Posts Tagged “Texas Citrus Mutual”

Texas Citrus Shipments Should Not be Hurt by Disease – at Least This Season

By |

DSCN4293Produce trucking of Florida citrus has been significantly affected due to what is known as citrus greening.  This disease has now shown up in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, but citrus should not be adversely affected — at least for this season.

While citrus greening is spreading in Texas, but it is not expected  to hurt the 2014 orange and grapefruit crops and the loading opportunities for produce haulers.  Luckily, the greening hasn’t been in Texas long enough to likely harm fruit this season, or its quality or volume.

So far this season, growers haven’t reported fruit drop or unusually small fruit — two signs of greening.

The orange harvest should begin in late September and grapefruit harvest in mid-October, with both fruits likely to start shipping in volume by late October or early November.

The disease is spread by a mottled brown bug no bigger than a pencil eraser.  It arrived in the U.S.  via an invasive bug called the Asian Citrus Psyllid, which carries bacteria that are left behind when the psyllid feeds on a citrus tree’s leaves.  The tree continues to produce usable fruit, but eventually disease clogs the vascular system.  Fruit falls, and the tree slowly dies.

The presence of greening also isn’t expected to limit shipments of Texas citrus to California, other U.S. states or even foreign markets.  As long as fruit is shipped without stems or leaves, it is not at risk for spreading greening,

Citrus greening has spread in three Texas counties where oranges and red grapefruit are grown, establishing a “stronghold” in commercial groves and residential trees.  There were 430 infected trees in commercial groves – including more than 50 in one block alone – and 207 infected trees in residential areas. Hidalgo, Cameron and Harris counties are under quarantine because of citrus greening, also known as huanglongbing or HLB.

The Texas Department of Agriculture is requiring all citrus trees in a 10-county area to be produced in an enclosed certified structure, to help keep the disease from infecting nurseries,

“The question weighing heavily on the minds of growers and many others in South Texas is whether Texas can avoid a catastrophic situation for our citrus industry, which wasn’t the case for our eastern neighbors in Florida,” said Ray Prewett, president of Texas Citrus Mutual, in  a press release.

Mexican fruits and vegetables crossing into South Texas – grossing about $2800 Chicago.

Read more »