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US: Greening disease confirmed in CaliforniaDespite the best efforts of all involved the first case of citrus greening was detected in California last week on Friday.
The disease was found in a residential area, but the concern is that it could spread to commercial groves.
"Huanlongbing is called the world’s worst disease of citrus," said Dr. Robert Leavitt of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. "It had been present until now in all of the world’s major citrus producing areas – except California."
"It’s disappointing," said Joel Nelson of California Citrus Mutual. "Now we’ll see if this great program that we believe we have in place is going to work."
This has been the bad news that the industry has been anticipating since the first psyllid was detected in the state back in 2008. Despite 25 years of intense research and investment there are still no effective controls.
"This is the other shoe dropping," said Ted Batkin of the California Citrus Research Board. "We’re prepared, and now we’ll put our game face on."
The board will now increase its testing operations in a bid to stop the spread of the disease to the San Joaquin Valley, home to 80% of the state's citrus production.
"We’ve been fortunate that we have been able to learn from the experiences of other citrus-growing areas of the world," Leavitt said. "They didn’t know they had the psyllid or the disease until it was too late. We have learned from their scientists and have taken a proactive approach."
All sales and shipments of citrus within a five mile radius of the infected tree have been suspended. However, the closest commercial operation is 14 miles away.
Publication date: 4/2/2012
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