The Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine awarded Yarborough and fellow researchers Francis Drummond and Seanna Annis $116,268 from the Maine Department of Agriculture for the yearlong study.
The Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine proposes to develop and implement an integrated pest management (IPM) program on weeds, diseases and insects for Maine’s 510 wild blueberry growers.
The study aims to address important crop management needs to ensure wild blueberry production isn’t threatened by developing IPM programs. If IPM practices are not developed to address the challenges, Maine’s wild blueberry crop and $250 million in annual economic impact are at significant risk, according to the researchers.
The integrated proposal contains three focus areas:
- To develop effective weed resistance strategies and educate growers on weed resistance management.
- To provide growers with disease forecasts to reduce crop loss and fungicide use while developing new IPM disease and insect management enhancements.
- To develop an IPM program for the blueberry tip midge and determine the impact of wild blueberry damage from sap-feeding insects resulting from current fertility and disease management practice.