Making Headway Toward Machine Harvesting of Blueberries

Abbey Taylor Berries, Research, Technology, Top Posts, VSCNews magazine

By Doug Phillips With rising costs and declining availability of harvesting labor, blueberry growers are increasingly interested in considering machine harvesting for their crops. Cost is a particularly important factor because of declining profit margins due to competition from lower-cost areas of production. PROS AND CONS Hand harvesting produces high-quality fruit, but can cost between…

Mechanical Strawberry Harvester Could Solve Labor Shortage

Abbey Taylor Berries, Business, Research, Strawberry, Top Posts, VSCNews magazine

Labor continues to be a pressing issue for southeastern agriculture. However, in Florida, new technology on the horizon may offer a glimmer of hope. Gary Wishnatzki, owner of Wish Farms and co-founder of Harvest CROO Robotics, is working to create a mechanical harvester that could revolutionize the strawberry industry. LOOKING AHEAD TO LABOR Wishnatzki said…

Spider Mite Research Heats Up

Abbey Taylor Berries, Pests, Research, Strawberry, Top Posts

Two-spotted spider mites are a major issue in Florida strawberries. Justin Renkema, former assistant professor at the University of Florida (UF), says mites make their way into Florida fields by blowing in from neighboring fields, but they may also be coming on strawberry transplants from nurseries. After proving that spider mites were coming to Florida…

Managing Spider Mites in Florida Strawberries

Abbey Taylor Berries, Pests, Strawberry, Top Posts

As two-spotted spider mites continue to be a serious issue in Florida strawberry fields, Justin Renkema, former assistant professor at the University of Florida, has been working with his colleagues to figure out where these spider mites come from and how best to manage them. He has conducted spider mite research over the past two…

Citrus Root Weevil Invades Florida Blueberries

Abbey Taylor Berries, Industry News Release, Top Posts

The Florida Blueberry Growers Association (FBGA) and the University of Florida (UF) are warning Florida blueberry growers to be on the lookout for citrus root weevil. A pest that has been an issue in citrus for years has made its way on to another crop entirely, causing significant damage in central and south central Florida.…

georgia blueberry

Georgia Blueberry Growers Suffer Second Consecutive Year of Loss

Dan Cooper Berries, Industry News Release, Top Posts

Commissioner Gary W. Black hosted a conference call to connect Georgia blueberry growers and agricultural industry representatives with U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Bill Northey to discuss recent loss assessments for the 2018 blueberry crop. According to University of Georgia Extension, overall losses of both highbush and rabbiteye varieties could exceed 60 percent. This…

Be Aware of Blueberry Gall Midge

Abbey Taylor Berries, Industry News Release, Pests, Top Posts

Recently, the Florida Blueberry Growers Association (FBGA) sent out a release saying gall midge was the cause of severe crop loss within the Florida blueberry industry. Since the announcement, Oscar Liburd, an entomologist with the University of Florida, has written a report for Florida blueberry growers, describing the plant symptoms and management recommendations. The FBGA…

Blueberry Growers from Florida, Georgia Support NAFTA Renegotiations

Abbey Taylor Berries, Industry News Release, NAFTA, Top Posts, Trade

The Florida Blueberry Growers Association (FBGA) and the Georgia Blueberry Growers Association (GBGA) teamed up to write a letter about the need for modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Blueberries, among other specialty crops, from Florida and Georgia have been facing heavy competition from Mexican imports, making it difficult to keep up…