Wild Blueberry Newsletter August 2021

Wild Blueberry Newsletter header graphic, text and a photo of blueberries and leaves

August 2021

Crop Updates!

What a crop! Some producers finished their harvest as of August 10 while others continue to harvest this week through the end of the month as long as the berries hold on. Overall, we had excellent pollination weather and rain in July, which led to a good crop. Congratulations on a successful first Wild Blueberry Weekend! It is fair to say that thousands of people visited wild blueberry farms and businesses, which is an excellent step forward.

Spotted wing drosophila numbers continue to rise in numbers. Thanks to Dr. Phil Fanning for pulling an updated SWD graph together.

updated SWD gragh

Although everyone deserves a break after harvest, fall is the time to mow and a good time to manage weeds in fields! Dr. Seanna Annis reminds us that it is also time to put out mummy berry plots.

How to establish Mummy Berry Plots for timing of spring management:

1. Collect about 30 to 150 mummy berries (10 to 50 for each mummy berry plot, the more the better) from your crop field(s) near harvest (or from the processing line or winnow piles if you have them).

2. As soon as possible after you have collected the mummy berries, put them out in the field you will be monitoring. Do not store them in the fridge or in a hot place before you put them out. In next year’s crop field, choose three, 3” x 3” areas within your blueberry field that are clear of stems but amongst the plants. Choose areas that look like they have damp soil most of the time and will be easy for you to access next spring. Space each plot 5 to 10 ft. apart.

3. In each 3″ by 3″ area, clear off the leaf litter to one side and scrape off about 1/4” of hard packed soil and put aside. Place about 10 to 50 mummy berries on the surface of the soil and press the mummy berries firmly into the soil (with your fingers or step on them).  The mummy berries need to be buried in soil but not more than 1/4” deep at most.  Cover the mummy berries with a small amount of dirt (1/4”) on top and press them firmly down again so you do NOT see the mummy berries. Replace the leaf litter over the mummy berries to provide protection over the winter.

4. VERY IMPORTANT: Stake or flag the plots on either side so you can locate them in the spring.

Maternity Leave

I will be on maternity leave from the end of September through the end of December with my first week back being the first week of January. There will be no newsletters from Oct-Dec. My team will be working hard to write up our research and extension reports in addition to planning this year’s conference. While I am away if you have a production or research question, please contact one of my research and extension technicians:

Media or industry questions should continue to be sent to me at lily.calderwood@maine.edu.

2022 UMaine Wild Blueberry Conference

As of today, the conference will be held in person with a call-in zoom option. If the Delta variant becomes a bigger problem we will switch the event to all virtual.

Date: Saturday March 5, 2022
Snow Date: TBD
Time: 8:00am-3:15pm
Location: Jeff’s Catering Banquet Center (15 Littlefield Rd, Brewer ME)

Register Online

Register by Calling Extension: Mary Michaud at 207.581.3175

If you are interested in being a sponsor or having an exhibition table please contact: Mary Michaud (mary.j.michaud@maine.edu or 207.581.3175)

2021/2022 Changes to Maine Pesticide Laws

The Board of Pesticides Control (BPC) wants you to be in the know. A number of pesticide bills heard during the last session of the Maine Legislature will soon become laws and may affect you.

Regulatory Changes Effective Fall 2021

LD 316: An Act To Prohibit the Use of Chlorpyrifos (not used in wild blueberry)

Beginning October 18, 2021, it will be unlawful to distribute insecticides containing chlorpyrifos in Maine (i.e. Dursban, Lorsban, Warhawk, etc). At its August 27, 2021 meeting, the board will be discussing possible rulemaking to prohibit the use of chlorpyrifos. The board will also discuss a possible temporary exemption to this prohibition involving the issuance of limited duration permits authorizing Maine licensed pesticide applicators to use insecticides containing chlorpyrifos where the applicator possessed the pesticide in the State before January 1, 2022.

LD 519: An Act To Protect Children from Exposure to Toxic Chemicals

Beginning October 18, 2021, use of herbicides containing either glyphosate or dicamba will be prohibited on school grounds. Use of glyphosate or dicamba will also be prohibited on property within 75 feet of school grounds.

Two types of property are exempt from these prohibitions—farms and private residential property.

LD 1159: An Act To Amend Membership Requirements of the Board of Pesticides Control

Beginning October 18th, 2021, the two public members of the board must now have a demonstrated interest in environmental protection, may not have a financial interest in the activities of the board, and may not have been certified or licensed as a pesticide applicator and/or dealer in Maine or any other state. Formerly, one of the board’s public members was required to have practical experience or knowledge of sustainable management of pests.

If you need additional information, please contact the BPC at 207.287.2731.

Maine Board of Environmental Protection

The Maine Board of Environmental Protection (Board, BEP) invites the public to comment on proposals for changes to existing water quality standards.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (Department) is currently conducting a Triennial Review of  water quality standards. Following the conclusion of the Department’s public input phase on May 26, 2021 (responses to comments received are available), the process has now moved to the Board. The Department presented its revised recommendations to the BEP at the regular meeting on August 5, 2021 in Augusta and requested that the BEP schedule a public hearing. The Board granted the request and the public hearing on the revised recommendations will occur on October 7, 2021 in Augusta beginning at 9:00 a.m. as part of a regular Board meeting. Further information on the BEP meeting, including an agenda and meeting materials, will be available on the BEP web page approximately one week prior to the meeting.

The Department encourages all interested persons or entities to attend the hearing and provide input.  Public comments may also be submitted electronically until 5:00 p.m. on October 25.