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Prudent Pruning

Strategies for New and Mature Southern Highbush Blueberries

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Plan to Celebrate and Capitalize on National Blueberry Month

It’s April, which means National Blueberry Month is just three months away! The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) is gearing up for an epic celebration. 

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Top Threat

Tips to Help Mitigate Damage From Chilli Thrips

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Post-Harvest Primer

Summer Fungal Leaf Disease Management

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Executive Director's Letter: Showcasing Florida’s Blueberry Industry

It is harvest season 2022, and we have already had quite a packed spring in Florida!

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President's Letter: Dealing With Mother Nature and the Designs of Society

As I pen this in mid-March I’m not sure how the season will turn out, but I’m hopeful and as ready as I can be for what comes at harvest. Ever since Thanksgiving, our business has been steering through white waters I hardly expected to see till harvest. As growers, you know it’s been a bit of an odd year due to both the political and economic designs of our society and the inescapable influence of Mother Nature. Despite this, the Florida growers I talk to have all been working hard and figuring out how to adjust their operations to capture a good harvest.

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The Wedgworth Way

By J. Scott Angle

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Publisher's Interlude: The Pursuit of Knowledge

Field days in agriculture are essentially show-and-tell for adults, and it’s every bit as exciting as it was when I was in school. Don’t get me wrong, the advanced principles, techniques, and subject matter are far from child’s play, but the principles remain the same: Share, learn, and grow

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Preparing for the Freeze

Your Winter Crop Survival Checklist 

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President's Letter: The Blueberry Grower’s Pancake

… Or how Florida growers are getting squeezed between cost increases and pricing pressures.

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Grower’s Thoughts: Minimize the Risk of Anthracnose Fruit Rot

Anthracnose fruit rot (AFR) is the most significant disease that directly affects the fruit of blueberries in Florida. In years past, AFR, also known as ripe rot, has been of minor concern for Florida growers; however, within the last three to five years, reports of substantial losses are on the rise. In this article, we will try to understand the disease cycle, factors that can promote disease, and management tools to reduce disease risk in your field. AFR is a real heartbreaker that can not only reduce the amount of harvestable fruit just as the year’s investment starts to pay out but then come back with the sucker punch of reducing the quality and quantity of the harvested berries due to fruit spoilage, lower pack-outs, and shorter shelf life. 

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Publisher's Interlude: Turning Point

Nobody ever said farming was easy. There will always be anticipated trials and victories, and there will even be unexpected challenges. So it’s a good thing Florida blueberry growers are so resilient in the face of adversity. No other time has made that more evident than the past two years. Blindsided by a pandemic that left many with no way to unload their crops only to see their hard work get lost in the tsunami of cheap foreign exports, particularly from Mexico, growers faced a crucial deciding point. Some smaller farms, unable to compete with the influx, were forced to shutter operations. Still, last year marked a turning point of sorts because as it turns out, the 2021 season was pretty decent for most Florida growers. Here’s why.

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Executive Director's Letter: Coming Together in the Fight for Our Industry

As the new year gets underway, the Florida blueberry industry has much to look forward to. Blueberries have a bright future!

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A Persistent Pest

Control Measures for Blueberry Gall Midge 

Blueberry gall midge (BGM) is a longstanding and persistent pest of blueberries in Florida, especially in North-Central Florida and some areas of Central Florida. Adult BGM lay eggs in floral and vegetative buds as the scales begin to open, and the larvae feed on the developing tissue in the buds (Figure 1). With floral buds, this leads to damage, necrosis, and death of the buds, resulting in reduced yields. The injury from gall midge can appear as brown, dried-out buds that disintegrate and fall from the stems resulting in reduced bloom, and situations where only one or two florets emerge from a damaged floral bud instead of a more typical 5 or 6 florets. In vegetative buds, new emerging shoots and foliage are damaged and appear as black and distorted tissue. 

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Water Matters

Basics of Blueberry Irrigation Management for Florida Growers

credit: JEFF WILLIAMSON & DOUG PHILLIPS

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Seizing a Key Opportunity for Blueberry Promotion

With health and nutrition being key benefits of blueberries, National Nutrition Month®in March is a natural fit for the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) to rally around and leverage as its first “power period” of 2022. 

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Weathering the Winter

Essential Preparations for Blueberry Freeze Protection

Freeze protection is an essential part of blueberry production in Florida, especially in the northern and central parts of the state. Although the past couple of winters have been warmer than usual, growers need to carefully monitor weather forecasts and plan accordingly to avoid possible crop damage. Freeze protection typically involves using overhead irrigation to reduce the impact of freezing temperatures on susceptible floral and fruit tissues.

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New Berry Honors Industry Trailblazer

UF’s Sentinel Cultivar Named After Florida Blueberry Pioneer Straughn

 

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Fight Ripe Rot the Right Way

How to Spot and Stop Anthracnose Fruit Rot

Anthracnose fruit rot (AFR), or ripe rot, is a fungal disease that can cause fruit softening, sunken lesions, and post-harvest rot of blueberry fruit. AFR has been observed across Florida in recent years and can sometimes be a significant issue. The disease is more severe when favorable weather conditions persist and when fruit remains on the bush for longer periods between harvests. However, there are fungicide controls and good management practices which can help reduce the impacts of this disease.

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Publisher's Interlude: Optimism Isn’t a Choice, It’s the Way We Live

A farmer must be an optimist, or he wouldn’t still be a farmer.

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