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NC Commercial Blackberry and Raspberry Association Virtual Meetings

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Welcome to the 2021 North Carolina Commercial Blackberry and Raspberry Grower Association “Specialist Zoom” calls. There will be several webinars over the course of the next few months. For January we have: Dr. Gina Fernandez, is our Caneberry Specialist and Breeder, and we also have Dr. Tom Kon, the Southeast Apple Research Specialist and now he’s a Blackberry Researcher. In February Wayne Mitchem and Dr. Hannah Burrack will give us weed and SWD updates. In March, Dr. Sara Villani will discuss diseases in caneberries. They will all be listed below eventually.

Gina Fernandez

NC State Extension Small Fruits Specialist and Caneberry Breeder

I will be talking about two things today. First, I will talk about the (NC State University) Caneberry Breeding Program. What’s the status of it is and then a new project that we’re doing with some of the USDA Oregon germplasm, some of the advanced with the selections and cultivars that they have released from that program. So a little bit of a breeding update here, I just want to give you some information on what’s out there already. Von, the floricane-fruiting blackberry sold about, it’s a commercial blackberry that does well for growers in this part of the country. We sold about 34,000 plants last year. […]


Tom Kon

Southeast Apple Specialist and Caneberry Researcher

We were awarded a grant, Improved Management of Primocane Fruiting Blackberries, through the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) this past year that will start in 2021 and carry on through actually the middle of 2023. It’s myself, Gina Fernandez, Sarah Valani, and Penny Perkins. Really excited about the potential for this project and I think my interest in trying to identify and address these current limitations and yield potential, specifically for me as a horticulturist, really came about through some of our previous work with plant growth regulators particularly. And then certainly with the addition of Sarah Valani, our great Plant Pathologist here, that’s started to work with caneberry growers within the past year too. Wanted to make sure that there’d be a great opportunity here to address some of the issues that the last set of survey questions really hit home on, which is that there are concerns about resistance management, there are concerns related to seeing cane day die back after tipping, and trying to see if we can develop some strategies that would be more sustainable in blackberry production systems. So, again this transpired from some work that I did with a plant growth regulator. I know I spoke to this group last year, but we evaluated a plant growth regulator to try and reduce primocane growth and manage the vegetative growth of blackberry. But one thing that really stood out to me is a simple comparison between untreated control tipping and our prohexadione-Ca treatments. There were no differences across in yield and I realized that tipping is currently the best practice that we have to stimulate lateral branch development in blackberry, which is related to productivity in blackberry, but this just really surprised me. I know it’s just a single year of a single trial, but to not see a response from tipping was quite surprising, and if anything there’s a negative numerical trend here associated with tipping or with our prohexadione-Ca treatment as it relates to yield. So, that made me think that maybe we need to rethink this to some extent and certainly conversations with some growers and certainly a great researcher based out of USDA Kearneysville – Fumiomi Takeda, looking at some of the work that he’s done was quite inspirational as well. […]

Wayne Mitchem

NC State Extension Associate and blackberry weed control researcher

Wayne is a blueberry grower aside from being a fruits weed researcher. Herbicide strips should look pretty clean, like the one there does in the slide about now, and they haven’t got real weedy or grown over yet. If you’ve done a fall pre-out, I suspect they probably look pretty good. As we get started here, Dr. Clark mentioned the Oryzalin issue, and if you don’t know, Oryazlin availability is going to be very limited or it’s going to basically become unavailable because the facility that manufacturers that product had a fire explosion. And so, it’s not being manufactured. So, if you can find some Oryzalin or Surflan in the supply chain, I would suggest you go ahead and secure that. I would imagine by now it’s probably pretty hard to come by. This had happened back in, I think about a nine. Well maybe about a year ago now is when this happened. You know the problem with that is, this is not the first time that’s happened. […]

Hannah Burrack

NC State Extension Specialist on key insect pests for blackberries and raspberries

I will be out working in blackberry this year. And that hopefully might help inform some of the questions that you have as well. So, in 2020 we had planned to do some broad mite survey work and I’ll be talking about broad mites a little bit more this morning. And for reasons that are obvious to everyone, we did not end up doing that work in 2020. And so that’s a project we are carrying over into 2021. And so I may be reaching out to some of your farms to do monthly visits, to collect the samples, and see if there are broad mites present throughout North Carolina. How well they are established. And what populations look like over the course of the season. […]

Elena Rodgers

Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture – Food Safety – Fresh Produce Western NCCaneberry Food Safety Updates

Dr. Sara Villani

Extension Plant Pathology

2020 Mysterious Cane Dieback Information