What’s the Buzz?

The Best Practices for Blueberry Pollination Might Not Be What You’d Expect

Honey Bees

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President's Letter: Now, More Than Ever, It’s Time to Pull Together

Welcome to Year 2021. With great hope, we will soon put the turmoil of 2020 and the coronavirus behind us! As a grower, and now also your incoming president of the Florida Blueberry Growers Association, I have shared in many of your travails. Even without the disruptions the pandemic waged on our critical spring harvest, 2020 was destined to be a challenge with the flooding of our narrow market window with massive increases of “cheap” imported fruit. COVID-19 may dissipate as the year progresses, but the trends threatening our livelihood will not quickly abate.

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Executive Director's Notes: Heading Into the New Year WIth Hope

2020 came with new challenges for our industry and for the country. While Florida blueberry growers were ramping up their harvest season, the nation was shutting down. As Congress passed relief legislation, our industry was passed over.

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Grower’s Thoughts: New Management Calendar Module for UF/IFAS Blueberry Growers Guide App

CREDIT: Doug Phillips, UF Blueberry Extension Coordinator

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President’s Letter: So You Want to Mechanical Harvest?

The first thing to do is ask yourself: Is it a tactical or strategic decision? For many growersmachine harvesting can bea useful tactic to extend the season or do final cleanup after the pick crew moves on. It’s an ideal way to evaluate whether it might fit into your long-term plans. As a strategy, where most or all of the fruit is to be machine-harvested, you need to make a serious commitment to plan all the details then devote considerable resources to build the enabling farm infrastructure.

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Angle's Letter: Better Breeds, Better Breeders

The more talent Patricio Muñoz can recruit to his lab, the quicker he can get new varieties out to you, and he just got a powerful magnet to attract that talent.

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Executive Director’s Letter: The United Blueberry Taskforce: Adopting a Collaborative Approach to Industry Growth

As a Florida blueberry grower, I have experienced first-hand the pressures of global competition on my business. As consumer demand for blueberries has grown, domestic and global production has also greatly expanded to meet the needs of what has become a year-round market here in the United States. My desire to address the many challenges our family business faces in this global marketplace is what drove me to participate as a member of the United Blueberry Task Force (UBTF).

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Fueling Blueberry Demand and Consumption: USHBC’s 2021-25 Strategic Plan

New Five-Year Plan Sets the Course to Make Blueberries the World’s Favorite Fruit

CREDIT: Kasey Cronquist

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Seasonal Fertilization and Irrigation

 Fall and Winter Are Deceptively Important in Florida Blueberry Fields

Credits: Jeffrey G. Williamson, Professor, Horticultural Sciences Department, University of Florida

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In the Know

Blueberry Advisory System Alerts Growers to Conditions Favorable for Anthracnose Fruit Rot

Credit: Dr. Natalia Peres, Professor, Plant Pathology, UF

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The Latest on Hydrogen Cyanamide

Evaluating How Various Cultivars Respond to the Agent

Credits: Jacob Buck, graduate student; Jeff Williamson, professor; and Gerardo Nunez, assistant professor, Horticultural Sciences Department, IFAS, University of Florida 

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Bouncing Back

Florida Growers Report Rebound After a Weak 2020

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Summertime Challenges

How to Combat Algal Stem Blotch and Fungal Leaf Diseases

With the blueberry season over and summer upon us, it’s time to get ready for the diseases that will be issues for Florida growers over the next few months. A good scouting tool to use in monitoring for disease in the field is the UF/IFAS Blueberry Growers Guide. Resources in this guide include a diagnostic key, descriptions of symptoms, disease/insect life cycles, suggested management practices, an image gallery, and links to UF/IFAS blueberry extension publications.

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Controlling Chilli Thrips

Tools Available to Growers

Summertime in Florida brings with it an important insect pest on blueberries — chilli thrips. This pest was first recorded in blueberries in Florida in July 2008, and typically feeds on new vegetative growth after post-harvest pruning. Damage on foliage can be significant when there are heavy infestations, and control can sometimes be challenging. Although chilli thrips are familiar to many growers, it’s a good idea to review what we know about it and the control alternatives that are available.

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Essential Elements

Basics of Nutrient Sources for Blueberry Fertilization in Florida

There are 17 nutrient elements essential for blueberry production. These essential nutrient elements include nine macronutrients: carbon (C), hydrogen (H), oxygen (O), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and sulfur (S) and eight micronutrients: iron (Fe), boron (B), copper (Cu), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo), zinc (Zn), chlorine (Cl), and nickel (Ni), which was added to the list of essential elements in 2004 ( 

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New UF/IFAS Blueberry Cultivar Selection Tool Available for Growers

With the 2021 Florida blueberry season behind us, Florida growers will begin to determine whether they will plant any new blueberry cultivars and/or remove any existing ones. The UF/IFAS blueberry breeding program has developed a new tool to continue its assistance to growers in this task – a cultivar module included as part of the UF/IFAS Blueberry Growers Guide app. 

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UF researchers are looking for your input!

How do your blueberries get pollinated? What information would help you better manage pollination on your farm?

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Executive Director's Letter:Set to Thrive in Unprecedented Times

Unprecedented is a word that oddly seems to be used with regularity when describing things related to the Florida blueberry industry.  In the past several years, we have seen unprecedented volumes of Mexican blueberries in the Florida window. Last year, there was an unprecedented global pandemic that affected distribution, and sales during that first week of April came to an unprecedented halt.  We have unprecedented weather events, and at times there have been unprecedented demand and challenges with the H2A program… the list goes on.

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President's Letter: A Season of Perseverance and Adaptation

Every year Florida Blueberry growers approach the new harvest season with great anticipation dampened somewhat by a cloud of trepidation. There are so many factors at play that can move the outcome from good to bad that growers must be on their toes to steer their farms into and through the white waters of harvest season. We try to control what we can, but weather and the market can play havoc with our best laid plans.

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Growers’ Thoughts: Sentinel Cultivar to Be Planted in South Florida This Summer

Last fall, the University of Florida announced the release of a new southern highbush blueberry cultivar, Sentinel. It is an early, vigorous, high-yielding cultivar that has performed well in both North-Central and Central Florida, with no observed disease issues. It was not previously included in South Florida trial sites, but it will be planted at southern trial locations this summer. Also, machine harvest trials including this cultivar will begin next season. Sentinel has been tested in multiple flavor panels at UF, with tasters giving its flavor a high rating. 

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