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Still, it is an industry and a key part of the Valley's identity besides.
the short term."
acres of citrus across the Valley, including 100 acres Blue Rolex Submariner in Brownsville. He said the greening disease is Pre Owned Rolex England
"Some growers are getting very concerned about the added cost about even dealing with it in the short term," Prewett said. "The potential for less revenue and increased cost are going to be the biggest things that growers are going to be facing probably in Newest Rolex Other Watches US
Ray Prewett, president of Texas Citrus Mutual, said an emergency quarantine covering a five mile radius was immediately put in place.
Fred Carle owns or rents 1,200 to 1,300 Rolex Daytona Gold Leather Strap
before the insect was detected here.
Strictly in terms of economics, Florida, with about 550,000 acres of citrus, has much more to lose than the Valley, which has roughly 27,000 acres, mostly in Hidalgo County but with a
Citrus growers across the Valley, meanwhile, are aggressively spraying for the Asian citrus psyllid, the insect that spreads the disease, in addition to their regular spraying. Psyllid spraying in the Valley began three years ago, even
"There's an awful lot of progress that been made on that front, to be sure you at least start off with trees that aren't infected," he said.
"fair amount" in Cameron County, according to Prewett.
Trees can't be moved out of the quarantine area, and TCM is strongly cautioning homeowners to be careful about where they buy their citrus trees.
He said the cost of extra spraying is already taking a toll on growers whose trees are still apparently healthy and producing.
"The sad part is, if we really get it really bad and these growers lose their citrus, they're not going to replace it," Pierce said. "It would be different if the citrus business would be profitable. It's at best a break even operation."
Crop Production Services, which sells agricultural chemicals and fertilizer.
Mike Pierce, owner of Resaca Grove Farms in Brownsville, said he sprayed his grapefruit orchards for psyllids, and everything else, in June and will probably do it again in a month or so. Meanwhile, every two weeks someone from TCM comes around to look for psyllids. So far, so good, Pierce said.
"Everyone should be careful about moving citrus trees around at this point in time," Prewett said.
Prewett said the other leg of the strategy is to ensure clean nursery stock.
He suspects that most citrus growers in the Valley, if their trees are stricken, will just throw in the towel.
"It has a big impact on the Valley economically, and it's part of our heritage," Prewett said. "It's part of the reason people enjoy the Valley."
After the disease was first detected in Florida in 2005 it spread quickly, causing a steady decline in that state's citrus production as scientists race to find answers. The disease was confirmed in the Valley, at two San Juan orchards, in January 2012. Three trees on residential property in the area also were found to have been infected.
"It's a big deal economically," he said. "I deal with it nearly every day."
Once a tree is infected with the disease it will die, it's just a matter of when. Making detection very difficult is the fact that citrus greening has a four to five year latency period, meaning it takes that long for a tree to show symptoms. In light of that grim fact, the industry's goal is to slow the spread of the disease, since eliminating it is unrealistic.
"If we get that disease we'll be done," he said. "Fortunately it's not my primary breadwinner. If it were, I'd be in trouble."
"The latency makes it almost impossible to eradicate it," Prewett said. "So it is like finding a needle in a haystack, trying to find where else it is. We're working on new technology to find it sooner."
a major worry and that he spends an extra 25 to 30 percent on top of normal production costs just to try to protect his trees. Carle also works for
Carle said he's been growing citrus for 40 years and hopes even in the face of water shortages, salt intrusion and now citrus greening to be able to hang on.
Disease threatens South Texas citrus industry
"It kind of depends on if we can continue to get a return on our fruit, so we can continue to grow it and pay our bills and pay our notes and have something left over," he said.
"There are a few remaining trees in one of the orchards that haven't been removed but we expect them to be taken out in the next several days," he said last week.
Infected psyllids have been found outside the San Juan quarantine area, pointing to the likelihood that other trees are infected, though there's no telling just where. Citrus greening affects grapefruit, oranges, lime, lemon trees all types of Texas citrus and even some plants closely related to citrus, such as orange jasmine.
Resaca Grove, with just 20 acres of citrus trees, is a fairly small citrus operation. Pierce said the only reason he grows is because the trees are already in place, and can't imagine why anyone would get into the industry today, since there's hardly any money in it and now citrus greening.
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