California’s Citrus Research and Field Trials (CA-CRaFT) program is now accepting Cycle 2 applications from commercial growers. This initiative aims to showcase the efficacy of additional control measures against the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), the carrier of the Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) bacterium causing Huanglongbing (HLB) disease in citrus.
Commercial citrus producers in California are invited to apply for the program, and eligibility is open to all.
For Cycle 2, applications will be accepted until program capacity is reached with priority given to those applications received by March 15, 2024. Applications can be found at https://citrusresearch.org/growers-application
CRB’s CA-CRaFT initiative seeks participation from commercially managed citrus groves in California, subject to the implementation of specified mitigations and adherence to the overall experimental design. We encourage both organic and conventional citrus growers to submit applications.
Grove selection criteria will consider existing management practices, with a preference for those actively utilizing ACP management in accordance with the University of California’s Integrated Pest Management (UC IPM) guidelines. Priority consideration will be accorded to California citrus groves facing sustained psyllid pressures or located in close proximity to significant psyllid risk factors, such as transportation corridors and residential areas. Citrus producers can apply without any limitations on the total acreage, and we welcome applications for multiple blocks or groves.
Project support is currently being offered for the following mitigations:
- Implementing barrier mesh fencing along grove borders to hinder ACP entry.
- Creating natural windbreaks using living vegetation along grove borders to mitigate psyllid movement.
- Cultivating trap crops like the curry leaf tree, to attract and control psyllidpopulations.
- Introducing specific biological control agents as a whole grove treatment to suppress ACP populations, regularly assessing their impact and effectiveness, and encouraging conservation and the release of generalist predators like syrphid flies, lacewings, and lady beetles.
- Implementing targeted insecticide treatments, such as border sprays for ACP control or whole grove treatments with insecticide-based ant baits for ant control, or utilizing border treatments with psyllid repellents like kaolin clay or diatomaceous earth to make the crop unappealing to psyllids.
Compensation is exclusively provided to growers implementing endorsed additional preventative or threshold-based mitigations, such as barrier mesh fencing, living windbreaks, trap crops, biological control releases, border sprays, psyllid repellents, or ant control, as outlined above.
Control plots must refrain from receiving any additional mitigations, be they preventative or threshold-based, recommended by the program, as outlined above.
Participants will receive annual assistance on a per-acre basis to cover expenses related to data collection and field access for scouts. This applies to both control plots and all plots receiving additional CRaFT-endorsed mitigations as part of the program.
Growers are allowed to conduct regular scheduled plot maintenance and apply various treatments for pests, including ACP, in all plots, including control plots. However, they will not receive compensation for these routine treatments that fall outside of program priorities endorsed by CA-CRaFT.
The CRB will be hosting webinars on the CA-CRaFT program and its application process on:
For details about the California-focused CRaFT Project, program requirements, and webinar schedule, visit the CRB website at www.citrusresearch.org or contact Ariana Gehrig at email@example.com.
The CRB administers the California Citrus Research Program, the grower-funded and grower directed program established in 1968 under the California Marketing Act as the mechanism enabling the State’s citrus producers to sponsor and support needed research. More information about the Citrus Research Board may be found at www.citrusresearch.org.