YOUR TEXAS AGRICULTURE MINUTE
Valley citrus orchards looking to bounce back
By Gary Joiner
Everybody loves a good comeback story. Keep your eye on the Rio Grande Valley for the next chapter in the comeback of Texas citrus.
Winter Storm Uri in February caused extensive damage to Valley orange and grapefruit trees. The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service says young trees between 1-2 years old and older trees were especially susceptible to the cold.
Growers have been rehabilitating mature trees that survived, those trees 5-20 years old. They cut back and removed all dead woody material resulting from the freeze.
Extension experts say trees that made it are looking good and showing very good canopy. And, surprisingly, there is some fruit on those trees.
Most crops and orchards were insured, and there is hope that Texas citrus will return to pre-storm levels, according to officials.
But there are other factors in play. Higher costs for fertilizer, fuel and crop protection chemicals are putting a squeeze on citrus growers. Young citrus trees were also in short supply, which was a problem for growers hoping to reestablish their orchards and have fruit in three to five years.
Time will tell. Early signs are encouraging, and it's a comeback story worth watching.
The preceding commentary is brought to you by Texas Farm Bureau, the “Voice of Texas Agriculture.” Called “Your Texas Agriculture Minute,” TFB will issue thought-provoking editorials each week—via print and audio—to spark understanding of agriculture in the Lone Star State and its impact on each and every Texan.
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