A recent visit with Spanish researchers and packers was of interest. Virtually the whole industry uses a snapping method to harvest fruit. It is faster and often leads to fewer fruit rots than with clipping. In a past article by Reuben Hofshi in the CA Avocado Commission's AvoResearch is a review of the practices and results in various countries. It was well worth rereading:
- Author: Brad Hanson, UC ANR Weed Specialist
Here is an updated guide for herbicides that are registered for citrus, avocado and a few other tree crops.
- Author: Art Bliss, Avocado Grower and CAC Representative
NOTES FROM CAC MEETING
January 30, 2014
President's Report (Tom Bellamore)
2013 crop was 2nd highest total dollar return ($ 435,000,000 with 500,000,000 lbs = $ .87 per pound average)
Labeling initiative showing fruit was grown in California
--Staff and ad agencies feel strongly about its benefits
--Preliminary test and consumer intercepts were favorable
--Tom Bellemore and Jan DeLyser have been meeting w/ packers and several packers (Mission,
Index, WesPac) are willing to try this on a trial basis. CAC's opinion is that this becomes
more important as the market becomes more fractured with more off-shore points of origin.
With several other Mexican states seeking entry, USDA is seeking streamlined approach to U.S. markets. CAC and APEAM jointly met with USDA to provide comments on this process.
Polyphagus Shot-Hole Borer—CAC met w/ CDFA Secretary Karen Ross and they are proposing a “Summit” for a limited number of participants (USDA, Forest Service, EPA, Congressional delegations) to highlight the problem. Other industries haven't stepped up yet, so seeking help from CDFA to highlight this.
Pine Tree Ranch—Open House/Field Day was held last week w/ good response from growers. Will be using this more and more as outreach, especially on cultural issues.
Industry Affairs (Ken Melban)
Water/Metropolitan Water District
--Water cost is up 234% in 10 years.
--Currently in this drought year, the southern part of state has better supply because of
banking than northern area (San Luis Obispo/Nipomo/Arroyo Grande)
Marketing (Jan DeLyser)
All surveys show preference for California Brand continues.
Attributed to perception of freshness, locally grown, personal attention by grower
The number of “heavy users” is increasing as well as total market penetration
The importance of “California Grown” continues w/ consumers checking country of origin
Perception of California fruit is “premium” both in the markets where CAC advertising occurs and in non-ad markets.
Customer intercepts say Ads are memorable/likable/relevant
This year's campaign
--This year's emphasis will be “limited season”, the “limited region capable of growing
avocados” and the longer time it takes to “hand-craft” the crop—trying to increase
perception of “premium”
--Mass ads are scheduled late-April through early-September and will be trying to support crop
when it is in the market.
--Crop size is predicted to be 280,000,000 to 300,000,000
Global AMRIC begins this summer on voluntary basis by importers. Does not include reporting price.
Production Research (Tim Spann)
Polyphagus Shot Hole Borer
--New finding in El Cajon which is significantly south of latest finding. Found on a golf course
with numerous sycamore tree infested. Determined by DNA to be from Taiwan rather than
the northern findings in L.A. and Orange County which seem to originate in Viet Nam and
CAC sent out Request for Proposals for rootstock breeding program. Sent out worldwide and getting interest from USDA, New Zealand, South Africa
Hass Avocado Board (Emiliano Escobedo)
After 2 years of discussion a proposal was approved to include one representative from each producing country on the International Representation Committee. They would make recommendations and report to the HAB board who continues to make the final recommendations to the Secretary of the USDA. The composition of the HAB board remains at 7 California Growers and 5 importers.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Researchers from the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida are closer to finding a possible cure for citrus canker after identifying a gene that makes citrus trees susceptible to the bacterial pathogen.
Citrus canker, which causes pustules on fruit, leaves and twigs, is a highly contagious plant disease and spreads rapidly over short distances. Wind-driven rain, overhead irrigation, flooding and human movement can spread citrus canker. Human transport of infected plants or fruit spreads the canker pathogen over longer distances.
In Florida, the last extensive canker outbreak occurred beginning in 1995, which led to an ultimately unsuccessful eradication program that ended in 2006. That effort cost an estimated $1 billion and stimulated renewed efforts for more effective and economical controls. Farmers destroyed more than 16.5 million citrus trees between 1995 and 2012.
Yang Hu, a former doctoral student working with Jeff Jones, a professor in plant pathology, found the critical trait in the bacterium that is necessary for disease development. Hongge Jia, a researcher at UF's Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred, and Nian Wang, an associate professor in microbiology and cell science also based at the Citrus REC, along with six researchers from three universities worked on the project, as well.
Citrus canker continues to be a problem and exists in most citrus-growing areas in Florida. While scientists like Hu are devoted to eradicating the disease, many other researchers are now also battling citrus greening, which threatens to wipe out the $9 billion industry.
Citrus canker is caused by the bacteria Xanthomonas citri. While studying the bacterial pathogen's role in infected citrus, researchers were able to identify a gene in citrus critical to the development of citrus canker, known as the susceptibility, or “S” gene.
By finding the susceptibility gene, researchers say they are closer to a cure for the disease.
“The S gene represents an excellent candidate for control measures for the citrus bacterial canker,” Hu said.
Hu and Jones said they hope to secure funding to support further research, and have already identified several genes they believe could be engineered to obtain broad-spectrum plant resistance to most kinds of citrus canker.
“Once you know what the susceptibility gene is, it's possible to design multiple strategies for disease control,” Jones said.
The research paper was published online this month by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2014/01/08/1313271111.abstract.
A general rule of thumb about pruning trees is that only healthy trees should be pruned. Pruning is a devitalizing practice that comes at the expense of the roots. If an avocado has root rot, make sure the tree has been treated with one of the phosphite products to get the root system healthy. A common pruning method is stumping to 3 feet and allowing regrowth to occur. A common phenomenon after stumping is that the tree puts on vigorous growth for two or three years and then collapses. All that canopy regrowth was coming from a large root system that was brought into balance with a smaller canopy. Energy is diverted from the root to fight off disease. Gradually the root system gets out of balance with a larger canopy that it can no longer support. Often when a severely impaired root system tree is pruned, it often does not have energy to push a new canopy and the tree dies. Make sure you only prune healthy trees.