West central Michigan small fruit regional report – June 23, 2015
Small fruit crops are ripening, but reports of winter damage and disease infections are hampering final crop results for some crops like strawberries and blueberries.
For the past week, temperatures in the west central region have remained in the upper 70s with an average daily maximum temperature of 78 degrees Fahrenheit and a minimum of 58 F. There were intense rains in the area that produced approximately 1.5-2 inches of precipitation. The prevailing temperature and relative humidity have favored diseases outbreak in strawberries and blueberries.
Currently, strawberries are being harvested in the area, but according to some growers, yields are down 20-25 percent with respect to the previous year. In addition, some growers are reporting extensive damage in fields with early season varieties, or in places where winter temperatures damaged plant crowns, which caused slow development and poor yield. Furthermore, recent rain delayed harvest, berries are getting overripe and fungal diseases are becoming a problem.
For blueberries, the situation is much better, but fields with old varieties and weakened by winter damage and virus diseases are showing extensive cane collapse due to a combination of winter and cane disease, mainly Phomopsis. Those fields may represent a potential problem for spotted wing Drosophila (SWD) management. Since there is not a commercial crop that can be harvested, growers may not wish to invest in pest control in those fields. Michigan State University Extension recommends that in those cases, growers maintain a spray program that comprises of spraying adjacent fields and at least one application of a broad spectrum insecticide on fields without a commercial crop, especially at harvest time when SWD populations increase to its maximum. For recommended products and dose, please consult the “2015 Michigan Fruit Management Guide” (Extension Bulletin E0154).
Spotted wing Drosophila training update
We will be providing a SWD training for Hispanic blueberry growers Saturday, June 27, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Trevor Nichols Research Center, 6237 124th Avenue, Fennville, MI 49408. This training includes classroom and hands-on experience using MSU Enviro-weather for improving insecticide applications against SWD. Training will be in Spanish. The program is free, but a $10 donation is encouraged to cover refreshments and some materials.