Florida Blueberry Summer Meetings Set for July

Clint ThompsonBlueberries, Florida

By Clint Thompson

Florida blueberry growers should mark their calendars for this year’s summer grower meetings scheduled for July throughout central Florida.

This summer’s meeting schedule includes, Polk County, Monday, July 15, 10 a.m., Polk County Extension Office; Lake County, Wednesday, July 17, 10 a.m., Lake County Extension Office; Hardee County, Friday, July 19, 10 a.m., Hardee County Extension Office; Alachua County, Wednesday, July 24, 10 a.m., Alachua County Extension Office.

Registration is free for all Florida Blueberry Growers Association members. Cost is only $15 for non-members.

Doug Phillips, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) blueberry Extension coordinator, talked about the positive impact of last year’s set of meetings heading into this summer.

“We had a good turnout, and we got a lot of positive feedback following the meetings as well; both from the presentations that were given but also having a grower roundtable where the growers could talk about some common issues and challenges. I think everybody appreciated that as well,” Phillips said.

Along with this year’s grower roundtable, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers will speak about topics pertinent to blueberry production in Florida.

Phil Harmon, professor and Extension plant pathologist, will highlight disease management and pesticide resistance. Gerardo Nunez, assistant professor in the UF/IFAS Horticultural Sciences Department, will discuss winter pruning to promote crop concentration in Southern Highbush. Oscar Liburd, professor and program leader in fruit and vegetable entomology, plans to discuss detection and management of spotted wing drosophila along with reviewing chili thrips. Rachel Mallinger, assistant professor in pollinator ecology and conservation, will provide a pollination research update.

Registration will open soon.