West central Michigan small fruit regional report – June 14, 2016

Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) started showing up in our trap network. Most recent finds occurred last week at trapping sites in blueberry fields at Allegan County.

Weather conditions in Michigan’s west central region have been dry with only scattered precipitations and almost no accumulation. Daily temperatures have remained cooler with minimum daily temperatures averaging 51 degrees Fahrenheit, and the daily maximum averaging 75 F. Those conditions prompted growers to provide supplemental irrigation to most small fruit fields.

Currently, the strawberry harvest is underway in Ottawa, Kent and Ionia County. There are reports of few problems with sap beetles but for the most part, the harvest is without problems.

In raspberries, summer varieties are in the green fruit stage and ripening will start in one or two weeks. So far, no major issues have been reported by growers.

On the other hand, blueberries for the most part are in the green fruit stage with some fields already showing the “June drop." Fruits that were not well pollinated or that are under water stress will continue dropping off from the bush. We are seeing the “June drop” with more intensity in the variety Elliott, especially in those fields that suffered extensive winter damage during the past two years. At this time, affected fields show a large fruit set with shoots with a few or no leaves at all. Fruits on those canes will not complete development and it could be better to prune those winter damaged shoots to allow new growth to develop this year.

So far, despite those few problems, the blueberry crop is still expected to be a large crop in comparison with the two last crop seasons.

Regarding insect and disease problems in blueberries, the Cranberry Fruit Worm (CBFW) continues flying in large numbers. However, growers have been successful in controlling the potential problem resulting from this large influx of CBFW. In fact, a field scouting conducted during the past week showed partially hatched Cherry and Cranberry Fruit Worm eggs as a result of insecticide applications. No berry damage has been observed yet.

At this time, we have deployed most of the SWD traps in our monitoring sites in Allegan, Ottawa, Kent, Ionia and Mecosta County. Traps are located in strawberry, blueberry and raspberry fields.

So far, one SWD female has been trapped at the Glenn, Michigan, monitoring site but other flies have been trapped at other monitoring sites in Allegan County. There are other Drosophila flies very similar to SWD that are showing up in our traps in strawberry fields (see picture below). It is very important to examine any specimen captured with a microscope to verify that the ovipositor corresponds to Drosophila suzukii (SWD) to avoid false alerts.

Drosophila simulans

Drosophila simulans. Photo: ucanr.edu.

Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) training for Hispanics

On June 17-18, 2016, we will conduct the second GAP workshop for both English and Spanish speaking growers. On the first day, we will review the GAP main topics related to blueberry production. On the second day we will review the Risk Assessment procedures and we will visit a farm to practice the risk assessment procedures. Participants will receive a format to start developing their GAP manual. For those growers that attended the June 3-4 training there will be a follow up on June 18, 2016. For a complete description of the program and agenda please visit: GAP training for English/Spanish growers June 17-18, 2016.

Growers and farmworkers participating in this training will receive a certificate of completion of training.

There will be a recuperation fee of $30 per participant that will cover materials, refreshments and lunches. For growers attending the follow up session on June 18 the recuperation fee will be $15 per participant.

Pre-registration is required to estimate the number of handouts and lunch. To register, please contact Mary Frein at the MSU Extension Ottawa County office at 616-994-4580 or email frein@anr.msu.edu. You may also contact Filiberto Villa at 269-830-2309 or filibertovilla@sbcglobal.net.

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