University of Florida

Decision support system to manage postbloom fruit drop on citrus

Postbloom fruit drop (PFD) is a severe fungal disease of citrus that causes fruitlets to fall off trees prematurely and is linked to wet weather during bloom. Florida growers have recently struggled with PFD outbreaks, especially during the spring of 2015. The PFD control is usually managed with calendar-based applications that may not be required if environmental conditions do not promote the development of PFD.

Scientists at the University of Florida have developed Citrus Advisory System (CAS), which is a web-based tool to assist citrus growers with spray decisions for managing PFD risk in Florida.

"The system collects weather data from the Florida Automated Weather Network (FAWN) and weather stations installed by the AgroClimate research group, and uses weather observations to run a PFD disease model and estimates the environmental suitability for infection. Using leaf wetness and temperature data, the system lets to predict disease outbreaks on citrus. The system sends notifications via mobile devices to farmers according to the risk and recommends fungicides to be applied based on the specific PFD risk and flowering stage. It follows a reduction of the fungicide applications following the recommendations of the system," the scientists explain.

CAS is available to Florida growers under the University of Florida AgroClimate information and decision support system. This system represents an important tool to help the citrus industry in Florida enhancing resource-use efficiency, reducing costs and increasing profitability.

Source: Daniel Perondi, Clyde W.Fraisse, Megan M.Dewdney, Vinícius A.Cerbaro, José H.Debastiani Andreis, André B.Gama, Geraldo J.Silva Junior, Lilian Amorim, Willingthon Pavan, Natalia A.Peres, 'Citrus advisory system: A web-based postbloom fruit drop disease alert system', 2020, Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, Vol. 178, article 105781.

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