- Author: Ben Faber
Funding of the Citrus Research Board is an investment in pertinent research that supports the industry, making the information accessible to all within the industry from pest control advisors to packing houses to farm managers and others within the industry. The goal is to get the research done and then make sure it is used. CRB represents both large and small growers throughout California.
CRB research programs are funded by grower assessments which attract both federal and state funding, funding which represents a third of the total budget. This funding is used to support such projects as, HLB-resistant citrus rootstocks; the development of effective, low-cost HLB early detection technologies to rapidly remove infected trees; improved biocontrol methods for specific insect control like Asian citrus psyllid, as well as others; pre-and post-harvest citrus research to maintain export markets, amongst many other research programs.
The Citrus Research Board also supports the Citrus Clonal Protection Program (CCPP) with the goal of insuring the safe introduction of citrus varieties, disease diagnosis and pathogen elimination of introduced varieties and the maintenance and distribution of introduced varieties. CCPP serves as the primary source of clean, disease-free budwood and new varieties from Florida. This work is a collaboration between the Citrus Nursery Board, the University of California and State and Federal Regulatory agencies. The CCCP has become a major hub of the National Clean Plant Network for Citrus, resulting in the collaboration with 10 citrus centers in nine states and territories with multimillion dollar funding in support of CCCP's operations.
CRB research supports the California Citrus Quality Council (CCQC) with the primary objective of ensuring that California citrus meets domestic and international phytosanitary, food safety, food additive and pesticide residue regulations. CCQC ensures that California citrus growers have access to export markets for their fresh citrus fruit. Exports represent a third of the California citrus grower profits.
CRB-funded research into the California citrus-breeding program has led to the development of the Tango mandarin, along with others. The core breeding program conducts yield trials throughout the state on all varietal types to give growers information on upcoming new varieties and rootstocks. There is ongoing work to incorporate molecular tools to expedite breeding efforts to find plant materials resistant to HLB.
Along with CRB funding for cutting-edge projects for pest and disease control strategies, the CRB-funded CORE IPM Program led by Beth Grafton-Cardwell has responded to citrus grower needs for modifying existing spray schedule to treat Asian citrus psyllid. The program evaluates rotational sprays at appropriate times to avoid pesticide resistance to ACP.
Finally, this CRB-packaged information has been extended to growers through programs, including: The California Citrus Conference, Post-Harvest Conference and Seminar, and Regional Grower Education Seminars. CRB-funded research is compiled in Citrograph Magazine, the only magazine dedicated solely to the California citrus industry.