Small Fruit Research and Outreach Blog
April 20, 2017
Please find below links available to download the following presentations from the workshop held on April 20, 2017. The title of the workshop was, “Small Fruit Food Safety Workshop – Managing from Field to Market”. Please note some of the information in these presentations are subject to change, particularly information regarding the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Special thanks to the Washington Red Raspberry Commission and Washington Blueberry Commission for their support. Also, special thanks to all of the speakers.
How to Test Irrigation Water
Kent Oostra, Exact Scientific
Implementing FSMA in the Field – What we do and Don’t Know about What FDA will Expect from Growers
Anne Morrell, Hansen Fruit Co. (to be uploaded later)
Global G.A.P. Certification for Blueberry Growers – Overview
Astrid Goplen, Goplen Ag Services
What is Really Happening to those Berries Once they Leave your Farm? Food Safety throughout the Food Chain
Stephanie Smith, Washington State University
April 19, 2017
The following article by McArt et al. (2016) was published last November and I thought now would be a good time to share the take-home messages, given we are approaching bloom time in Washington blueberry. The title of the article is “Floral Scent Mimicry and Vector-Pathogen Associations in a Pseudoflower-Inducing Plant Pathogen System”. The take home messages of this article are:
- “Pseudoflowers” mimic plant flowers and their volatiles. They are created by fungal pathogens to promote dispersal of spores via insects. This mechanism was studied in blueberry infected with mummy berry [Monilinia vaccinii-corymbosi (Mvc)].
- The scientists developed a lab-based method to detect Mvc spores on honey bees, flies, and other potential insect vectors. They also collected volatiles from flowers and leaves (healthy and infected) from blueberry and manipulated these volatiles to assess attractiveness to potential insect vectors.
- Both bees and flies contacted flowers more than the other assayed insects; they also contacted healthy and infected leaves, with flowers contacted the most. Bees contacted flowers more than flies, but flies contacted infected leaves more than bees.
- Bees had more Mvc spores on their bodies than flies, indicating they may be more effective vectors at transmitting these spores relative to flies.
- Leaves infected with Mvc spores produced volatiles that were different from healthy leaves, but similar to flowers; two of these volatiles were attractive to bees (none of the other assayed volatiles were attractive to flies nor other insects included in the study).
- Summary – Infection by Mvc spores on blueberry leaves induces mimicry of floral volatiles, which promotes infection of flowers through insect dispersal of fungal spores. Honey bees are the most efficient transmitters of Mvc spores relative to flies and the other insects included in the study.
Check out the full article at: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0165761
April 18, 2017
LAST REMINDER TO REGISTER – there will be a workshop focused on food safety of small fruits on April 20, 2017. The event will be held in Prosser, WA, with broadcasting to Lynden and Mount Vernon. Further information and registration can be done at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2908400. The agenda can be found above and on the registration website. Certificates will be available for those that attend and complete the workshop training.
April 17, 2017
The Washington Red Raspberry Commission Spring Newsletter was released (WRRC Spring Newsletter). Please note the following field days/events for 2017:
July 19 Machine Harvest Field Day, time TBA, Maberry Packing Lake Field
July 20 British Columbia Clearbrook Substation Raspberry Field Day, time TBA, Clearbrook Research Station
July 31 Soilborne Disease Management Field Day, 2pm Lynden, location TBA, WSDA pesticide credits available
April 14, 2017
As we gear up for the pollination season, I thought I’d share the interesting article published by Gibbs et al. (2016) titled, “Contrasting Pollinators and Pollination in Native and Non-Native Regions of Highbush Blueberry Production“. The link the the full article is below at the end of this post.
Some of the interesting take-home messages are:
- Flower visitation from honey bees (Apis mellifera) and other wild pollinators were compared in commercial ‘Bluecrop’ fields in British Columbia and Michigan. Other variables measured include fruit set, berry size, seed number, yield, pollination deficits, and economic impact.
- The authors wanted to see how these variables were impacted by region (British Columbia vs. Michigan, with British Columbia considered outside of the native blueberry production range) and local- and landscape-scale factors.
- Wild bee diversity was greater in Michigan, where blueberry is in its native range and likely has better access to native pollinators specializing in Vaccinium -species pollination.
