Michigan Blueberry Commission Research Priorities for 2024

  1. Develop management programs for emerging and invasive pests
    • Blueberry Stem Gall Wasp, Spotted Wing Drosophila, nematodes, thrips
    • Fungal and viral pathogens that affect blueberry bush health and fruit quality (e.g. anthracnose, fruit rot, stem blights and viral diseases)
    • Weeds, especially milkweed, horse nettle, hemp dogbane and perennial vines, timing of post emergence herbicides in fall for perennial weeds
    • Study effects of field applied sanitizers, skin thickeners, and feeding stimulants on fruit quality, disease control and insect control
    • Surfactants/adjuvants, best application practices with herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, and plant growth regulators
    • Development of non-chemical approaches (e.g. biologicals)
  1. Enhance blueberry yields and quality
    • Best practices for removal of low yielding fields, site preparation strategies and field establishment techniques
    • Better understanding of methods to increase fruit set, fruit size, and fruit quality including planting design, pollination, pruning, nutrition and water management, soil and foliar applied bio-stimulants
      • Management systems that reduce labor inputs, especially harvest labor
    • Breeding program to enhance selection for both plant hardiness and fruit quality
      • Growth regulator uses to increase quality and yields and de-fruiting young plantings
    • Irrigation efficiency research
    • Post-harvest efficiency
  1. Variety Testing for Michigan viability
    • Hardiness
    • Size/quality/yield
    • Insect resistance
    • Disease resistance
  1. Improving Farm Resiliency and Sustainability
    • Climate Change
    • Precision Agriculture
    • Crop production Inputs
    • Water use efficiency
    • Alternate production strategies and management systems
  2. Food Safety
    • Production and Harvest Practices
    • FSMA and GAP education to grower

Updated October 2023