Overview Blueberry Production Practices in Florida - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Overview Blueberry Production Practices in Florida

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  1. Overview Blueberry Production Practices in Florida Jeff Williamson Horticultural Sciences Department IFAS, University of Florida

  2. 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

  3. Planting Establishment • Soil test • Water test • Eliminate difficult to control weeds (brambles, nut sedge, smilax) • Drainage • Pine bark • Irrigation system

  4. Pine bark is often used as a growing media for blueberries.

  5. Pine Bark Culture

  6. Construction of a trench revealed that very few roots were located in the underlying soil.

  7. Root systems are easily separated from underlying soil by pulling back the pine bark layer.

  8. Excavated Blueberry Plant with root system intact.

  9. Pine Bark Culture • New bark must be applied to fields every 3 to 4 years.

  10. Pine bark incorporated culture • Grower trials and UF studies are underway to evaluate alternatives to pine bark culture.

  11. 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.

  12. Double row beds • Once popular are now becoming less common.

  13. 3-row beds • 3-row beds are rare. They increase plant densities but complicate harvesting, spraying and other cultural practices.

  14. Drainage

  15. Blueberry Pollination • Alternating rows of different varieties provide good cross-pollination.

  16. Blueberry Pollination • All blueberry varieties benefit from cross-pollination. Bumble bees are the most efficient pollinators.

  17. Cultivar Improvement • Sharpblue and Misty were the most widely planted cultivars until newer, improved, cultivars were released during the 1990’s and 2000’s.

  18. Cultivar Improvement • Cultivar Selection • Newer cultivars like Jewel, Emerald, and Star have improved quality, increased yield, and advanced harvest date.

  19. Freeze Protection • Freezes are the primary yield limiting factor for Florida blueberries. • Most blueberry use water for freeze protection.

  20. Typical appearance of non-pruned blueberry plantduring fall

  21. Typical appearance of pruned blueberry plant during fall

  22. 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.

  23. 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.