Friday, April 11, 2014

2014 NABG Research Foundation Grants

A belated congratulations to all the recipients of funds from the North American Bramble Growers Research Foundation.

The North American Bramble Growers Research Foundation has approved six projects for funding in 2014 for a total of $17,219. Eleven proposals requesting a total of $43,914 were received. Projects funded are:

    Evaluation of algicides for management of orange felt and fungicides for control of cane blight diseases of blackberry – Phil Brannen, University of Georgia, $2,632

    Identification of effective toxicants for inclusion in attracticidal spheres for management of Drosophila suzukii – Tracy Leskey, USDA-ARS Appalachian Fruit Research Station (WV), $5,000

    Developing the genomic infrastructure for breeding improved black raspberries – Chad Finn, Nahla Bassil, Jungmin Lee, Jill Bushakra, USDA-ARS (OR), $1,500

    Effects of non-crop habitat and patterns of movement by Drosophila suzukii on fruit infestation in commercial blackberry fields – Hannah Burrack, NC State University, $3,273

    Innovative packaging technologies to enhance the safety and the quality of fresh raspberry – Thomas Gianfagna and Kit Yam, Rutgers University, $3,814

    Electronic data collection/labeling for the USDA rubus genebank – Kim Hummer and Joseph Postman, USDA-ARS Germplasm Repository (OR), $1,000.

For more information:

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Where are the berries coming from this week? The National Berry Report

A quick way to check on origin of berries in your markets!

The California Strawberry Commission has developed a tool that pulls volume data for berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries) from the USDA AMS for the past week. The data represents volumes coming into the US from various countries, including the US.

For example, In the past week, according to data compiled from USDA-AMS, raspberries were coming from Southern and Central California and Mexico. While blackberries are mostly being shipped from Mexico with a smaller amount coming in from Guatemala.

Here is the link, it will automatically generate data on a daily basis.

From the California Strawberry Commission site: "The National Berry Report is generated from data compiled by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service which is available publicly on the USDA Fruit and Vegetable Market News website The California Strawberry Commission does not validate the accuracy of the data and is not responsible for any misuse of the data found therein. If you have any questions regarding the USDA Fruit and Vegetable Market News website and its content you may contact Fred Teensma at or 510-637-1815."

Friday, April 4, 2014

Budbreak in NC

It's been a busy spring here in NC. Lots of cold weather has left small fruit growers with some sleepless nights. However, spring has arrived and buds are breaking.

Here is a picture of Navaho bud break at the Vollmer Farm in Bunn NC on Monday. I took my HS 422 class there to see strawberries, blueberries and blackberries. We sliced open several blackberry buds, like the one in the picture below and did not see any damage.  The crop appears to be later than usual,  we usually see leaves that are larger and in some years, flowers have been open by the 1st of April (no fooling').
Navaho bud break March 31, 2014, Bunn NC.

The week before, I participated in the Foothills Farm School, and as part of that training for beginning and transitioning farmers, we visited Maple Spring Farms in Dallas NC. They are one of the few farms that has matted row strawberries and Kiowa blackberries. Their Kiowa blackberries were at about the same stage of bud break as the farm in eastern NC. We did see some buds with damage. We also saw secondary buds, so they should still have plenty of berries. 
Kiowa budbreak, March 27, 2014, Dallas, NC.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Organic Blackberry Production Webinar

Please see a link to a webinar “Organic Blackberry Production: Tips Learned from an Ongoing Research Project” that will be presented by researchers at Oregon State University and USDA-ARS in Corvallis. Keep in mind, this is for processing markets, varieties, pest complex and environmental conditions are different than ours in NC. However, you may find some interesting tips that may be applicable to growers in NC.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Nurseries Licensed to propgate ‘Nantahala’ Red Raspberry

Are you interested in growing some 'Nantahala' red raspberry plants this year? This is a list of nurseries licensed by NC State University to propagate 'Nantahala'. Other nurseries may buy and can resell plants, so there may be other sources of this cultivar, not listed below.

Daisy Farms
28355 Michigan 152, Dowagiac, MI 49047
(269) 782-6321

North American Plants, LLC
P.O. Box 743, Lafayette, OR 97127
877-NAP-INFO (627-4636)
Fax: 503-474-0872

Nourse Farms, Inc.
41 River Road, South Deerfield, MA 01373
Fax: 413-665-7888

Sakuma Brothers Farms (Norcal Nursery)
P.O. Box 427, Burlington, WA 98233
Phone 360-757-6611

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Assessing Winter Injury in the Piedmont and Western North Carolina Class Exercise

Guest writer: Nicholas Basinger, Graduate Student, Department of Horticultural Science with data collection help from HS 422 class members. Edited by G. Fernandez

Deep cold, accompanied by snow came into the state the last week of January.  Some growers were reporting temperatures in the negative single digits.  After this weather came and went,  growers were wondering if the frigid air had affected their crops.

