Comparison of Summer Micrometeorologies and the Prevalence of Citrus Rust Mites in Satsuma Oranges

Authors: Steven Schultze*, University of South Alabama, Katie Pfeiffer*, University of South Alabama
Topics: Climatology and Meteorology, Agricultural Geography, Biogeography
Keywords: Agriculture, Precision Agriculture, Microclimates, GIS, Spatial Variability
Session Type: Virtual Poster
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual 51
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Satsuma oranges (Citrus unshiu) are a specialty crop that have been grown in the central Gulf Coast region for more than one hundred years. Like their native Japan, southern Alabama is a humid subtropical climate capable of accommodating a reliable high-quality crop. However, like in Japan, Citrus Rust Mites (Phyllocoptruta oleivora) are a concern – particularly during warm and dry spells – and require considerable attention to mitigate. We installed 2 weather microloggers in eight satsuma trees, one at a height of 1 meter and another at 2 meters, which recorded temperature and humidity rates every minute on the minute for the duration of our experiment. By exploring the instantaneous temperature differences within the grove, it was made clear conditions within a grove are not uniform. Temperatures at any given moment could vary by as much as 20°F. In addition to this study, we asked the grower to intentionally not spray their crop for CRM. Using our weather data, it was found that the typical “every two weeks” spray schedule for CRM management was not needed, and that using this weather data could have resulted in a 62.5% reduction in pesticide usage. This shows that an ¬in-situ data driven schedule can help growers reduce their reliance on pesticides which makes production cheaper and more environmentally-friendly.

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