January 10, 2014
This was a chilly week in North Florida, but the frigid conditions plaguing most of the rest of the country and the relatively short duration of our nippy weather left Floridians with little to complain about. The citrus industry generally relished the cooler weather which, if not extreme, sweetens and conditions fruit, according to Florida Citrus Mutual.
An upside to cold in the Northeast
The prevailing sub-zero temperatures in northern states have a bright side where pests are concerned: They kill larvae of pests like the emerald ash borer, which threatens ash trees in 20 states. But our blog pointed out that humans can have an even greater impact on the invasives than Old Man Winter. Here at DPI, we are continuing to embrace and promote the national “Don’t Move Firewood” campaign. By the simple act of not moving firewood, you help save forests, landscapes and agricultural products like Florida avocados from the harmful pests and diseases that can inhabit the wood. (See our “Save the Guac” campaign.)
Speaking of avocados . . .
Florida avocados are in season this month. If there is any truth to the vaunted Velveeta shortage (#cheesepocalyps), we suggested confirmed couch potatoes look to Florida avocados to support their snacking habits during the NFL playoffs and the Superbowl.
We also passed along the news from The Packer that Spanish avocados have been approved for the U.S. market (bit.ly/1dq46oG).
Other industry news this week included:
• a report that a UF/IFAS research team has mapped the DNA of a strain of citrus greening that has been found in Brazil and might eventually threaten Florida’s citrus industry
• an article in Entomology Today indicating scientists have confirmed group living accelerates development of bed bugs.
• a reminder that the Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition, TPIE, takes place Jan 22-24 at the Broward County Civic Center. If you attend, visit the staffers from FDACS/DPI who will be occupying one of 800 booths! View details from FNGLA.
Citrus Repository at LaCrosse nears completion
A world class citrus greenhouse will open during the first quarter of 2014. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry’s citrus repository at La Crosse will allow DPI to combine and enhance the Citrus Germplasm Introduction Program (CGIP) and the Citrus Budwood Registration Program (CBRP).
Tracking the history of Florida freezes
Wondering how cold weather has helped shape the Florida citrus industry? Florida Citrus Mutual has a freeze timeline on its website that is worth a look.