Cold-Hardy Citrus Growers Gather for Field Day

Web AdminCitrus, Events

Production in the cold-hardy citrus region was under the spotlight during a recent field day in Quincy, Florida.

Field Day
Muhammad Shahid leads a grove tour during a field day at the North Florida Research and Education Center.

Growers and industry leaders visited the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) North Florida Research and Education Center (NFREC) to learn about various facets of citrus production. Topics like controlled-release fertilizers, crop diversification and implementation of artificial intelligence to manage citrus trees more efficiently were highlighted during the event.

Attendees were also treated to a tour of the research orchards at the UF/IFAS NFREC. Field demonstrations related to soil sampling, irrigation management and drone spray applications were conducted.

Muhammad Shahid, assistant professor of horticulture at the UF/IFAS NFREC, talked about the importance of hosting the field day, especially during this time of the production season. He said this is the time when cold-hardy varieties are fruiting. Growers can come to see and taste the fruit. They can observe the fruit size and the yield as well.

“We also have the spring field day, but then there’s no crop,” said Shahid. “This is the time when we can actually bring them into the field and show them ‘This variety has this number of fruit, this size, this color.’ That’s the main purpose for having it at this time.”

The meeting included growers from Alabama, Georgia and North Florida. One of those growers was Lindy Savelle, president of the Georgia Citrus Association and member of the Georgia Citrus Commission. She said harvests should commence soon on this year’s crop, which is a tad earlier than last season.

“The weather has a lot to do with it,” Savelle said. “In order for the Brix to go up and the sweet taste to be there, we’ve got to have some cooler temperatures. We’re going to be a little bit earlier than last year. That is good. People are ready, calling and asking us when our fruit will be ready.”