Ag News, June 11, 2013

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Citrus Disease Ravaging Groves
By Roy Ferguson II, The Ferguson AgReport, June 1, 2013

Headlines in the May 9th issue of The New York Times stated “Citrus Disease With No Cure Is Ravaging Florida Groves.” Later in the article, similar infestations of citrus groves have been reported in Arizona, California, and Texas. The major concern currently is growers can lose 30-40% of what they pick in a year.

Florida’s citrus sector is reportedly fighting the most serious threat in its history…a bacterial disease having no known cure which has infected all 32 of the state’s citrus-growing counties.

The disease is called “citrus greening.” It was first detected in Florida during 2005. It can actually lie dormant for 3-5 years. Researchers have found that the disease is spread by the Asian citrus psyllid, an extremely small insect about the size of the head of a pin.

The bacteria carried by the tiny psyllid causes fruit to turn bitter and drop from bearing trees while still unripe. Although all citrus fruit are susceptible to being infected, oranges are impacted most heavily. The disease has progressed so rapidly in Florida this year that USDA has downgraded its crop estimates five consecutive months…an extraordinary move.

Both growers and researchers feel that if a cure is not found soon, Florida’s citrus industry could be eliminated entirely, Florida is currently the world’s second ranking producer of orange juice behind only Brazil. Florida’s citrus sector is valued at $9 billion while contributing some 76,000 jobs.

This year’s psyllid problem was intensified by the past winter’s unusually dry weather. Thus, it has aggravated further Florida’s citrus sector which has already been suffering a 15-year decline.

Good news was received last May with the announcement by Coca-Cola that it would spend some $2 billion to plant 25,000 acres of new orange groves. The company owns Minute Maid and the Simply Juice brands. It will also purchase oranges from two Florida producers…one local and the other a Brazilian company that has invested substantially in the state.

The psyllids are believed to have arrived in Florida through the Port of Miami some 10 years ago…about the same time they were discovered in Brazil. Parts of Africa and Asia are also infected.

While the bacteria does not harm humans, it devastates trees and leaves behind bitter, misshapen oranges and other citrus fruit. Both growers and researchers believe that a cure is at least 3-5 years away…even if a “silver bullet” is discovered. So baby citrus trees must currently be raised in greenhouses before being transplanted…then sprayed more frequently than before.

The Ferguson Report may obtained via this website:

Drought not dampening U.S. milk production

USDA’s April report pegged U.S. milk production at 17.27 billion pounds, up 0.2. percent over a year ago despite a drought that was expected to curb production.

“The drought was supposed to complicate everything and reduce production. It didn’t happen,” said Jerry Dryer, chief market analyst for Rice Dairy, a Chicago brokerage house.

Dairymen seem to keep increasing production, despite drought, tight forage supplies and high feed costs, he said.
Read more on the Capital Ag Press website:

Closing data gaps in environmental regulations
Almond Board of California

As environmental regulatory issues have evolved and become more complex, research funded by the Almond Board’s Environmental Committee has also evolved over the last decade. The work of the environmental research program not only helps growers maintain sustainable almond production, it also helps to collect important data related to almond production, which has become the target of increasingly complex environmental regulations. Read more on the Western Farm Press website:

Wine grape drone flying over California vineyards
Pat Bailey, UC Davis News

Under the watchful eye of news media and area winegrape growers, a remote-controlled helicopter, fitted with a spray applicator system, was field tested over a vineyard in the heart of the famed Napa Valley by engineers at the University of California, Davis, and Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA. Read more on the Western Farm Press website:

Who Inspires You? Nominate them Today

Each year ASFMRA members honor their own…
The best and brightest that inspire them to achieve more

Nominations are now open for these awe-inspiring awards:

  • Farm Manager of the Year Awards – Deadline is June 14
  • Appraisal Professional of the Year
  • D. Howard Doane Award
  • Early Career Award
  • Meritorious Service in Communication
  • Carl F. Hertz Distinguished Service to Agriculture (individuals, companies, or associations are accepted for the last two awards)

Get complete info on nominating and individual or company:

Is this the year to sell or store wheat?
Kim Anderson

If your marketing strategy has been to sell wheat in one-third increments between harvest and January 1, this may be the year to sell a higher percentage at harvest. You may want to sell 50 percent at harvest and the remainder in one-fourth increments between August and January.
Read more on the Southwest Farm Press website:

News from The Appraisal Foundation

The Appraisal Foundation Seeks Candidates for Vacancies on the Appraiser Qualifications Board and the Appraisal Standards Board
Application Deadline is August 1, 2013

Washington, DC– The Appraisal Foundation has begun its annual search for qualified candidates to serve on the Appraiser Qualifications Board (AQB) and the Appraisal Standards Board (ASB). There are three vacancies on the AQB and two vacancies on the ASB. Completed applications for these vacancies must be received by August 1, 2013. Read more:

Where do you think farmland values are headed in the next 6 months?

75% of the LinkedIn ASFMRA group respondents feel that farmland values have stabilized.  What do you think? Check out the discussion on the ASFMRA Group on LinkedIn and cast your vote: 

Southern Agricultural Cover Crops Workshop

July 24-25, 2013
Jonesboro, AK
Hilton Garaden Inn
Get complete information
13.5 hours CE for both days

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