- Honey bee visits were greater in Michigan than British Columbia, regardless of stocking rate; berry weights were lower and pollination deficits higher in British Columbia compared to Michigan. I wonder if this is due to environmental conditions during the bloom time, as they tend not to be favorable to honey bee pollination in British Columbia (as well as northwest Washington).
- Pollination services in British Columbia increased with greater abundance of wild bumble bees (Bombus spp).
- The proportion of semi-natural habitat (versus disturbed habitat) at both scales (landscape and local) was positively correlated with wild bee abundance in both Michigan and British Columbia.
- WIld pollinator abundance declined with distance from natural or semi-natural vegetative borders in Michigan, but not in British Columbia, which may be due to the flight ability of bumble bees found in higher populations in British Columbia.
- Interestingly, honey bee stocking rate was not related to fruit set nor measured yield variables. This is in contrast to what we have observed in ‘Duke’ blueberry grown in Whatcom County, WA, in 2016 (study will be repeated in 2017).
- Also interesting, wild bee abundance in blueberry fields increased when rows were oriented perpendicular to border vegetation (versus parallel), suggesting pollinator activity from wild bees and other pollinators may increase when oriented perpendicular to rows.
- This study is interesting because it provides information that can be used to design improved pollination strategies for blueberry, which is an issue in northwest Washington. This is an active area of research in the WSU Small Fruit Horticulture Program.
April 13, 2017
Reminder to Register – there will be a workshop focused on food safety of small fruits on April 20, 2017. The event will be held in Prosser, WA, with broadcasting to Lynden and Mount Vernon. Further information and registration can be done at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2908400. The agenda can be found above and on the registration website.
You can also listen to the following talk on “Meeting Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Standards”. This talk was presented by Ms. Barbara Fick at the Western Washington Berry Workshop in March 2017.
April 12, 2017
Below is a link to an article on tips to improve pollination in blueberry published in the Oregon Blueberry Update Spring 2017:
April 11, 2017
Blueberry flower development is progressing along slowly in western Washington. The photos below are of ‘Duke’ and ‘Draper’ blueberry, with fields at early to late pink bud development. Development is expected to continue along slowly with the forecasted cool and wet weather. However, some growers are preparing for pollination by beginning to bring in honey bees for pollination.
April 10, 2017
Reminder – there will be a workshop focused on food safety of small fruits on April 20, 2017. The event will be held in Prosser, WA, with broadcasting to Lynden and Mount Vernon. Further information and registration can be done at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2908400. The agenda can be found above and on the registration website.
April 7, 2017
One pollination experiment we will be continuing on with from 2016 is the supplementation of honey bee pollination with bumble bees [native yellow-faced bumble bee (Bombus vosnesenskii)]. Bumble bees are widely believed to be more efficient pollinators of blueberry, as they tend to remain active under marginal weather conditions that otherwise limit honey bee pollination and are able to sonicate, or buzz pollinate, which promotes release of blueberry pollen. In 2016, we observed no benefit of supplementing ‘Draper’ blueberry fields stocked with 3-4 honey bee hives/acre with an additional 3 hives/acre of bumble bees. We are repeating the experiment in 2017 to see if we get consistent results across the years. Given the current trajectory for this year’s bloom, we may observe more of a benefit from bumble bees given weather conditions have been cool and wet, which does not favor honey bee activity.
Interestingly, the following study by Cambpell et al. (2017) was recently published. These investigators studied the impact of caged bumble bees (B. impatiens) in ‘Emerald’ and ‘Millennia’ blueberry grown in Florida and observed no increase in fruit set nor weight compared to open pollination. Some of my entomology colleagues suggested this could be due to the effects of caging, which may interfere with bumble bee activity and reduce pollination. It will be interesting to compare our results to this and other studies with bumble bees. Our goal, however, will be to develop tools and recommendations on how growers can improve pollination and fruit set. Sometimes knowing what doesn’t consistently work is equally as valuable as knowing what does work.
April 6, 2017
The WSU Small Fruit Horticulture program is gearing up to continue and initiate several new pollination experiments in blueberry during the 2017 growing season. This blog will provide information on those trials and preliminary data as it develops. The post below reviews data from the 2016 growing season presented by PhD Graduate Student, Matt Arrington.
