Citrus Industry Hoping to Avoid Another Bad Thrip Damage Year

Brian GermanCitrus, Fruits & Vegetables, Industry

The citrus industry is making preparations to hopefully avoid another bad year for citrus thrips. General Manager of Cobblestone Fruit, Colby Campbell said damage last year was some of the worst he has ever seen. Up to 50 percent of some blocks were deemed unfit for the fresh market and had to be processed for juice instead. The issue was exacerbated by a challenging bloom period that followed record rains.

Citrus Industry

“One side of the tree would be ready when the other side of the tree wasn’t and so you had to make decisions,” Colby explained. “You either waited for the other side to go, which then exposed you on the other side because they were active too long.”

Equipment availability and timing also presented challenges for the citrus industry. Colby noted that it was particularly difficult for smaller operations. Commercial sprayers were often busy with some farmers having to make multiple applications. Colby said some growers had to spray up to four times last year to suppress the pest. Many times, when applications were finally made, it was a little too late and the thrips had already been damaging the crop. This year, growers appear to be gearing up in case it is another bad season.

“Going into this spring, there’s a lot of eyes on it. Everybody’s watching and I think everybody has made preparations,” said Colby. “Guys have called ahead seeing if there’s other people, other custom applicators that are available. I know some farming rigs have purchased additional equipment just to make sure that, if that comes, we can’t have this happen again.”

Listen to the report below.

Brian German
Ag News Director / AgNet West