West central Michigan small fruit update – June 25, 2019

Growers have excellent fruit for strawberry and raspberry harvests. We have another spotted wing Drosophila workshop in Spanish for blueberry growers this week.

The MSU Extension small program is hosting another spotted wing Drosophila (SWD) workshop in Spanish on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, at the MSU Trevor Nichols Research Center, Fennville, MI for growers interested in improving their IPM program to manage spotted wing Drosophila in 2019. More details are at the bottom of this article.

For the last seven days weather conditions in west central Michigan have been problematic to say the least. Rains and low temperatures have delayed plant growth and development for at least one week in relation to 2018. So far, average minimum daily temperatures for the last seven days were 56 degrees Fahrenheit and the daily maximum averaged 76 degrees.

Precipitation during the same period ranged from 1.07 to 2.22 inches of rain. The heaviest precipitations occurred around the Fennville-Grand Junction region. Under the current weather conditions, growing degree day (GDD) (base 50 F) accumulation since March 1, 2019, ranged from 615 at the Fennville area and 800 at the Grand Junction area.

Currently, strawberries are in the third week of harvest with fruit of excellent quality and flavor. So far, no substantial problems have been observed or reported by growers.

Summer raspberries on the other hand are ripening, and harvest started this week. Fruit is of excellent quality and flavor.

Regarding blueberries, fields continue to progress, especially around Allegan County. North of Allegan, blueberry fruit development is almost a week behind those observed in Van Buren and southern Allegan County.

One major problem, especially for blueberry growers, is the rain. Constant rains that have prevailed over most of spring time have left blueberry fields flooded. This is making weed control difficult. The application of insecticides and fungicides which are important during the blueberry green fruit stage has been also difficult to accomplish.

Our recommendation for growers is to use insecticides/fungicides with rainfast characteristics to prevent products from washing off and the need to repeat the application. Please, visit Rainfast characteristics of insecticides on fruit his article, Rainfast characteristics of insecticides on fruit, for products and recommendations.

Regarding insect pest problems for blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, the placement of spotted wing Drosophila monitoring traps is recommended. This pest has been reported already in the area. Thus, maintaining a good monitoring program is critical to prevent unwanted SWD fruit infestations. Use our MSU resources for SWD identification at: https://www.canr.msu.edu/ipm/uploads/files/MSU-SWD-ID.pdf.

2019 Managing Spotted Wing Drosophila in Berries for Hispanic Blueberry Growers

Wednesday, June 26, 2019, we are offering our last workshop for blueberry growers interested in improving their IPM programs to manage spotted wing Drosophila (SWD) this season. This workshop is directed mainly to Spanish speaking growers that in the past had problems controlling this pest. The workshop will be from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the MSU Trevor Nichols Research Center, Fennville, Michigan.

There is not cost for attending this meeting, however, to ensure an accurate number of handouts are available, please pre-register by calling Filiberto Villa at: 269 830-2309.  You may also register online at: https://events.anr.msu.edu/SWDinBerries/

Those attending the training will receive two RUPs to renew their Pesticide Applicator Certification license.

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