According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, California accounted for 52 percent of citrus production throughout the US and 63 percent of the nation’s citrus value last crop year. However citrus growers would be remiss not to recognize the dangerous pest and disease - Huanglongbing- which continues to loom over the industry, threatening California’s future crops.
For more than a decade, the California citrus industry has invested countless hours and created dozens of innovative partnerships to keep Huanglongbing (HLB) out of commercial groves – and, so far, it has worked.
By engaging in collaborative efforts with the nation’s top scientists and researchers, the Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program (CPDPP) has been able to provide citrus growers throughout California with many scientifically supported management measures for HLB and the deadly pest, the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP).
In a 2019 study conducted by researchers at University of California (UC) Davis and UC Riverside, in collaboration with Citrus Research Board, researchers found a majority (71%) of growers across three major citrus-growing regions in California – the Central Valley, Central Coast and Desert Region – thought that it was unlikely or very unlikely that an HLB-positive tree would be detected in their grove from July 2019 to June 2020. While the results of the study show growers’ confidence in being able to control HLB is increasing, the industry should be cautious not to fall victim to its own success.