Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Blackberry pricing

Please help the North American Raspberry and Blackberry Association determine pricing of fruit for this upcoming harvest season. See the message below from their Executive Secretary Debby Wechsler. Click on the link at the end of her message for the short questionnaire. She will publish these prices as she always does in the summer issue of "The Bramble".  Please respond by May 31st!

Dear Growers: 

What are your berry prices this year? The North American Raspberry & Blackberry Association is surveying growers about their raspberry & blackberry pricing for 2016. We are especially interested in prices for pick-your-own and retail (eg on-farm and at farmers markets). We will also report local wholesale prices (such as to stores and restaurants) if you provide them. If you don't know your 2016 prices yet, you can just provide your 2015 prices or best estimates.

As we did last year, we will report the results in the June issue of our newsletter. We will also share the report with all non-members who participate in the survey.

The more growers who participate, the more useful the survey is, so feel free to share this message and link with other raspberry & blackberry growers, especially those who direct-market at least some of their berries to consumers. 
Click here for the questionnaire. Please respond by May 31st!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Blackberry flowering

Blackberries are in full bloom or beyond at the Piedmont Research Station today. Here are some shots  taken from the RCA trellis plots. All cultivars have some flower kill as can be seen by the black dots in the centers of the flowers. Flowers with those blackened centers will not develop into fruit. We will take viable flower counts next week.



Thursday, April 7, 2016

Damage to blackberry flowers at 27°F

There are reports coming of damage to blackberry flower bud from the freeze on Feb 5/6.
Make sure you check your fields to assess damage.  Left  image above shows shoot damage, leaves and buds were killed. Right image above shows flower bud damage. The center part also called the receptacle is the part of the flower that eventually develops into the fruit.

What to look for:

  • The buds will look green but if you cut them open, the center will be brown/black.
  •  The leaves may look fine or if it was really cold the leaves will also show damage as in the figure above. 

Fumi Takeda, USDA-ARS in West Virginia gradually exposed blackberry buds to cold temperatures, and unlike other berry crops, found that the killing temperature was 27.5 °F for all stages of flowers. Here his data:

What he found:

  • Critical temperature is between 27-28° F.
  • Within a flower, organs that will comprise the fruit were more susceptible to freezing temperatures.
  • Within an inflorescence, all open and unopen flower buds produced exotherm (were damaged) at the same time.  
  • In spring, blackberry (flower) has little or no freeze tolerance.

What can be done for the upcoming weekend freeze to minimize more damage:
  • Make sure any cover crop is mowed as close to the ground as possible to move the cold layer closer to ground
More information will be posted as we assess the situation.

For more information see links from previous years:

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Help needed for SWD project!

Measuring spotted wing drosophila impacts – Your help needed!

Our recently funded USDA NIFA Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) project Sustainable Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) Management for United States Fruit Crops is surveying fruit growers with two goals:
1. To measure the impact of SWD throughout the United States, and
2. To guide our project activities over the next four years.
This five-year project, coordinated through the Burrack Laboratory at NC State University, is developing national research and extension projects to minimize the impacts of SWD. They include new management tactics and programs, improved insecticide efficacy for SWD, and information and training on SWD for growers, extension agents, and others. In order to achieve this and ensure that the research and extension efforts match the needs of growers, the project is collecting information on the impacts of SWD on small fruit growers, current management practices and preferences, and your requirements for better management of SWD. Participation is voluntary, and the survey does not collect personally identifying information, and the data will only be analyzed and reported in aggregate form.
We would like to get feedback from as many growers as possible! Please complete the survey here:
Contact Hannah Burrack for additional information.
Funding for this project is provided by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crops Research Initiative under Agreement No. 2015-51181-24252

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

#SCIFIE Video of women plant and animal breeders for International Women's Day

In honor of International Women's Day, I thought I would post a video by Alison Van Eenennaam, Cooperative Extension Specialist, Animal Genomics and Biotechnology, UC Davis. She made this video of Animal and Plant breeders for the PAG meetings in 2016. If you watch it long enough, you will likely see a few people you know. 

Here is the info from the You Tube channel: 
This 4 minute piece is a parody written to the song "but first let me take a selfie" by the Chainsmokers. The video shows scifies of female plant and animal breeders from around the world emphasizing the important role women play in this field - both historically and at the current time - and also emphasizing the passion these women have for science, their careers and their family lives.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Scientific study review reveals health promoting potential of red raspberries

Scientific study review reveals health promoting potential of red raspberries: Components in red raspberries may have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative and metabolic stabilizing activity, according to a comprehensive review of the available scientific literature published in the January issue of Advances in Nutrition. These properties shed light on the potential role of red raspberries in helping to reduce the risk of metabolically-based chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, obesity, and Alzheimer's disease: all of which share critical metabolic, oxidative, inflammatory links.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

2016 Southeast Regional Caneberry Production Guide is Now Available!

In collaboration with David Lockwood at the University of Tennessee, Elena Garcia at the University of Arkansas and Gina Fernandez, NC State University/NC Cooperative Extension Service (NCCES),  and the Southern Region Small Fruit Consortium, we are pleased to announce that the

2016 Southeast Regional Caneberry Production Guide is now available. 

We have it available in 3 formats:

1. An online version that includes links to videos This is the first NCCES numbered publication to include videos!

There is also a PDF version in 2 formats. Both are 44 pages long and includes all the text, color images and figures that the online version has but no videos.  

2. The PDF version that is a smaller file size (3.2 MB) is available here: (lower quality but really not bad).   

3. A high quality PDF version (12 MB) is available on request.