Welcome to the Florida Blueberry Growers Association

If you would like to become a new member, please visit the About Us section for membership info.

We hope that you enjoy the site, whether you are a blueberry grower, educator, or even an old-fashioned blueberry fan. you will be able to find about all kinds of information here about Florida’s greatest crop.

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President’s Letter

Overcoming Challenges in the Industry dudley_calfee
We are entering our fall season now, and most of us are looking forward to some additional chill hours, sunlight, and better spring growing conditions overall than last season gave us. I won’t recap the challenges that we faced last year, but suffice it to say that we are all happy to start a new season this year.

A lot of good things are happening at the Florida Blueberry Growers Association (FBGA). By the generous efforts and cooperation of Michael Heard of the Florida Blueberry Festival and the city of Brooksville, located in Hernando County, we now have a furnished and equipped office and a part-time administrative assistant. These new assets will help us to be more responsive in our communication and offer us the opportunity to be of better service to our members. The Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the Florida Blueberry Growers Association are very grateful for all the time and effort put forth by the Blueberry Festival folks and the staff at the city of Brooksville to make these dreams a reality. Brooksville wants to be the “home of blueberries” in the state of Florida and they have truly stepped up to help us find a home where we can be more productive. We look forward to working together to continue to promote our “little blue dynamos” throughout the state and nation.

A couple of serious issues are facing us as growers this season: e pine bark shortage, and a new deadly pathogen attacking our plants— a type of parasitic algae. Pine bark is an essential ingredient in the recipe for growing blueberries in Florida. While the reasons for the limited availability of pine bark remain somewhat elusive, the fact remains that bark is in short supply and getting more expensive. A lot of growers have been unable to re-mulch existing fields and the construction of new acreage of blueberries has been restricted or halted. A lot of explanations have been offered for this situation; from a wet season which limited lumber harvest to the use of bark as “alternative fuel” in some facilities and factories. e Executive Committee of FBGA is continuing to investigate the shortage and try to come up with some answers as to why this is happening and perhaps a solution to loosen the tight supply of this commodity. We are also committed to encouraging research for possible alternatives to pine bark media.

The parasitic algae pathogen has the potential to be a real problem for many of us. It is presented as green lesions with orange reddish centers on the cane of the plant. The algae interfere with the vascular system of the plant, depriving it of nutrients. It seems to be variety specific. Some varieties, like Jewel, have it on the canes and don’t seem to mind. Others, such as Emerald, are severely stunted by the pathogen. Still others, like Farthing, are being killed outright. The experts at the University of Florida tell me the only thing that will help is a combination of copper sprays and some of the “Phite” products in the 2-40-16 range. An excellent article by Dr. Philip Harmon is included in this issue of e Blueberry News. I recommend that all growers read this carefully and be on the lookout for the algae in their fields.
Please take the time to read through this edition. I think you will find it very informative. I hope you all enjoyed the FBGA Fall Meeting, and I wish everyone a safe, successful, and profitable season.

We also have some other great information in this issue:

• Freeze protection info by Dr. Jeff Williamson. This article contains info on critical
freeze protection temperatures and some great photos of blueberry fl ower bud
development phases. A must-read to get ready for the challenges we may face
this winter.

• On the Grower 411 page, we feature Broker/marketer 101, “Do You Know
PACA?” by Dan Ebbecke, which is a great source of info for new and experienced
growers, and probably not a bad read for all the brokers out there too.
• The Spray Guide Tables— updated and reformatted to be more readable and
useful to you as growers.

• Two articles on blueberry diseases by Dr. Philip Harmon: Parasitic algae and anthracnose
stem canker.

• An excellent overview of the different cultivars by Dr. Jim Olmstead.

Please take the time to read through this edition. I think you will find it very informative.  I hope you all enjoyed the FBGA Fall Meeting, and I wish everyone a safe, successful, and profitable season.

Dudley Calfee
Dudley Calfee, President,
Florida Blueberry Growers Association

 

FBGA Fall Growers Meeting and Trade Show

fbga_fall

Florida Blueberry Growers annual Fall Growers Meeting held at the Hillsborough Community College Trinkle Center in Plant City, FL.

BGA

   

The 26th Annual Florida Postharvest Horticulture Tour March 2 – 6, 2015

The Florida Postharvest Horticulture Tour brings participants “up-close and personal” to learn how fresh subtropical, tropical and temperate fruits, vegetables and ornamental crops are handled. With exclusive, behind-the-scene visits hosted by top management, the group becomes familiar with a variety of methods and technologies employed to harvest, pack, cool, ship and receive fresh crops.  This tour is designed for produce industry professionals, educators, researchers and students in such diverse areas as field and packinghouse management, transportation, wholesale and retail sales, and import/export. The group will visit large and small-scale operations, compare cooling technologies, visit a fresh-cut processor and a major supermarket distribution center.
 

