West Central Michigan small fruit regional report – May 6, 2014

Growers are invited to attend upcoming meetings on blueberry IPM activities, and new educational opportunities for spotted wing Drosophila management.

The small fruit season continues moving along despite low temperatures and rainy conditions that prevailed during the past seven days (as of May 6). Daily minimum temperatures have remained around the upper 30s with an average temperature of 39 degrees Fahrenheit and an average maximum of 55 F. Currently, these temperatures have allowed a growing degree day (GDD) accumulation in West Central Michigan of only 209 GDD base 42 F and 77 GDD base 50 F. However, these conditions will change during the following days when daily temperature will rise up. The weather forecast for the next seven days indicates an increase in daily temperatures reaching the upper 80s. This will drastically impact the speed of plant and insect pest development.

Regarding small fruit crops, little plant growth has been observed in strawberries and no big change has occurred since the last week. Raspberry leaf development continues, but at a very slow rate.

All blueberry varieties are in the early bloom stages and growers are applying early season fungicide and nutrient treatments. Some growers are still pruning because of the delay in plant growth and development and winter conditions that prevented them from completing this activity earlier. Growers need to take care of the preparation of cherry fruitworm and cranberry fruitworm pest management, and continue with the prevention of infections by mummy berry and Phomopsis shoot and twig blight.

Upcoming meetings

Michigan State University Extension is conducting two early season blueberry meetings Wednesday, May 7, in Van Buren and Ottawa counties. There is no fee to attend these meetings and they are open to all blueberry growers. The agenda is the same for both meetings with topics including a winter injury update, blueberry pollination, early season insect control, early season diseases, irrigation and other topics.

The Van Buren County meeting is from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. and is hosted by MBG Marketing, located at 4726 County Road 215, Grand Junction, MI 49056. The meeting is in the MBG Conference Room located on the south side of the building and accessed from the south entrance. MBG asks that you use the parking area south of their building and enter the building through the south side entrance.

The Ottawa County meeting is from 6-8 p.m. at the Olive Township Hall, located at 6480 136th Ave., Holland, MI 49424.

Please let us know if you need special accommodations. For the Van Buren County meeting, contact Mark Longstroth at 269-873-8983 or longstr7@msu.edu. For the Ottawa County meeting, contact Carlos Garcia at 616-260-0671 or garcias4@msu.edu.

We would also like to remind our growers about the upcoming spotted wing Drosophila workshop. This new workshop will take place Tuesday, May 20, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Trevor Nichols Research Center, located at 6237 124th Ave., Fennville, MI 49408. A registration form will be mailed at the end of this week. In the meantime, if you are interested in participating in this training, please contact Judy Hanson at 616-994-4548 or hanson26@msu.edu.

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