San Joaquin Valley citrus growers and the University of California Riverside established the Lindcove Research and Extension Center in 1959. The soils and climate at LREC are representative of the 200,000 acres of commercial citrus growing in the Central Valley of California. Scientists conduct research programs at LREC that evaluate new varieties of citrus, better ways to grow citrus, and new ways to manage pests. Extension programs communicate the results to citrus clientele as well as the general public.
The station consists of 175 acres located at 500 feet above sea level, next to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. The climate is Mediterranean with mild winters and hot, dry summers (May-September), with temperature extremes from the low 20's to 110oF. Usual annual precipitation is 13" with prolonged tule fog episodes during December and January. Continuous recording of weather information has been maintained since 1962. San Joaquin sandy loam is the dominant soil type.
LREC greenhouses, orchards and packline are used by researchers for a variety of studies including developing new citrus rootstocks and scions, evaluating the effects of the local environment on rootstock and scion combinations, screening seedless varieties of mandarins, detecting freeze damage of fruit, and analyzing chemical treatments for pests and post harvest diseases. Center resources are available to researchers affiliated with University of California's Agriculture and Natural Resources, USDA, and agency cooperators. Requests for land, labor, and facilities are screened and allocated by a research advisory committee. Currently, 30 active research projects involve research faculty from the Riverside and Davis campuses, UC Cooperative Extension and Farm Advisors, and the USDA.
Citrus Clonal Protection Program
The center maintains the Citrus Clonal Protection Program's (CCPP) foundation budwood orchard for virus-free true-to-type citrus. More than 300 different selections of citrus are in this collection, and budwood is available to California nurserymen and growers at a minimal cost. The majority of these varieties are now maintained in a screenhouse to further protect them from insect vectored diseases.
The California citrus industry, through the California Citrus Quality Council, donated a complete citrus packing line to the Lindcove Research and Extension Center in 1995. This 5,000 square foot facility has available for research an FMC high-pressure scale washer, Brogdex waxing and drying equipment, and a Compac fruit-grading unit that can measure number, size, weight, shape, color, texture, density, ºBrix, grade of fruit, and other parameters. This equipment allows analysis of fruit from individual trees.
Fruit Quality Evaluation Center
The LREC fruit quality laboratory can perform a large variety of measurements to determine sugar/acid ratio, rind thickness, percent juice, and many other parameters.