April 5, 2017
Bloom time in blueberries is still some time away and development has been delayed due to cool, wet weather. Yet, many growers are planning for the arrival of their honey bee hives and thinking about hive placement. Improving pollination and fruit set is an active area of research within the WSU Small Fruit Horticulture program and updates on the research will be posted on this blog. However, I thought I’d share the following article by Good Fruit Grower‘s Ross Courtney regarding best pollination practices. The article was written with tree fruit growers in mind, but many of the principles apply to other small fruits, including blueberry.
April 4, 2017
Sticking with the same topic as yesterday, below is a presentation by Drs. Tom Walters and Alan Schreiber about disease management, with special attention to mummy berry and botrytis. This presentation was delivered March 23, 2017, at the Western Washington Small Fruit Workshop and provides recent updates on disease management and fungicide efficacy.
April 3, 2017
Given we are entering a period when mummy berry pressure is at its highest, I am posting both Dr. Dalphy Harteveld’s presentation on mummy berry biology and the WSU Small Fruit Pathology Mummy Berry Update. The weekly update provides information on development of the mummy berry mushroom (i.e., apothecia) and spore release in Whatcom and Skagit counties so that growers can better time their management.
March 31, 2017
New Workshop Announced – the Small Fruit Food Safety Workshop – Managing from Field to Market. This event will occur on April 20, 2017. The event will be held in Prosser, WA, with broadcasting to Lynden and Mount Vernon. Further information and registration can be done at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2908400. The agenda can be found below and on the registration website.
March 30, 2017
We are still scoring blueberry buds after our recent cold hardiness assay on Monday, March 27. With leading bud stages advancing, we are seeing a predicted loss of hardiness in buds and flower tissues. Pictures below demonstrate the observed damage in ‘Duke’ and ‘Draper’ at different temperatures relative to our control (i.e., not subjected to cold temperature treatments).
March 29, 2017
Field days for the 2017 growing season are being scheduled. Please see the dates below and stay tuned, as additional details will be posted on this blog as they develop.
Washington State University Field Days
- Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center Annual Field Day, July 13, afternoon
- Location: Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center (WSU NWREC) in Mount Vernon, WA
- Description: This annual field day will include a three-stop tour where graduate students will provide short presentations of their research next to field plots. A poster session, barbecue, and children’s art show are also scheduled. This field day provides a great opportunity to learn about research being done in the disciplines of small fruit and vegetable horticulture, plant pathology, entomology, food science, plant breeding, and animal science. It also provides a good opportunity to interact with researchers. Admission is free.
- Western Washington Annual Small Fruit Field Day, TBA
- This annual field day will provide an update small fruit field research and offer hands-on learning opportunities. The field day will be held in Lynden, WA, and admission will be free. Stay tuned for more details.
Oregon State University’s Field Days at the North Willamette Research and Extension Center in Aurora, OR
- Strawberry Field Day, June 7, 1 – 4pm
- Caneberry Field Day, June 28, 1-5pm
- Blueberry Field Day, July 12, 1 – 5pm
March 28, 2017
Just an update on blueberry bud development. Below are pictures of ‘Duke’ and ‘Draper’ fields located in Skagit County. We are about three weeks behind from last year and weather conditions are still wet. The leading bud stage for both cultivars is bud break, although a few buds can be found at tight cluster and early pink tip.
March 27, 2017
We received these plants last week from Dr. Amit Dhingra, WSU faculty member in the Department of Horticulture. They are a type of huckleberry and we will be planting them in our blueberry cultivar trial here at WSU NWREC in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for updates regarding this new plant material we have in our test plots.
March 24, 2017
The Whatcom Ag Monthly published the following article on soil fumigation alternatives in red raspberry this week. With the loss of broadcast applications of Telone C-35 in red raspberry systems in Washington, this article may be of particular interest to growers:
March 23, 2017
Today is the day of the 2017 Western Washington Berry Workshop. Today I am also announcing the Small Fruit Food Safety Workshop – Managing from Field to Market. This event will occur on April 20, 2017. The event will be held in Prosser, WA, with broadcasting to Lynden and Mount Vernon. Further information and registration can be done at: http://bpt.me/2908400. Note – we are getting sponsorship and the prices will be reduced to $30-40. Stay tuned for more information.
