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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Mexico: An Emerging Power in the Blueberry Market

Blueberry is a relatively new crop for Mexico. The Mexican blueberry production capacity was mostly built over the past 10 years. The acreage of blueberries grown in Mexico broke records almost every year over 2009-2018. In 2018, the planted and harvested acreages reached 9,357 and 8,923 acres, respectively, almost 20 and 19 times higher than those in 2009 (Figure 1). As a result, Mexican blueberry production increased from 4 million pounds in 2009 to 89 million in 2018. Blueberries are grown in 10 states of Mexico, with the major production concentrated in Central Mexico, including Jalisco, Michoacán, and Sinaloa, which are also the major strawberry production states. The national average yield was 9,948 pounds per acre (lb/acre) in 2018. Sinaloa ranked the highest, with an average of yield of 16,059 lb/acre, which was almost 4 times that in Florida. The Mexican blueberry season covers the period from September through June, peaking between February and May, which overlaps the production window of Florida blueberries. 

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For the Crop

New Paraquat Requirements

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Executive Director’s Letter: It’s Time to Drive Home the Message

This 2020 blueberry season, our industry faced unprecedented hardship.

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Farmers Prevail Even Through Toughest Season

This season has been one for the books. Personally, I've been calling it a "doozy." Just as history books teach, I suspect this season will serve as a good lesson for the consumers as well as the farmers.

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President’s Letter

Finding Comfort in the Silver Lining

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New Miticides Labeled for Blueberries

Mites can be a significant pest in Florida southern highbush blueberry fields, particularly southern red mites, in addition to flat mites (false spider mites) and blueberry bud mites. Southern red mites, which tend to flourish during hot dry conditions, typically infest the lower side of leaves, inserting their mouthparts into the leaf and removing cell contents. This results in a characteristic bronze discoloration of the leaves, which can cause a decline in photosynthesis rates and defoliation in the case of significant infestations. 

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Grower’s Thoughts: Blueberry Summer Disease Management

Florida experiences hot, humid, and wet weather throughout summer and early fall, which is favorable for the development of certain diseases in southern highbush blueberries (SHB). These include several fungal leaf diseases, as well as a parasitic alga infection known as algal stem blotch. Being aware of these diseases, the environmental conditions that favor pathogen spread and infection, and establishing an effective management plan will help to mitigate their effect on Florida blueberry orchards.

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Seasonal Planning

The summer growth that occurs in Florida blueberry fields following post-harvest pruning contains most of the fruiting wood for next year’s crop. Therefore, it is important that conditions are suitable to support strong, healthy, vegetative growth throughout the summer.  Irrigation and fertilization are two important practices that contribute to healthy summer growth and the likelihood of good fruit production the following year. 

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Spring Meeting and Other Updates

2020 Updates:

1. Save the Date! Spring Field Day: March 10th, 2020
UF/IFAS Citra Research & Education Center and Straughn Farms to view advanced variety selections 
Look for a registration email soon!

2. As reported in the Blueberry News and previous emails, FDACS has approved a special permit to ship fresh blueberries from Florida to California which previously has been prohibited under California law. 

3. EPA has now approved a supplemental label for Portal Miticide! This supplemental label is good for all crops within the Bushberry subgroup and includes highbush and low bush blueberries. (See attached)

4. You should have received information regarding the new Blueberry Advisory System - this is an invaluable tool available to you, to incorporate in your growing practices to predict and prevent anthracnose root rot.

5. Please note our updated phone number and P.O. Box listed below.

Florida Blueberry Growers Association
PO Box 358086
Gainesville, FL 34635

Perkins Service Replacement Engines – Keeping things running in the toughest environments!

This blog post is sponsored by PerkinsPower and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Florida Blueberry Growers Association.

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Celebrating Success in Our Advocacy Efforts

As we embark upon a new year, the Florida Blueberry Growers Association Board wishes you, your family and your farm a prosperous 2020 season! 

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The Best Pre-Harvest Advice Comes From Other Growers

The holidays have come and gone, but two things remain the same—the season ahead will bring its own challenges and hopefully rewards, and The Blueberry News is here to help Florida growers like yourself prepare and spread the news about the latest and greatest news in the industry.

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Tools of the Trade

Check Out The Newly Released Pesticides and Application Advice

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Connectivity Is Key

Blueberry Advisory System a Web Based Tool for Timing Anthracnose Fruit Rot Controls

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Notes From the Field

Learn More About the Presentations Featured at FBGA’s Fall Meeting

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Chill Accumulation Trends in Florida: Are We Heading Toward Warmer Winters?

According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) the global average temperature in 2019 (January to October) was about 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) above the pre-industrial period. The year 2019 concludes a decade of exceptional global heat, retreating ice and record sea levels driven by greenhouse gases from human activities. Average temperatures for the five-year (2015-2019) and ten-year (2010-2019) periods are almost certain to be the highest on record. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) also reports a positive trend for the contiguous U.S. annual average temperature (+0.15°F per decade) from 1895 to 2018.

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The Next Big Thing

UF Breeding Program Releases Colossus, a Highly Versatile Southern Highbush Blueberry 

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