California growers produce one-third of America's citrus crop. Increasingly, they're fighting a pest that threatens not only their livelihoods, but a vital part of the nation's economy.
Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) poses one of the greatest risks to the state’s citrus industry. During an interview, Dr. Sam Wells, an entomologist with Bayer, discussed the issue and what California growers can do to protect their crops.
Question: What threat does ACP pose to citrus crops?
Answer: The real threat is that ACP can carry a disease called citrus greening, or Huanglongbing disease. HLB can seriously limit the life of a tree and make it almost too expensive, in some situations, to grow citrus.
Q: How does ACP affect the California citrus industry?
A: The impact of the disease is huge. A citrus tree reaches maximum production when it has matured into a tall, developed tree that is several decades old. The fact that growers can have trees year after year that produce high yields is one of the most profitable aspects of the citrus industry.
HLB can limit a tree’s lifespan to around 10 years, maybe less depending on how the disease is managed. Instead of having growth for 30 to 50 years, growers now face the issue of having trees with a lifespan of approximately one-fourth of that time. This means the grower has to incur costs of ripping out old trees and cultivating new plants more frequently.
That increased cost and time is the real impact the disease has on California’s citrus production. If you have to do that process four times instead of once, citrus yields will decline and groves will be less profitable.
Q: How can the industry help growers prevent ACP?
A: It really comes down to educating citrus growers and homeowners with citrus trees in their backyards. We need to continue supporting and engaging with programs California has in place to monitor and keep ACP in check.
Q: What should growers do if they find ACP in their groves?
A: The first priority is to eliminate the pest to keep ACP from spreading. Growers should contact the county agriculture department to find out what materials can be used to treat the pest.
A variety of products have proven successful against ACP. For example, Movento® insecticide has demonstrated strong control of ACP in Florida. Movento’s two-way systemic action and newer chemical class offer growers a unique tool for ACP protection. Based on Movento’s success in Florida and recent effectiveness in California trials, Movento is proving to be a reliable solution for control of ACP.
For more information about Movento insecticide, please contact your local Bayer representative or visit www.movento.us.