A new University of Florida (UF) smartphone app will provide immediate help to the state’s blueberry producers who are gearing up for the upcoming season.
It is the first phase of a two-part project that Patricio Munoz, the UF/IFAS blueberry breeder and an assistant professor of horticultural sciences, tackled in hopes of consolidating chunks of information into one place that is easily accessible.
“We wanted to release it right away because the season is coming. We’ve been telling the growers we’re going to release this and we decided to release it by phase. The phase one is just this and the second phase is going to be the cultivars. At least they’re going to have something to help them as quick as possible,” Munoz said.
He said the app tailored towards blueberry cultivars will be released later.
The UF/IFAS Blueberry Growers Guide phone app was released on Dec. 1. Growers can access information vital to blueberry production every year, specifically disease and insect management.
“The university, my colleagues have done a very good job generating this information. It’s just that nobody has put it together the way that we did it right now. We didn’t put the content together, we just organized it,” Munoz said. “We did work a little bit in the content, too, of course but most of it was done by colleagues in entomology, plant pathology and production.”
Valuable Crop in Florida
According to a UF press release, blueberries are a $60 million-per-year crop in Florida. Munoz estimated there between 5,200 and 5,400 acres with between 60 and 80 producers in the state.
A key advantage that smartphone apps provide producers is they do not have to carry a bulky growers guide into the field anymore. All the information they need is on their smartphones.
“That’s the assumption is that every grower has a smartphone nowadays. That’s why we put it together for both android and also iPhone. It should work in both systems,” Munoz said.
“Everybody has either one of them. It will make life a lot easier for a lot of people. Then if you’re in a place that doesn’t have a good signal you can download the whole thing and use offline as well.”