Attaining Optimum Blueberry Yield Workshop – – October 28, 2014 & Central Florida Weather Watch

Greetings,

 

We are about a week away from the Florida Blueberry Growers Association Fall Seminar taking place in Plant City on Tuesday, October 7, 2014.  If you plan to attend and haven’t pre-registered, please do so ASAP by following the link: http://floridablueberrygrowers.com/sample-page/upcoming-meetings/.  I look forward to seeing everyone in Plant City.

 

As a follow-up to the hydrogen cyanamide workshop last year, there will be a “Attaining Optimum Blueberry Yield” Workshop occurring at the UF/IFAS – Lake County Office in Tavares, FL starting at 11:30 AM.  I have placed a link to the program Agenda, including the pre-registration link, below:

 

http://lake.ifas.ufl.edu/agriculture/citrus/documents/Blueberry_Workshop102814v1_wphil_wg092914.pdf

 

Even though temperatures are still warm, it is inevitable that most of us will have freeze protection on our mind before you know it.  Once again, we are offering the Central Florida Weather Watch resource to assist growers track threatening cold air masses as they approach the state.  The link below leads to the 2014-15 Central Florida Weather Watch resource.  If you plan to participate in the program, please follow the instructions on the form.

 

http://lake.ifas.ufl.edu/agriculture/citrus/documents/Weatherwatchsignup14-15.pdf

 

Please let me know if you have any questions.

 

Thank you,

 

Gary K. England

1951 Woodlea Rd.

Tavares, FL 32778

(352) 343-4101 Ext. 2729

(352) 343-2767 FAX

gke@ufl.edu

 

Crop Insurance

Dear Grower and FBGA member,

Your assistance is needed to hep us get Blueberry crop insurance coverage.

The Florida Blueberry Growers Association has requested the USDA Risk Management Agency to expand the blueberry crop insurance program throughout the state. Currently there are only 5 Florida counties covered under the MPCI Florida Blueberry Crop Insurance – Highlands, Alachua, Polk, Hillsborough and Putnam.

Please join us in showing your support by emailing Diane Amera, Director at the USDA RMA Regional Office. To kick off a form email to send to Ms. Amera:
Click this link http://www.farmcreditcfl.com/loans/crop-insurance.aspx
Click the red button on the page to launch the prefilled email addressed to Ms. Amera
Be sure to add your name at the bottom of the email. (You will also be able to edit the letter if you wish)
Click Send
Time is of the essence as the policies renew in November. This will only take a few minutes and will help Blueberry growers across the state!!

Thank You

Dudley Calfee
President
Florida Blueberry Growers Association

 

Farm Credit/Ag Institute Candidates Forum

Farm Credit and the Agriculture Institute of Florida wish to invite you to the Tenth Quadrennial Farm Credit/Ag Institute Candidates Forum on Thursday September 25, 2014 at 11:30 am at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. Candidates for Florida’s governor and Cabinet positions will share their views on critical agricultural issues, providing an excellent opportunity for top industry leaders to meet those whose decisions will affect the agricultural industry for the next four years.

Historically, the forum attracts over 300 of the state’s most influential agricultural opinion leaders from virtually every commodity group as well as media (TV, radio, local print and trade publications) from around the state. The forum is held in conjunction with the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Associations (FNGLA) The Landscape Show which annually attracts over 6,000 nursery growers, landscape professionals and allied industry representatives.

We hope you will respond in the affirmative Ron O’Connor at ROConnor@FarmCreditCFL.com

Ron O’Connor, Director of Marketing & Governmental Affairs, Farm Credit of Central Florida, (863) 682-4117 Ext. 403.

 

Spotted Wing Drosophila: A Major Threat to the Florida Blueberry Industry

The spotted wing drosophila (SWD), Drosophila suzukii (Matsumura), is a serious threat to the Florida blueberry industry.  During the 2012 production season, SWD caused economic damage to blueberry growers in Florida that was estimated between 7-10 million dollars. Read More…

 

Grower 411: The Idea and Mission Behind the Blueberry Family Health Foundation

We all know the notoriety blueberries have received regarding their health benefits. Blueberries have several other things going for them; kids love them, and they are easy to prepare and eat. Rinse them off and pop them in your mouth. No peel or pit, just sweet (Fresh From Florida) deliciousness. Read More…

 
  • Fight Mummy Berrry with GP Solutions
  • Alpine
  • Island Grove Products
  • Elixson Wood Products
  • Agrisource
  • Green Trees and Plants II
  • Berry Care
  • Harplyn Irrigation

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