Wild Blueberry Newsletter July 2022

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

July 2022

Dear Growers, Processors, and Stakeholders,

Drought Stress

We are starting to see and hear accounts of drought-related stress in wild blueberries. So far the locations with drought stress are on a ledge or in fields that are burned very frequently. These locations have less organic matter (water holding sponge) than is ideal. If you see this stress in your fields contact your county NRCS office and talk with them about mulching and irrigation cost share programs. The wild blueberry growing areas of Lincoln, Knox, Waldo, and Hancock counties are in a “Moderate Drought” while Washington county remains “Abnormally Dry” according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. If you have irrigation, it should be used to apply approximately 1 inch of water per week to both prune and crop fields.

It is time to begin monitoring for Spotted-Wing Drosophila.

Weather is an important driver of SWD activity. The last few weeks have brought excellent weather conditions for Spotted-Wing Drosophila populations here in Maine. High humidity and warm conditions will likely lead to earlier captures of SWD. This year, our traps at wild blueberry monitoring sites Downeast and in Mid-coast have already trapped SWD males and females in low numbers. Similar to the last couple of years populations will likely build as the crop ripens and harvesting starts.

Monitoring for SWD on your farm.

With great variation between sites and regions that grow wild blueberry here in Maine, monitoring for this pest on your own farm is the only way to be sure, if and when management might be necessary. Monitoring for both the adults in the field and infestation in the fruit is recommended when ripe fruit is present. For guides on how to monitor for SWD on your farm, along with information about cultural control, action thresholds, and chemical control please consult the 210-Spotted Wing Drosophila: Pest Biology and IPM Recommendations for Wild Blueberries on the Cooperative Extension: Maine Wild Blueberries website. An excellent How-To Trap SWD Video can be found on the Wild Blueberry Videos page of our UMaine Extension website.

For questions about SWD please email philip.fanning@maine.edu

Fresh Pack Resources from Nova Scotia

The Building Tomorrow Fund: Fresh Pack Project which has now been completed by WBPANS in Nova Scotia has posted its reports and videos. Census of Agriculture

Agriculture producers who did not receive the 2017 Census of Agriculture and do not receive other USDA surveys or censuses have until June 30 to sign up to receive the 2022 Census of Agriculture by emailing Pam Hird at pam.hird@usda.gov.  USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will mail ag census survey codes for responding securely online to every known U.S. producer this November.


July 7th Fresh Pack Line Meeting
Welch Farm, Lisa, and Wayne Hanscom
186 Roque Bluffs Rd, Roque Bluffs
Details and Registration: Registration is closed.

July 14th Blueberry Hill Farm Field Day
Blueberry Hill Farm, 1643 Rt 1, Jonesboro
Agenda and Registration: Registration is closed.

Fall Wild Blueberry Production Course

Drs. Calderwood, Fanning, Annis, and Zhang will be teaching a 5-week course on wild blueberry production this fall through UMaine. The course is open to people seriously interested in farming wild blueberries, experienced farmers, and UMaine students. The class begins on August 30th and will be held from 5:30-7:30 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays online with the exception of the first class which will be held in a wild blueberry field.

More Details and Grower Registration: Registration is closed.

See you soon,

Lily and Phil