VOLUME 4, ISSUE I
SSOUITIWEST FLORIDA RESEARCH
Center Director's Corner
Inside this issue:
HLB Lab Opens
Field Day Announced
The new HLB Lab housed at the SWFREC opened its doors on February 4, and more
than 1,000 citrus samples already had been received by lab personnel by mid-March.
The HLB Lab is the state's newest facility dedicated to the Real Time Plymerase Chain.....
Reaction (PCR) molecular diagnosis of Huanlongbing (HLB), commonly known by "
growers as greening, a bacterial disease transmitted by leafhopper insects. HLB's rapid
spread since first being discovered in the Miami area in 2005 threatens numerous citrus .\
groves across south and central Florida. Growers are attempting efforts to control the
spread of HLB in groves with the use of insecticides. However, there is no known cure for HLB, and
infected trees ultimately will die.
The SWFREC owes much gratitude to growers, elected officials, and industry representatives for their
efforts to convince the Florida legislature to appropriate $250,000 in state funds to establish the HLB Lab
in Immokalee. Southwest Florida has quickly become the hotbed area for the disease, as evident by the
number of samples from the area that have come into the lab.
Each individual suspect-HLB sample submitted to the lab must be prepared by hand, which constitutes the
most time-consuming aspect of the -li.; .... rh process. Once DNA extractions are conducted, samples
then are analyzed in the PCR machine at the rate of nearly 90 per machine run.
The HLB Lab currently operates with two fulltime staff members: molecular geneticist Dr. Diana Schultz
and lab technician Paul Julian. Additional assistance in preparing samples is offered by other technicians in
SWFREC's Plant P .rl,. .1... department on an as-needed basis. The lab will continue to accept samples at
no charge until the state's allocated funding is depleted, at which time additional funding will be sought if
the need persists.
For detailed information about how to collect and submit citrus samples, growers should review the HLB
Sample Submission Form, which can be found online at http:/ /swfrec.ifas.ufl.edu/hlb/. This site also
includes detailed sampling and submission procedures.
In the fight against greening, growers have expressed interest in practices being utilized by McKinnon
Corporation in a grove that has HLB. SWFREC scientists are working to duplicate this program and de-
termine which component parts or combinations are having the apparent effect of .ii.. 1; .. ri..; symptoms
of greening disease. Trials are being conducted by SWFREC citrus horticulturalist Dr. Bob Rouse and
entomologist Dr. Phil Stansly in a grove at the center and in commercial groves.
In addition, grower interest in the possible use of trap crops for psyllid management has spurred testing of
the effects of orange jasmine on psyllid infestations and parasitization in adjacent citrus trees. SWFREC
assistant research professor Dr. Jawwad Qureshi is conducting a trial in which treated and untreated citrus
will be used as controls and movement of the greening bacteria will be monitored in a grove at the center.
SWFREC Hosts Groups / Tours
The SWFREC played host to three groups of individuals during the last month.
The Collier County Agricultural Tour kicked things off when 200 participants arrived on four buses to
hear about citrus, peaches, and plums. Their hour-long visit included a citrus demonstration by
SWFREC horth ,,i .,,-.1; Di B1..1 .
Rouse. H e prc ....r "1 ., .. I ....I r -
monly grown i .. .... rae m broI In ,a ,c lw ci
woathe Flori ty bec Bu aus mon uthwe Foiaker des notr see th
talked about t- h .. whoI k a .. h 1
Following that. a t-h ... ... ri Grg.,. I 1T
Rouse walked r t. zl.... E rli .... !, ;a..
and peach tree. etios Id rlt. 1,r an commerl
the center. He .l. ,,.. -I rl.,r ,., % n
ing peaches in southwest Florida (left) with Collier
County Ag Tour participants.
ties grown in this area must be of a low-chill
type because southwest Florida does not see the
cold temperatures that, say, Georgia does. The
tour is sponsored by the UF/IFAS Collier
County Extension office and included a number
of agriculture-related stops.
Current irrigation restrictions and their implications on commercial production were hot topics at a
workshop sponsored by UF/IFAS and the Florida Farm Bureau. Among the speakers were citrus
physiologist Dr. Bob Ebel, who spoke about the response of citrus and vegetable crops to drought
stress, and water resources scientist Dr. Sanjay Shukla, who focused on the future of agricultural im-
poundments and the reduction of drought impacts. Plant I." rl-...'. -.r Dr. Pam Roberts also was on
hand to answer grower questions related to drought and commercial production.
The Florida Natural Resources Leadership Institute (FNRLI) staged part of its southwest Florida agri-
cultural tour at the SWFREC. Upwards of twenty-five individuals received a welcome from associate
SWFREC center director Dr. John Dunckelman, who also provided a brief overview of agriculture in
southwest Florida. A panel discussion about farmworker issues concluded the group's visit. The
FNRLI fosters education about a variety of land and water resource issues.
Field Day Spotlights Vegetable Production
Mark your calendars! The UF/IFAS Spring Vegetable Field Day is set for
Thursday, May 1, at the SWFREC, 10am- Ipm.