Samples of whole canes were collected from 3 locations: the Piedmont Research Station (PRS) in Salisbury, NC, the Upper Mountain Research Station (UMRS) in Laurel Springs, NC and a grower site located near Hendersonville, NC.  We looked at 4 varieties of blackberries and 3 varieties of raspberry.

These samples were brought back to NCSU and dissected on February 10, 2014 as part of a class exercise in HS 422, Small Fruit Production.  The objective of the exercise was to determine if bud damage had occurred due to the cold temperatures in the past few weeks. Three buds from an upper lateral, three from a middle and three from a lower lateral (see drawing below) were dissected and assessed for damage.

We observed the most injury in raspberry varieties from the UMRS (elevation 2800 ft), which saw temperatures of -9 oF during the late January freeze.  By the time the freeze hit on Jan. 30,  780 chilling hours had accumulated at this site. Previous days to the lowest recorded temperature were in the mid 40’s.  This is almost a 50 degree temperature shift in a matter of 2 days.   Raspberries do not tolerate large temperature fluctuations and are more susceptible to cold damage when their chilling requirements have been met.  Almost all of the raspberry canes at this site showed bud damage throughout the cane. Fortunately, the raspberries sampled were primocane-fruiting types and will be mowed to the ground in a few weeks. They will  produce a crop on the primocanes later in the summer.  

In all locations, we observed some injury to blackberry buds.  In general, injury was observed on buds furthest from the crown. And the colder sites, Hendersonville and Upper Mountain Research  Station in Laurel Springs had more injury than the Piedmont Research Station in Salisbury.

Below are some examples of what to look for when dissecting caneberry buds. 

The cold temperatures have permanently damaged this Navaho bud. Notice that in the center of this bud there is a dark dot (necrosis).  This will not produce fruit in the spring.  Photo: Gina Fernandez

This picture is a great example of healthy Navaho bud.  Notice that the bud looks green and there are no signs of necrosis. Photo: Nicholas Basinger

If you are interested in taking samples from your field, we suggest you sample an entire cane as is illustrated in the diagram above to determine where the injury has occurred. If the majority of the injury is on distal portions of canes and laterals, those buds can be removed by pruning. For more on how to sample read this posting:

ALSO, here is a link to an awesome (GF opinion) video, showing how to dissect and look at buds,  click HERE. When dissecting it is VERY important to cut down middle of the bud; if you do not cut down the middle you may not be able to see damage if there is some present. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Assessing cold damage in blackberry and raspberry buds and wood at annual NC grower meeting

In early January, at the SE Vegetable and Fruit Expo in Savannah, GA, we set up a microscope and a magnifying glass (the kind you get in a craft store) to look at bud damage in blackberries. Most of the buds that I sampled looked good.

On Feb 6, 2014 we be looking at more samples at the annual meeting of the North Carolina Commercial Blackberry and Raspberry Association, in Shleby, NC. (Contact for meeting information). We will be looking at  samples collected  from our research blackberry and raspberry fields.

You are welcome to bring in some samples from your fields. We may not get to all of the samples, but we will train you to look at your own samples, so you can sample your own fields on a regular basis.

If you want to bring in some samples or prepare samples for evaluation at home, here is the protocol (courtesy of Michelle Warmund, University of Missouri):

  • cut 3-4  8" cane sections from a low, mid parts of a main cane and some laterals from the fruiting area
  • place each group of canes in  in a zippable gallon size plastic bag
  • label each bag with name of cultivar and where the cane was taken from the plant (low, mid, laterals)
  • store at room temperature for 4-5 days before the meeting.

At the meeting we will cut canes and check for injury symptoms. Dead cane sections and buds will have oxidized and turned brown after storage for 4-5 days in the zippable gallon size plastic bag. The sections from the lower and mid cane are needed to assess potential damage primarily to the canes. We will look at bud and cane damage on the laterals.

Here are some examples of bud and cane damage in West Virginia at the USDA Appalachian Fruit Research Station in Kearneysville, WV. The photos taken by Dr. Fumi Takeda.
Winter injury to blackberries. Plants with shriveled floricanes and primocanes are green and healthy. Photo: Fumi Takeda 
"Bark" scrapped off, showing oxidation of cambial/vascular tissues. Photo:Fumi Takeda

Primary bud is damaged as indicated by necrosis of partially differentiated inflorescence axis. Secondary bud is still undifferentiated, no sign of damage. Photo:Fumi Takeda.