March 22, 2017
One more reminder for the 2017 Western Washington Berry Workshop to be held Thursday, March 23. The cost is $15 and includes lunch. Presentations will be made by speakers at the Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center in Mount Vernon, with remote sites available in Whatcom, Lewis, and Clark counties (lunch provided at remote sites, as well). To sign up and view the agenda, please go to:
March 20, 2017
This posting comes from Knoxville, Tennessee. I am attending an annual project meeting for a national biodegradable mulch research and extension project in the capacity of a project advisor. This meeting is a great example of transdisciplinary collaboration and where there is good communication between researchers and industry members, particularly mulch manufacturers.
The application of biodegradable mulches in small fruit production systems is one area of interest in my own research and outreach program, which readers will hear more about as time and this blog evolves. For now and for those interested in learning more about biodegradable mulches, I encourage you to visit the project’s website. Of use for growers is the list of biodegradable mulch projects that are commercially available. It is worthwhile to note that there are many different mulch products, each formulated differently and with varying thickness. These differences will impact functionality and performance in the field. If you are interested in using these products and learning more, please visit the website below and/or reach out to me; I will be happy to help pull together resources and information to help guide your decision.
March 18, 2017
This specimen was submitted to me yesterday, March 18. It was collected in Sumas and appears to be the first brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys; BMSB) found in Whatcom County. First evaluation by WSU entomologist, Dr. Bev Gerdeman, positively identified this specimen as BMSB. BMSB has been found in BC and Oregon, as well as other counties in Washington. There is concern about the impact this insect can have on small fruits, but time and research will tell.
March 17, 2017
Our lab is halfway through evaluating and scoring blueberry buds from this week’s cold hardiness assay done on samples collected in Skagit County. We evaluate damage by dissecting the three uppermost flower buds on six shoots per cultivar and temperature treatment under a microscope. We then count the number of dead versus living flowers within each bud (we also evaluate for damage at the vascular connection between the flower bud and shoot). This week, we are seeing 100% of buds with damage in both ‘Duke’ and ‘Draper’ at -16 C (3.2 F). We’re seeing less damage at -15 and -14 C (5 and 6.8 F, respectively). Hardiness is decreasing fast relative to our previous assays in Skagit and is decreasing due to warmer temperatures and wet conditions. Despite this, I don’t see any immediate cause for concern at this point in time and with forecasted temperatures. Another summary from this week’s assay will be posted next week.
March 15, 2017
Due to the shortage of Telone (specifically 1,3-dichloropropene; 1,3-D), Trident Ag. has decided to stop broadcast applications of Telone and only apply it via bed fumigation in raspberry. This leaves some growers questioning how to move forward with their soilborne disease management plans, as many growers relied on broadcast applications of Telone. I thought this would be a good opportunity to highlight the following research by Drs. Tom Walters and Inga Zasada. They have studied bed fumigation, as well as compared broadcast applications of Telone C-35 to Vapam and Dominus. Please read more at the following link below. In short, bed fumigation is a good tool for root lesion nematode management and reduces buffers. However, for those that elect to not bed fumigate, broadcast applications of Vapam and Dominus have been promising in sandy loam soils, where nematodes tend to reside shallower in the soil profile.
March 14, 2017
Welcome the the Small Fruit Horticulture research blog. The purpose of this blog is to share information about small fruit horticulture, as well as to provide regular updates on activities being conducted by the small fruit horticulture program led by Dr. DeVetter.
Today, I’ll start by summarizing development. Development still continues slowly in both raspberries and blueberries and it’s been wet on both sides of the mountains. My estimates are that we are 2-3 weeks behind development relative to last year, depending on the location. Cold hardiness in blueberry (‘Duke’ and ‘Draper’) has decreased rapidly these past 2-3 weeks based on our assays in Mount Vernon, but there is no immediate cause for alarm as I don’t foresee temperatures reaching the point where we start to see damage in our experiments.
Seems like a lot of growers are waiting for a break in weather to work their fields and/or fixing irrigation systems as weather permits. Field activity is low for those that have gotten their pruning done. My research program has also been waiting for a break in the weather to start spring soil sampling and establishing 2017 field experiments (more on that later).
We started this morning collecting ‘Duke’ and ‘Draper’ stem samples in Skagit County for our cold hardiness assay today. The pictures below demonstrate the developmental stage and how wet some of our fields are right now.