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Mechanical Harvesting Update

Preview of Speakers’ Presentations at the Upcoming FBGA Fall Meeting and Trade Show


Over the past 30 years, blueberry production has grown by leaps and bounds.  However, current methods of hand-picking berries for the fresh market have resulted in bottlenecks in terms of sustainable production.  More growers are looking at the benefits of mechanical harvesting in order to increase their yields throughout the season.  Historically, one of the main problems with machine harvesting is the bruising of the fruit caused by the berries falling into the collecting trays.  Another issue has been ground loss of berries due to them not falling into the trays.  Researchers are taking these problems into consideration and devising new harvesting techniques to help reduce bruising and loss.

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Grower 411

HURRICANE IRMA AGRICULTURE RELIEF PROGRAMS


The damage from Hurricane Irma has caused significant financial loss to Florida growers in sales revenue from crops lost or delayed and clean up expense.  This article is a compilation of disaster programs and resources to assist the agriculture industry.  Most importantly, be sure to document all of your damages and expenses associated with the hurricane— save receipts, take photos and videos, and make notes for applying for assistance programs.  Scan the QR codes with your smart device for additional information.

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From Blueberry Field to Better School Lunch

Initiative Seeks to Build Mutually Beneficial Relationship Between Local Farms and Schools


Bob Wilhelm packed the blueberries in five-pound boxes.  The schools served them in fruit cups and used them to teach math.  “They [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="yes" overflow="visible"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="no" center_content="no" min_height="none"][the children] loved it.  They sent some great pictures of the kids eating them for snacks,” says Wilhelm, owner of the Boca Raton-based Bova Fresh.  “They seemed to make it very interactive with the kids.  It was nice to see.”

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Winter Weather Outlook and Blueberry Freeze Protection


Considering the Forecast, Field Conditions, Passive Freeze Protection, and Proper Irrigation System Operation


CLIMATE OUTLOOK


Over the past several blueberry seasons, growers have begun utilizing climatology for determining the overall weather trends they can expect during the winter and spring. A phenomenon known as the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has been a main indicator of the overall weather pattern growers can expect.

ENSO affects surface water temperatures in the southern Pacific Ocean and the track of upper-level wind currents (jet stream) within North America. The location of the jet stream affects the tracks of weather systems as they move across the continent.




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Around the Corner

Getting Ahead with these Spring Weed Management Reminders


Weeds compete with blueberry for water and nutrients, which inhibits bush growth and yield. Weed control options include preventative, mechanical, and chemical weed control options. A proper ID of weeds is important for selecting the correct method of control.

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Do Rootstocks Have a Place in Commercial Blueberry Production?

Ongoing research in our program is evaluating the potential use of sparkleberry (Vaccinium arboreum) as a rootstock for southern highbush blueberry (SHB). Blueberry plants are shallow-rooted and require soils with low pH and high organic matter content. Under current management systems in the southeastern U.S., SHB is frequently subjected to a variety of stresses including periodic drought stress, and adverse soil conditions such as insufficient soil organic matter and/ or high soil pH. Moreover, the multi-cane SHB crown is not adapted to the current mechanical harvester designs because catch plates do not seal effectively around the base of plants. The result is fruit dropping to the ground during machine harvesting (see Figure 1).

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Blueberry Fruit Drop – Pollination Issues?

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Q&A on AgriTourism

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FARMS Program

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U-Pick Update: Bringing in Customers by the Berry Bucket

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Update on Flatheaded Borers Infesting Blueberry Plantings in Central and North-Central Florida

<strong>Beetles vs Blueberries</strong>

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Spotted Wing Drosophila in Organic Berry Crops

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Sighting in on a target spot disease management plan

Post-harvest foliage management is important for blueberries produced in both deciduous and evergreen systems in Florida.  Healthy leaves maintained through flower bud differentiation in fall will ensure sufficient carbohydrate (sugar) reserves for uniform, early, berry production and leafing the following spring in deciduous production.  In evergreen systems, foliar diseases that carry over on leaves reduce the vigor of plants, but also can produce spores that infect fruit.  Anthracnose and rust pathogens infect both leaves and fruit and can lead to post harvest fruit rot (ripe rot) and fruit quality issues (rust infection of fruit).  Some varieties are more susceptible to summer foliar diseases than others.  Jewel is an older variety still widely grown that suffers from several foliar fungal diseases during the hot humid Florida summers.

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FARMS Program Great for Growers

<strong>Helping Farmers Develop Efficient Water Practices</strong>

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US Blueberry Growers Will Have to Look Toward Technology to Compete

It appears that specialty crops – including blueberries – are taking a back seat in the current negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement as arguments over tariffs and other higher priority items are being discussed.

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Citrus Root Weevil Update

Pest Becoming a Significant Problem for Blueberries in Central Florida

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Bacterial Wilt of Blueberry Caused by Ralstonia Solanacearum

Researchers share Initial Findings of Disease and What to Do if Detected in Your Crops

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Flatheaded borers and Chilli thrips update

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When Cold Protection Becomes Critical

At the Heart of the Cost Share Program, ‘My Florida Farm Weather,’ Are Valuable Decision-Making Tools

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Please Join Us for the Florida Blueberry Growers Association Spring Field Day

The Florida Blueberry Growers Association SPRING FIELD DAY will be held Tuesday, March 12th, 2019 at the University of Florida-IFAS Plant Science Research and Education Unit from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm in Citra, FL.  The day will consist of presentations, field tour, a group lunch as well as the opportunity to visit with 20 vendors to the blueberry industry.  Lunch is included in your paid registration (name badge will be used as your meal ticket.)

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