In-field and indoor presentations will highlight current research underway,
including plant I ., r,, ..1.2. and entomology trials, as well as
an update on the C-139 basin water project. Participants
PAGE 2 checkoutvege,-
To register, please call the Hendry Co. Extension office at ble crops at th
1 863-674-4092. 2007 field day
VOLUME 4, ISSUE I
SWFREC Staff News
* Barbara Hyman, Citrus Mechanical Harvesting program educational coordinator, created and manned a
program exhibit at two events in January: the International Symposium on Application of Precision Ag-
riculture for Fruits and Vegetables in Orlando in January and the Indian River Citrus Seminars in Fort
* Dr. Fritz Roka, agricultural economist, has made presentations to the following groups thus far
in 2008: the Chamber of Southwest Florida in Fort Myers, the Collier County Rural Lands
Stewardship Review Committee at Ava Maria University, and the Greater Naples Leadership
Masters' Class XII in Immokalee. In addition, Dr. Roka served as a bus tour guide during the
2008 Collier County Ag Tour, spoke about the impact of agriculture in Southwest Florida to
the Southwest Florida Regional Training Council in Fort Myers, presented information about
farmworker issues and the future of agriculture in the state to the Florida Natural Resources
Leadership Institute, a group that recently toured Southwest Florida.
* Dr. Bob Rouse, citrus horticulturalist, spoke to nearly 200 people who participated in the
2008 Collier County Ag Tour in March. He did a demonstration of citrus grown in Southwest Florida,
followed by a tour of plum and peach trees on the SWFREC property. In addition, he participated in
the South Central Florida Small Farms Conference at the Manatee County Extension office in March to
present a talk on research in peaches, nectarines, and plums.
* Citrus ag assistant Zoe Shobert, plant ] rl. .1.., lab technician Rod Sytsma, entomology senior biologi-
cal scientist Barry Kostyk, and Dr. Rouse participated in a SAS training course in Gainesville to further
their expertise in statistical analysis of research data.
* Dr. Robert Ebel, citrus physiologist, gave a presentation at a water il, r;.. at the SWFREC in March.
His talk focused on the response of citrus and vegetable crops to drought stress. At the same meeting,
Dr. Sanjay Shukla, water resources scientist, presented a talk about the future of agricultural impound-
ments as related to reduced drought impacts.
* Dr. Shukla, soil scientist Dr. Ed Hanlon, iI.11i1. ecologist Dr. Marty Main, and plant lI'rl. .1. .r Dr.
Pam Roberts teamed up to present a poster at the Greater Everglades Restoration Coalition meeting on
Captiva Island in January.
* Dr. Hanlon also spoke to a group of participants aboard a water issues cruise along the Caloosahatchee
River in February. Among the group was Representative Tim Mahoney. And Dr. Hanlon participated
in the Council on Agricultural Science and Technology r... r;i.. in Washington, D.C., in March, which
included a visit with United States Secretary of Agriculture Edward T. Schafer.
* Dr. Roberts presented "Management of Whitefly Populations for the Control of Watermelon Vine De-
cline in Florida" at the 40th Annual Florida Watermelon Association Annual Convention in Orlando
* Julie Carson, SWFREC media coordinator, received a 2008 University of Florida Superior Accom-
plishment Award at a ceremony in Gainesville in March. The award in the administrative and profes-
sional category also comes with a monetary award of $200. In addition, Julie wrote a research report
article for the March issue of Citrus and Vegetable magazine titled "New Citrus HLB Disease Diag-
nostic Laboratory Now Up and Running."
* Dr. Kelly Morgan, soil and water scientist, made a presentation at a Florida Citrus Nutrition Seminar
at the SWFREC in March. His talk focused on nitrogen and irrigation scheduling for citrus.
* Sylvia Meyer, SWFREC secretary and receptionist, participated in UF/IFAS UNIFAS reporting training
at the TREC in Homestead in January.
SOUTHWEST FLORIDA NON-PROFIT ORG
EDUCATION CENTER U.S.POSTAGE
2686 State Road 29 North OF FLORIDA
Immokalee, FL 34142 Permit # 50
UF UNIVERSITY of
We're on the Web!
April 9: Certified Crop Advisors Seminar. 7:30am-5:30pm, CREC, Lake Alfred (and via videoconference at
SWFREC, Immokalee; GCREC, Balm; IRREC, Fort Pierce; and Gainesville). Integrated pest management,
5 CEUs; nutrient ,management, 5 CEUs. For more information and to register, please go online to http://
April 22: Citrus Mechanical Harvesting Field Day: Emerging Technologiesfor the 21st Century Citrus Grove.
7:30am-12pm, SWFREC, Immokalee. Event includes indoor presentations and field site visits. For a copy
of the agenda, please go online to http://citrusmh.ifas.ufl.edu/pdf/events/cmh field day 0408.pdf. To
register contact Barbara Hyman at 239-658-3461 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
May 1: Spring Vegetable Field Day. 10am-lpm, SWFREC, Immokalee. Event will include in-field trial dem-
onstrations and indoor presentations. To register, please call the UF/IFAS Hendry County Extension office
June 7: F;il ".. .., Annual UF/IFAS Farm Safety Day and Tractor Rodeo. 7:45am-3pm, SWFREC, Immokalee.
Event includes educational sessions in the morning and a tractor safety contest in the afternoon. Registration
forms will be mailed to companies in late April/early May.
June 17-19: 2008 Florida Cattlemen's Association Convention. Marriott Resort, Marco Island. For more infor-
mation, go online to http://www.floridacattlemen.org/.
August 20-21: 2008 Citrus Expo. Lee Civic Center, Fort Myers. For more information, go online to