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.

The Florida Blueberry Growers Association is instrumental in setting an optimistic tone for us all. The advocacy and leadership it offers growers year-round are invaluable. Even with the challenges of late and little to no face-to-face events, nothing gets in the way of the research and education the association helps to provide. The virtual Spring 2021 Field Day on March 8 is the most recent example. 

Here are some key takeaways from the Field Day.

  • Doug Phillips, UF Blueberry Extension coordinator, presented a walkthrough of the UF/IFAS Blueberry Growers Guide App, explaining various ways to access the content on the Scouting Guide. Descriptions of diseases and pests are all available at your fingertips. Phillips said there are more modules planned for cultivars and a management calendar. 

  • Dr. Maria Zamora detailed the research she is doing on evapotranspiration to develop an irrigation app.

  • FBGA Board member Kyle Straughn of Straughn Farms shared tips for obtaining and handling honeybee hives for blueberry pollination. His presentation covered bee basics, the honeybee life cycle, hardware and industry jargon, what makes a good hive, what good and bad pollination look like and getting the best bees for your buck.

  • Dr. Patricio Munoz offered an update from the University of Florida’s breeding program,  briefly discussing market trends and delving into the increased consumption of blueberries through 2020. 

  • Dr. Lorena Lopez, a postdoctoral assistant in Oscar Liburd’s lab, spoke on the efficacy of newly registered miticides against pest mites. 

  • Dr. Phil Harmon gave a plant pathology update, discussing the importance of UF’s Plant Diagnostic Center. Since diseases are not always obvious, the clinic can help with diagnosis and management recommendations. The lab is available to all growers in Florida.

  • Dr. Jeff Williamson gave an update on two projects at the Plant Science Research & Education Unit, discussing a nitrogen fertilization rate study with Emerald and Farthing and an update on the sparkleberry grafting project.

You can see the presentations at 

Take care, folks, and I wish you a prosperous and bountiful harvest!

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