Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Blackberry Botrytis Resistance Profile


Botrytis (gray mold) is a common sight in strawberry fields, especially if it has been a rainy season. Although less common in blackberry fields, it can occur.

Guido Schnabel, Clemson Univ. is offering to test blackberry/raspberry samples to determine if you have resistance to  botrytis (gray mold) fungicides at your farm. He has done this for strawberry growers for a number of years and some blackberry growers have also used this service. It is a great way to determine if what you are spraying is effective in controlling gray mold.

See the link below for downloadable instructions. They suggest you use the swabs instead of fruit, because they are easier to ship. Note also that each farm will get 2 free samples analyzed, if you would like more than that, there will be a $110 charge.

Please share these with folks that may be interested.

Sample document link:


For more information on the service see:
http://www.clemson.edu/extension/horticulture/fruit_vegetable/peach/diseases/br_strawberry.html

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Summer checklist for blackberries and raspberries

Summer  2016
Caneberry Chores

This list was developed by Dr. Gina Fernandez, Small Fruit Specialist at NC State University.  Chores and timing may be somewhat different in your area or for your cropping system. 

Some parts of the region have had excessive rain, so stay on top of your disease monitoring and control (see link to IPM guide below). There are early reports of SWD, stay on top of that pest as well. See post by Hannah Burrack https://entomology.ces.ncsu.edu/2016/06/preventing-and-managing-spotted-wing-drosophila-infestation/



Plant growth and development
Fruit development for floricanes fruiting types
Rapid primocane growth
Flower bud development for primocane fruiting types later in summer
Floricanes senesce

Pruning and trellising

Floricane-fruiting raspberries:
May need to adjust primocane numbers if canes are too thick (i.e. remove less vigorous primocanes at their base)
Train primocanes to the trellis
Pinch black raspberry primocanes at 2 to 3 ft. to promote lateral growth

Primocane-fruiting raspberries:
Train primocanes within a trellis to hold canes erect

Erect floricane -fruiting blackberries
Tip the new primocanes when they are about 6” to 12” below the top wire of the trellis to encourage lateral branching
Continue tipping at monthly intervals to maintain desired branching and height of canopy (laterals should reach top wire), if pruners are used, make sure that a fungicide is applied as cane blight will enter that large wound are created by the pruners
Prune out spent floricanes after they have produced fruit, do not thin out primocanes until mid-to late winter
Train primocanes to trellis to minimize interference with harvest.  Shift trellises or V trellises make this relatively easy

Trailing floricane-fruiting blackberries
Train new primocanes to middle of trellis, on the ground in a weed-free area, or temporarily to trellis outside of fruiting area (depends on trellis type)
Cut back side shoots to 18” (after dormancy in cold climates)
Remove spent floricanes after harvest

Primocane-fruiting blackberries
Tip canes twice, soft tip once when they reach 1.5 ft and then soft tip the laterals at 1.5 ft. 

Weed management
Mow along side of row to maintain the width of the bed to 3 to 4 ft. 
Weed growth can be very vigorous at the same time as the crop peaks. 
Weed control is best done earlier in the season before harvest commences. 
Mow middles regularly to allow pickers to move through rows easily.

Insect and disease scouting
Scout and treat for these pests: 
Insects
Raspberry crown and cane borers (canes girdled and wilt)
Psyllid 
Two-spotted spider mite
June beetle
Japanese beetles
Stink bugs
Fire ants
Diseases
Botrytis
Rusts
Orange felt (orange cane blotch) (blackberry)
Sooty blotch (blackberry)
Orange rust
Powdery mildew
Double blossom (blackberry)
Cane blight (blackberry)
Powdery mildew

Water management
Raspberry and blackberry plants need about 1-2 inches of water/week; this amount is especially critical during harvest. 
Give plants a deep irrigation after harvest.

Nutrient management
Take leaf samples after harvest and send to a clinic for nutrient analysis
Blackberry growers typically use drip irrigation through the spring and early summer to supply about 50 lb/N acre. Growers should ease off N during harvest, but give plants additional nitrogen (about 10-30 lbs/acre) after harvest. Amounts needed will vary with plant health, crop load and soil conditions. Check with your local Extension agent for recommendations. 

