A grower's perspective of constraints on harvest management

Peter McClure

Abstract


The move to NFC orange juice can be seen as beneficial for Florida growers by providing us a competitive advantage over more distant competitors. This has caused a desire by processors to extend the harvest season so fruit can be stored on the tree. This increases management and logistical problems along with costs to growers. Harvesting costs often double because of increased competition for seasonal labor, warm weather related poor working conditions and because fruit store better on older, larger trees than on small trees. High temperatures and humidity coupled with increasing fruit senescence reduces fruit in-trailer storage time, which increases logistical problems with picking and hauling. Early or late harvest can reduce total pounds solids per acre and thus reduce grower returns. Late harvest can adversely affect the yield and return of the following crop. Harvesting during the rainy season can exacerbate disease control. Possible solutions to the on-tree storage/extended season problems include premiums paid to growers for early and late fruit, better communications and logistics in picking and hauling, better tree size control and crop management. Growers would benefit from improved disease management, improved scion varieties and rootstocks, abscission chemical registration and improved mechanical harvesting techniques.

Keywords


citrus processing; citrus harvesting; citrus storage; NFC

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283