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Determined, Not Defeated

Florida Blueberry Growers Regroup After Troubling Trade Ruling

United States blueberry growers swallowed a bitter pill this winter after their plea with the U.S. International Trade Commission to stem the tide of imported blueberries.

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Fight the Mighty Mites

Tips on Controlling Southern Red Mite and False Spider Mite in Blueberries

Mite damage can be significant on blueberries, and high infestations can result in defoliation. The southern red mite (Oligonychus ilicis) is the primary pest in both open-field and protected (e.g., greenhouse or high tunnel) production on southern highbush blueberry (SHB) in Florida. The false spider mite, or flat mite (Brevipalpus yothersi Baker), was first reported on SHB in 2016, and is more typically seen during the summer. 

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Essentials of Pruning

Hedging and topping the Southern Highbush Blueberry can help minimize stress, shape plants, control size, and promote growth

Pruning is an essential practice for commercial blueberry production. Pruning can be used to minimize plant stress, shape plants for mechanical harvest or other operations, promote growth of new fruiting wood, balance reproductive and vegetative growth, reduce incidence of pests and diseases, control plant size, and promote new cane development. 

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Planning a World-Class Blueberry Lab

To build a better blueberry, the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is building a better blueberry lab in Gainesville. By mid-2022, we expect to complete U.S. higher education’s premier blueberry breeding headquarters.

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Executive Director's Letter: Washington Failing to Help Florida Blueberry Farmers

Like most of you, my blueberry farm is family-owned. Our Florida industry is made up of more than 900 blueberry farms across the state, and collectively we employ 2,500 workers and generate an annual economic impact of $295 million. But this year, we face a challenge to our livelihoods. We’re being pounded by a flood of low-priced blueberry imports from Mexico, Peru and other countries. 

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President's Letter: We’re Coming to a Crossroads

It’s no secret that Florida Blueberry growers are facing ever-increasing challenges to the well-being of our industry. Despite the nicely expanding demand for blueberries, this positive trend is swamped by a massive explosion of imported fruit flooding our coveted early domestic market. Despite the progress made by the USHBC in capturing a larger “share of mind” with consumers, convincing more and more people of the convenience and health benefits of blueberries, it is not enough to turn the tide. An increase of tens of millions of pounds of fruit from other countries is a tidal wave inundating our short market window resulting in much lower prices even as the cost of producing quality, food-safe Florida fruit pressures our growers. 

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Publishers Interlude: The Hustle and Bustle of Harvest Season

‘Tis the season! No, not that season. This is our season — harvest season! It’s a busy season that is not without its challenges, but it’s also a time when Florida blueberry growers are in their element and make the most of the work they’ve put in all year.

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Grower’s Thoughts: Farmers Optimistic About Crop, Rebound in U-pick Operations

As we enter the harvesting season for Florida’s blueberry growers, many farmers are breathing a sigh of relief that this year is looking better than last. With COVID-19 hitting Florida in March of 2020, farmers, like so many others, found themselves thrown into a state of uncertainty and chaos. Mandatory shutdowns caused demand for most of Florida’s crops to plummet, as schools, restaurants, and resorts were forced to temporarily close. 

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Spring Field Day

The Florida Blueberry Growers Association Spring Field Day was held virtually on Monday March 8th. The day was filled with incredible information. In case you missed it live, you can re-watch the full day at the below link
 
 
This site will be available for some time, so feel free to come back to watch the event again as well as the virtual fall short course which can also be found on this site. 
 
Lastly, one of our speakers, Dr. Lorena Lopez from the March 8th Field Day, asked for the growers help by completing a quick survey on Mite Pests in Highbush Blueberries. If you could kindly take a moment to complete this survey, it can be accessed at this link  Link
 
Thanks so much and stay tuned for further updates on future events!
 
Kind regards, 
 
Florida Blueberry Growers Association 

New blueberry variety honors benefactor and UF alumnus Alto Straughn

By: Brad Buck

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Blueberry Gall Midge Suggested Controls

Blueberry gall midge (Dasineura oxycoccana)is a significant insect pest of blueberries in Florida. Adults only live for 2-3 days, and lay their eggs in floral and leaf buds as the bud scales begin to separate, typically during winter months in Florida. The larvae feed on developing floral and leaf bud tissues, resulting in bud damage, abortion, or death, with reduced or no bloom from affected buds (Figure 1). 

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Hydrogen Cyanamide

Update on Use and Ongoing HC Research in Florida Blueberries

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Opting for Organic?

Key Considerations for Organic Blueberry Production

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Glimmer of Hope

Trump Administration to Investigate Mexican Trade Practices on Heels of Public Hearings



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Do More Bees Mean More Berries? A Blueberry Pollination Research Update

Blueberry growers know that to get good yields, you need bees. But guidelines for optimal bee stocking densities are limited and outdated. There is also a lack of management recommendations for improving blueberry pollination, especially in Florida. The value provided by pollinators and the limited information available on pollination has led some growers to increase bee stocking densities with little guarantee that this will improve flower visitation or yields. Over the past two years, we have focused on the following research questions with the goal to develop management recommendations for enhancing pollination, fruit set, and overall yields: 1) Do farms with higher stocking densities of managed honey bees receive more honey bee visits to blueberry flowers? 2) Does a higher visitation rate by managed honey bees result in greater fruit set and yields? 3) Do farms with managed bumble bees see enhanced pollination and yields? And finally, 4) What is the role of wild bees in pollinating southern highbush blueberries in Florida?

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Publishers Interlude

As we enter the fall season, Florida blueberry farmers are in planning mode. Across the region, growers are taking measures to prepare for the next season’s crop with attention to pests, new research, and fall and early winter suggested management items. This edition of The Blueberry News has all that information, as well as great updates on UF’s Blueberry Breeding Program. You can also find an introduction from J. Scott Angle, the new Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources and leader of UF/IFAS.

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Executive Director’s Letter: One Step Closer to Fair Trade

In August, USTR in conjunction with the USDA and DOC held two public hearings: “Trade-Distorting Policies that may be Affecting Seasonal and Perishable Products in the U.S. Commerce.” 

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President's Letter: A Plan for the Future

I often get asked what are my thoughts of the Florida blueberry industry going forward.  This is a difficult question to answer much like someone asking what will the stock market return next year.  No one really knows for sure, there are a lot of variables.  However there are some things that we do know.  

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Grower's Thoughts: UF Blueberry Breeding Program Update

The University of Florida blueberry breeding program supports Florida blueberry producers, primarily through the development of new cultivars with improved yield, timing, disease/pest resistance, fruit quality, and flavor. In addition, the breeding program collaborates with and supports blueberry-related research in plant pathology, entomology, pollination, and production practices. The following are summaries of projects that are currently underway, to keep our producers up to date with the different levels of research occurring in the breeding program, and in collaboration with several UF/IFAS experts.

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Assistance for Farmers Uncertain

Blueberries Currently Not Included in Category 1 CFAP Funding for Losses Due to Coronavirus

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