Florida

A time-lapse polarized imaging system may help citrus growers detect greening before the plant’s leaves show symptoms, which should help growers as they try to fend off the deadly disease.

For the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences study shows, Won Suk “Daniel” Lee and Alireza Pourreza wanted to know how early citrus leaves with greening can be detected while they are pre-symptomatic. So they inoculated plants with the greening disease and put those leaves through a time-lapse imaging system. Continue reading

Two postdoc positions at University of California

The University of California at Riverside has two openings for postdocs working with invasive insects, specifically European grapevine moth and Asian citrus psyllid.

Spatial analysis of an invasive insect in California vineyards

An opening is available for a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Entomology at the University of California – Riverside to study the spatiotemporal dynamics of European grapevine moth (Lobesia botrana) invasion. The researcher will leverage an existing dataset of moth distribution toward understanding the factors that contributed to moth establishment and spread, and to evaluate the efficacy of regulatory procedures. Applicants should have a Ph.D. in ecology, entomology, geography or a related field with a focus on invasion biology or landscape ecology. Experience with GIS, spatial statistics, and statistical modeling is required. The position is available September 1st, with the potential for being located at UC Riverside or UC Berkeley. To apply, send a cover letter, CV, list of professional references, and a writing sample to Matt Daugherty (mattd@ucr.edu). Continue reading

Citrus trees in “old flush” need to be watched for Asian citrus psyllid

In ARS News

by Dennis O’Brien, Agricultural Research Service

A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologist is providing citrus growers with much-needed guidance about the best times to use insecticides to control Huanglongbing (HLB), or citrus greening.

HLB has cost Florida citrus growers an estimated $1.3 billion since 2005. The disease is caused by a bacterium spread by the Asian citrus psyllid, which feeds on leaves of infected trees and carries the disease from tree to tree. Insecticides are currently the best option for controlling HLB. Continue reading

An experimental trap lures away male psyllids before they can mate

In ARS News

By Jan Suszkiw

An acoustic trap developed by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists may offer an environmentally friendly way to control Asian citrus psyllids, gnat-sized insect pests that transmit Huanglongbing, a devastating citrus disease also known as “citrus greening.”

Infected citrus trees cannot be cured and often die within several years. Until such time, they may bear green, misshapen fruit with acidic-tasting juice, making the fruit unmarketable. Continue reading