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...