Harvest and marketing
The busiest time of the year for a blackberry or raspberry grower is the harvest season. Each plant needs to be harvested every 2-3 days. For larger plantings, that means fruit is picked from some part of the field every day of the week.
Pick blackberries when shiny black for shipping. Those that are dull black are fully ripe and suitable for PYO only.
Pick directly into clamshells with absorbent pads, or for PYO use clean cardboard flats, take-home baskets, or sanitized re-usable containers.
Keep harvested fruit in shade and move into coolers as soon as possible to lengthen the shelf life of the fruit.
Use forced-air precoolers for best removal of field heat.
Store at 32 to 34°F and 95% relative humidity.
Freeze excess fruit for jam, juice, or wine.
Keep excellent records of what cultivars are picked, what fields are picked and when they are picked. Good record keeping will help you predict harvest  potential in the future.
Keep your customers informed with social media. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Raspberry and Blackberry Grades and Standards

While searching for other statistics on caneberries, I came across this information that some of you may be interested in browsing as you enter the harvest season. The USDA has grades and standards for the quality rating of raspberries and blackberries.  The raspberry grades/standards were established in 1931 and blackberry in 1928.

Below are grades and standards for both crops, the actual grades/standards allowed by some shipping companies can be more restrictive, eg. no white drupelets. Local markets rarely follow these standards (at least I have not seen them). If you would like more information, the original  links can be found at:

https://www.ams.usda.gov/grades-standards/fresh-dewberries-and-blackberries-grades-and-standards
https://www.ams.usda.gov/grades-standards/raspberries-grades-and-standards

Fresh Dewberries and Blackberries Grades and Standards


Grades of Fresh Dewberries and Blackberries

  1. U.S. No. 1 consists of dewberries or blackberries of one variety which are firm, well colored, well developed and not overripe, which are free from caps (calyxes), mold and decay, and from damage caused by dirt or other foreign matter, shriveling, moisture, disease, insects, mechanical or other means.
a.    Tolerances. In order to allow for variations incident to proper grading and handling, not more than 10 percent, by volume, of the berries in any lot may fail to meet the requirements of this grade, including therein not more than 5 percent for defects causing serious damage, and including in this latter amount not more than 1 percent for berries which are affected by mold or decay.
  1. U.S. No. 2 consists of dewberries or blackberries of one variety which fail to meet the requirements of the U.S. No. 1 grade but which do not contain more than 10 percent, by volume, of berries in any lot which are seriously damaged by any cause, including therein not more than 2 percent for berries which are affected by mold or decay.
  2. Unclassified consists of dewberries or blackberries which have not been classified in accordance with either of the foregoing grades. The term "unclassified" is not a grade within the meaning of these standards but is provided as a designation to show that no grade has been applied to the lot.

Detailed standards, Inspection Instructions & Other Resources:


Raspberries Grades and Standards


Grades of Raspberries

  1. U.S. No. 1 consists of raspberries of one variety which are well colored, well developed and not soft, overripe, or broken; which are free from cores, sunscald, mold, and decay, and from damage caused by dirt or other foreign matter, shriveling, moisture, disease, insects, mechanical or other means.
a.    Tolerances. In order to allow for variations incident to proper grading and handling, not more than 10 percent, by volume, of the berries in any lot may fail to meet the requirements of this grade, including therein not more than 5 percent for defects causing serious damage, and including in this latter amount not more than 1 percent for berries which are affected by mold or decay.
  1. U.S. No. 2 consists of raspberries of one variety which fail to meet the requirements of the U.S. No. 1 grade but which do not contain more than 10 percent, by volume, of berries in any lot which are seriously damaged by any cause, including therein not more than 2 percent for berries which are affected by mold or decay.
  2. Unclassified consists of raspberries which have not been classified in accordance with either of the foregoing grades. The term "unclassified'' is not a grade within the meaning of these standards but is provided as a designation to show that no grade has been applied to the lot.

Detailed standards, Inspection Instructions & Other Resources:

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.
Apache

Oucahita

Von

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:
http://teamrubus.blospot.com/search?q=freeze

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: https://survey.ncsu.edu/swd/
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