West central Michigan small fruit regional report – June 28, 2016

Spotted wing Drosophila continues arriving on small fruit crops and last week it was found reproducing in strawberries.

Current weather conditions in the central region have been characterized by daily minimum temperatures averaging 59 degrees Fahrenheit and a daily maximum of 82 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, there have been a few rain showers that left up to 0.5 inch of rain in the area. This lack of consistent rain in the central region is occurring when the blueberry fruit is actively growing. If supplemental irrigation is not provided, water deficit may reduce fruit size and final yield.

In regards to small fruit crops, strawberries will be harvested for one more week or so. There were only a few problems in strawberries, most of them related to sap beetles and fruit rots. High temperatures and dry conditions during harvest helped to obtain a good yield with good fruit quality.

The hand-harvest of blueberries started in early varieties in Allegan, Kent and other counties in the central region. Fruit quality is good and yield is also very good. Birds seems to be a problem at those fields, especially in Allegan County.

A major challenge for small fruit crops, especially for blueberries, is the early arrival of spotted wing Drosophila (SWD). So far, most of the captures in our monitoring network have been in blueberry fields. However, for the past two weeks SWD have been found reproducing on strawberries in our area. Specimens found in strawberries corresponded to the SWD summer generation. These findings indicate the SWD population started building up there, and by the time blueberries are ripening the SWD will be in large numbers. Growers should be prepared to manage SWD as soon as it arrives in their fields.

Do not let SWD build up in your fields. Early detection and insecticide applications as soon as they are found in the field are critical to maintain SWD control during the season.

Upcoming meetings

Spotted Wing Drosophila Workshop on Thursday, June 30. We are taking the final count of people attending the SWD workshop in West Olive, Michigan. The last day to register is Wednesday, June 29, at 5 p.m. With the building up of SWD population observed during the past week, growers should be ready with their SWD management program. Attending this workshop will help growers take the guesswork out of their SWD management and control program. For more information on this workshop, including registration information, go to: 2016 Spotted Wing Drosophila Workshop.

Pre-harvest Twilight Meeting on Wednesday, June 29, in Ottawa County. Topics discussed will include herbicides and weed control, insect control at harvest, disease control at harvest and 2015 water quality study. For more information on these meetings, including an agenda and speakers, see “Blueberry pre-harvest meetings June 28-29, 2016.”

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