Florida''s Citrus Industry Uses Sustainable Production Practices

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Title:
Florida''s Citrus Industry Uses Sustainable Production Practices
Physical Description:
Fact sheet
Creator:
Ferguson, James J.
Publisher:
University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences, EDIS
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date:

Notes

Acquisition:
Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Melanie Mercer.
Publication Status:
Published
General Note:
"Publication date: June 1995."
General Note:
"SS-SA-3"

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Source Institution:
University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved by the submitter.
System ID:
IR00004424:00001


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SS-SA-3 June1995Florida'sCitrusIndustryUsesSustainableProduction Practices1 J.J.Ferguson2Florida'scitrusindustry103milliontreeson 853,742acresproduced117,780tonsoffruit duringthe1993-94season,totalling$7billiontoward Florida'seconomy,accordingtoUniversityofFlorida agriculturaleconomists.Florida'scitrusgrowers clearly,theleadingcitrusproducerwithintheUnited StatesandsecondonlytoBrazilontheworldmarket practicesustainableagriculture:producinga valuedinternationalcommoditywhileenhancing environmentalquality,naturalresources,andthe qualityoflifeforfarmersandsocietyasawhole. Floridacitrusgrowershelppreserve environmentalqualityby: 1.Utilizingfertilizationandirrigationtechnologies thatreducenutrientinputs,therebyreducing potentialleachingofnutrientsintogroundwater; 2.Recyclingtreatedmunicipalwastesandanimal manuresincitrusfertilizationprograms; 3.Usingintegratedpestmanagementstrategies includingdisease-resistantcultivars,biological pestcontrol,reducedpesticideuse,andcultural practicestoreducetheincidenceandseverityof pestsanddiseases.WATERANDNUTRIENTMANAGEMENTMostFloridacitrusisgrownonsandysoilswhich arelowinnaturalfertilityandwhichretainonlya smallamountofappliednutrientsthatareneededfor plantgrowthandcropproduction.Inthepast,large amountsofreadilysolublefertilizerwereapplied regularlytoinsureadequatenutrientavailability againsttheleachingactionofirrigationandrainfall. Theintroductionandwidespreaduseofcontrolledor slow-releasefertilizershasreducedtheamountof nitrogenfertilizerappliedfrom25to80%,depending ontreeage.Controlledreleasefertilizersareapplied onlyonetotwotimesperyear,furtherreducinglabor andenergyinputs,comparedwithreadilysoluble fertilizerswhichwereappliedthreetosixtimesper year. Technologicaladvancesintheproductionof plasticirrigationtubinghasusheredintheageoflowvolumedripandmicrosprinklerirrigation.These systemsefficientlydeliverbothirrigationwaterand liquidfertilizers(fertigation)exactlywhereandwhen theyareneeded.Smallamountsoffertilizercanbe appliedfrequentlyandefficientlythroughmilesof plasticirrigationlinescontrolledbycomputersthat monitorsoilmoisture,rainfallandevaporation, therebyreducingnutrientleaching.Ina1992study, approximately80%ofsurveyedgrowersirrigatedtheir groveswithmicrosprinklersordripsystems,and60% 1.ThisdocumentisSS-SA-3,aseriesoftheEnvironmentalHorticultureDepartment,aseriesoftheEnvironmentalHorticulture Department,FloridaCooperativeExtensionService,InstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciences,UniversityofFlorida.Publicationdate: June1995. 2.J.J.Ferguson,ExtensionCitrusHorticulturist,HorticulturalSciencesDepartment,CooperativeExtensionService,InstituteofFoodand AgriculturalSciences,UniversityofFlorida,GainesvilleFL32611. TheInstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciencesisanequalopportunity/affirmativeactionemployerauthorizedtoprovideresearch,educational informationandotherservicesonlytoindividualsandinstitutionsthatfunctionwithoutregardtorace,color,sex,age,handicap,ornational origin.Forinformationonobtainingotherextensionpublications,contactyourcountyCooperativeExtensionServiceoffice. FloridaCooperativeExtensionService/InstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciences/UniversityofFlorida/ChristineTaylorStephens,Dean

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Florida'sCitrusIndustryUsesSustainableProduction Page2ofthosesystemsweredesignedforfertigation.Citrus growershavealsolearnedthatfertilizerratescanbe reducedevenfurtherforyoungandmaturecitrus treesthathavesustainedmoderatetoseverecold damage.WASTEMANAGEMENTInthepast,sewageandanimalmanureswere considered"wastes"tobedisposedof.Now,citiesand countiesthroughoutFloridapumptreatedwastewaterontothousandsofacresofcitrusgroves recyclingeffluents,providingirrigationwaterand nutrients,andreducingagriculturaldemandson Floridaaquifersand,infact,rechargingthose aquifers.High-qualityprocessedsludge,orbiosolids, aswellaschickenandcowmanure,arebeingapplied incitrusfertilizationprograms,therebyutilizinga renewable"resource"thatmightotherwisepresenta disposalproblem.Leafandsoilanalysis,frequently usedbygrowerstomonitorandimprovetheir fertilizationprograms,providesanadditional barometerofnutrientinput.PESTMANAGEMENTFlorida'ssub-tropicalclimate,withhighrainfall andhumidity,providesanidealenvironmentforcitrus diseases,pests,andweeds.Fortunately,sinceabout 90%ofFlorida'sorangecropand50%ofits grapefruitcropisprocessedintojuiceandother products,chemicalcontrolofinsectsanddiseasesthat affectthecosmeticqualityoffruitislargely unnecessary,ascomparedwithotherfreshmarket fruitcrops. Floridacitrusgrowersrankpestmanagementas theirmostimportantinformationneed;however,91% ofgrowersindicatedinarecentstatewidesurveythat theybelievedpesticide-userestrictionswouldincrease duringthenexttenyears.Growers,therefore,depend moreandmoreonotherpest-managementstrategies. Asaperennialtreecrop,citrusgrovesestablishstable ecosystemsthatcansupportavarietyofbiological controlagents,includingahostof"friendlyfungi"and insectsthatpreyoncitruspests.Whenpestsand diseasesreducefreshfruitqualityandreducetree vigororyield,integratedpestmanagementdepends ongrovescoutingtodeterminetheneedandtiming forpesticideapplicationsaswellasmodificationof culturalpracticestominimizedamage.Aswithother crops,growersusedisease-resistantcultivarsasthe mainstayofplant-protectionmeasures,drawingupon traditionalbreedingmethodsandthenewapproaches ofbiotechnology. Perennialtreecropssuchascitrusprovide habitatsforarangeofbirds,mammals,andbeneficial insects.Water-retentionponds,frequentlyrequiredin largegrovesbywater-managementdistricts,create habitatsforwadingbirds,alligators,andotherspecies. Wildlifemanagementconceptsarealsointegrated intocitrusproductionprograms,especiallywithinthe rangeoftheFloridapantherandothernativespecies. TheFloridacitrusindustryencompassesawide rangeofproductionphilosophiesandpractices,all focusedonobtainingafairmarketreturnwhile maintainingandimprovingthequalityofournatural resources.Thismarriageofeconomicviabilitywith environmentalstewardshipsustainability createsachallengingopportunityforallsegmentsof society:farmers,homeowners,andindustry.