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Overview Blueberry Production Practices in Florida . Jeff Williamson Horticultural Sciences Department IFAS, University of Florida. Cost of Establishment . Land Preparation $1500 Pine bark (450 yd 3 ) $4500 Plant costs (1800/a) $4500 Overhead irrigation $4750

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overview blueberry production practices in florida

Overview Blueberry Production Practices in Florida

Jeff Williamson

Horticultural Sciences Department

IFAS, University of Florida

cost of establishment
Cost of Establishment
  • Land Preparation $1500
  • Pine bark (450 yd3) $4500
  • Plant costs (1800/a) $4500
  • Overhead irrigation $4750
  • Labor (2 ½ years) $3000
  • Chemicals $ 500
  • Total establishment costs $18,750
planting establishment
Planting Establishment
  • Soil test
  • Water test
  • Eliminate difficult to control weeds (brambles, nut sedge, smilax)
  • Drainage
  • Pine bark
  • Irrigation system
pine bark culture9
Pine Bark Culture
  • New bark must be applied to fields every 3 to 4 years.
pine bark incorporated culture
Pine bark incorporated culture
  • Grower trials and UF studies are underway to evaluate alternatives to pine bark culture.
single rows are most common
Single rows are most common
  • Plant spacing is about 2.5 to 3.0 feet in the row.
  • Between row spacing is typically about 8 feet.
double row beds
Double row beds
  • Once popular are now becoming less common.
3 row beds
3-row beds
  • 3-row beds are rare. They increase plant densities but complicate harvesting, spraying and other cultural practices.
blueberry pollination
Blueberry Pollination
  • Alternating rows of different varieties provide good cross-pollination.
blueberry pollination16
Blueberry Pollination
  • All blueberry varieties benefit from cross-pollination. Bumble bees are the most efficient pollinators.
cultivar improvement
Cultivar Improvement
  • Sharpblue and Misty were the most widely planted cultivars until newer, improved, cultivars were released during the 1990’s and 2000’s.
cultivar improvement18
Cultivar Improvement
  • Cultivar Selection
  • Newer cultivars like Jewel, Emerald, and Star have improved quality, increased yield, and advanced harvest date.
freeze protection
Freeze Protection
  • Freezes are the primary yield limiting factor for Florida blueberries.
  • Most blueberry use water for freeze protection.
conclusions
Conclusions
  • Blueberries are very expensive to grow in Florida.
  • Knowledge and labor requirements are high.
  • Improved cultivars and cultural practices have resulted in consistent annual production.
  • Florida’s blueberry has steadily increased in acreage, value, and production during the last 7 years.
  • Prices have remained high despite increased production.
  • Many new plantings indicate continued growth for the immediate future.
  • Prices will likely decline as supply continues to increase during Florida’s market window. Small growers may be forced out of business.
  • Other production regions may eventually encroach on Florida’s market window.
thank you
Thank You
  • For more information visit the Small Farms web at http://smallfarms.ifas.ufl.edu
  • Take a virtual field day tour by visiting the Virtual Field Day web at http://vfd.ifas.ufl.edu

This presentation brought to you by the

Small Farms/Alternative Enterprises Focus Team.