90% of Florida Citrus Acreage is Hit by Greening

90% of Florida Citrus Acreage is Hit by Greening

citrusGreeningThe citrus greening disease has infected as much as 90 percent of Florida’s citrus acres.

According to a report from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences,  citrus greening, also known as HLB and huanglongbing, has also infected 80 percent of Florida’s citrus trees.

The survey, conducted in March 2015, represents the first grower-based estimates of the level of infection in Florida and the effect it is having on the state’s citrus operations.

About 200 growers to estimate their losses from the disease in a survey by Ariel Singerman, an assistant professor in the Gainesville-based university’s food and resource economics department, and Pilar Useche, an associate professor.

The researchers obtained about 76 completed surveys and the growers surveyed operate approximately 30 percent of Florida’s citrus acreage.

The growers also estimate greening has reduced their yields by 41 percent, according to a news release.

On average for any given Florida citrus operation, greening has affected 90 percent of acreage and 80 percent of trees, according to the survey.

“Even though the industry acknowledges that greening has reached epidemic proportions across the state, estimates of the level of infection and its impact on citrus operations are scarce,” the researchers wrote in the paper.

Greening was first detected in Florida in 2005 and the disease has caused the state to lose about $7.8 billion in revenue, 162,200 citrus acres and 7,513 jobs, according to the report.