Skip to comments.Florida citrus growers worry that deadly bacteria will mean end of orange juice
Posted on 01/14/2014 2:01:44 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
The sprawling citrus orchard that Victor Story toured recently sure looked like a steal at $11,000 an acre. The investors who owned it were going to lose money, and potential buyers such as Story might have stood to reap a handsome reward.
But as he bumped along the 40 acres of groves in a large SUV, Story was taken aback by the sickly look of the trees. Their leaves were an inch shorter than normal and yellowing. Full-size oranges were still apple green. Other mature oranges that should have been the size of baseballs were no bigger than ping-pong balls.
That fruits never going to be of any value, said Story, 68, who has been growing fruit all his life. He said his pickers wouldnt even bother to reach for it. Its going to fall off the tree. Its never going to get squeezed, he said. These investors paid $15,000 an acre for that grove. I know because they bought it from a friend. I frankly dont think it will sell for $11,000.
What Story saw in the orchard in Polk County, Fla., wasnt an anomaly. Its the new norm in the Sunshine State, where about half the trees in every citrus orchard are stricken with an incurable bacterial infection from China that goes by many names: huanglongbing, yellow dragon disease and citrus greening. Growers, agriculturalists and academics liken it to cancer. Roots become deformed. Fruits drop from limbs prematurely and rot. The trees slowly die.
The bacteria is spread by a tiny, invasive bug, also from China, called Asian citrus psyllid. It acquires the bacteria while feeding on the leaves of infected trees, then transmits it when feeding on healthy trees akin to the way mosquitoes transfer malaria.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
When we debarked from the plane in CA last week, I noticed a woman 2 rows in front of me carrying a couple of small plants in a plastic bag. The thought occurred to me: CA is so careful preventing fruit and plant material from other states entering on its highways, who watches the airports? I’ve never been checked for plant material when flying in.
her liquids were only 3 oz
They’ll take an apple out of your mouth upon entering via road.
Yes I know
Ive been to CA along I-40 a few times..
and on I-10 once it was like I was entering the US from Mexico..
Our early ancestors had good reasons for splitting off into tribes, it tends to isolate and contain such plagues. They were smart enough to learn from experience and history and to listen to their instincts.
Thank you, supporters of Free Trade with Communist China. You do not get those bugs from Disney World visitors from Hong Kong
Another end result of Free Trade
Calling all entomologists - a good insecticide is needed to kill those Chinese bugs who are destroying Florida citrus!
Yeah inbreeding in small populations is wonderful /s
Just wondering...what pests are we sending to China?
Monoculture is bad. Citrus farmers need to rotate crops.
We do have one such insecticide , and it’s dirt cheap , DDT ... just try to get some though.
Has anything good ever come from China?
I fear this will not be the last time we hear that phrase.
There may be a GMO answer for this, but I imagine the luddite left will set up a howl, on the grounds that it is preferable to live without oranges than to unleash science.
“Just wondering...what pests are we sending to China?”
The administration sends JFKerry over there sometimes...
I remember as a kid long ago, we were crossing the Canada border. We had a bunch of peaches & tomatoes which were not allowed to cross. We were all furiously eating them as we rolled up to the border guard. He laughed. We wound up handing him a bag of delicious fruit.
Careful now...FR has just as many anti-GMO nuts as any left wing site. It seems to be the only topic where DU threads are almost identical to FR threads.
It is not so much about China and Nixon as it is about modern mass production of agricultural products.
Today, every orange must look the same and taste the same or the consumer won’t buy it.
That means tens of thousands of acres of identical plants.
There is always something those plants are susceptible to and when one gets sick, they all get sick.
Omg! Another certain calamity! Doom is upon us! Whatever will we do????
Wait ... I’m sure that the cure for this latest catastrophe is a bunch of money. Some kinda government handout or subsidy or program or something. Right?
I’m sure we’ll see plenty of isolationist anti-trade posts blaming interaction with China for this pest. I wonder if any of the posters realize that oranges are not native to the west, and are thought to have originated in China.
With 340 million people in the US, I'll hazard inbreeding, thank you.
The Bible was written from a tribal mentality. Name one agro-urban society on earth that lasted half as long as the Magyars, the Mongols, the Innuit, the Lapps, the Maasai, the Bushmen, the Australian Aborigines... We just got our asses kicked by tribal societies.
I know that the number of juice processing plants, in the state, have been reduced, dramatically, in number, over the past few years. Complaint for many years has been, there’s not enough fruit to keep all these plants running to the max and profitable. Now this, along with greening, different viruses that have cropped up, is reducing the quantity and quality of both, the groves and the fruit. What a shame!
What most folks don't know, is that the citrus industry, in Florida, is run by Brazil and Brazilians and run Brazilian concentrate, mixed with the American juice. Few citrus processors are American.
Is there anything Americans do any more - besides collect unemployment and welfare?
I’m sure that the border guards collect a lot of fruit. I’ve turned over a lot ,yself over the years. That is why I was surprised to see this lady carrying a live, rooted plant off the plane and nobody stopping her.
Ddt doesn’t work fpr bacteria and viruses. Farmers who fail to rotate crops will run in to disease eventually. Citrus is particularly tricky.
I am all for DDT. That stupid “silent spring” book by Rachel Carsen is directly responsoble for millions of Malaria death.
All citrus is susceptible to this infection, so having one variety is not the issue. I don’t really understand how crops can be rotated in an orchard. Prior to this disease, citrus trees were expected to produce for a number of years!
Not only that, but any particular variety of citrus is a cutting or a clone from a single tree. There's no genetic diversity.
Ddt doesnt work fpr bacteria and viruses.
It’ll get the bugs that transmit it though...
The diseased trees would have to be destroyed.