Florida Citrus Hit Hard by Irma and Micotil 300 Warning
**Florida, the number one citrus-growing state in the nation, suffered "serious and devastating losses from Hurricane Irma," according to state ag commissioner Adam Putnam.
But, he tells Successful Farming "It's still too early to know the full extent of the damage."
Florida grew three out of every five oranges in the country in 2016/2017. The crop of 68.7 million boxes was 16% smaller than in 2015/2016, the smallest crop in five years, due to drought and citrus greening disease.
The harvest season for oranges and grapefruit normally begins in October.
**Germany's Bayer AG is joining a $100 million bet that the next big breakthrough in crop fertilizers will be found inside a biological Petri dish.
Its Bayer LifeScience Center division, along with biotech firm Ginkgo Bioworks, is forming a startup to focus on developing biological solutions to reduce the use of nitrogen-based fertilizer, or make farmers' use more efficient.
Officials declined to discuss financial details or individual investment amounts.
**The FDA has issued a safety alert to remind producers, veterinarians and health-care providers of potential safety hazards in using Micotil 300. Micotil 300 is a prescription injectable antibiotic used to treat respiratory disease in cattle and sheep.
Human exposure to Micotil 300 can lead to toxicity to the cardiovascular system.
These risks have been well-known for years, and of the 25 known deaths associated with the drug, the FDA says the "majority of the deaths were due to intentional self administration."