Source: PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY submitted to
INCREASING THE PRODUCTIVITY OF SMALL FRUIT CULTURAL SYSTEMS
Sponsoring Institution
State Agricultural Experiment Station
Project Status
TERMINATED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0203965
Grant No.
(N/A)
Project No.
PEN04085
Proposal No.
(N/A)
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
(N/A)
Project Start Date
Jul 1, 2005
Project End Date
Jun 30, 2010
Grant Year
(N/A)
Project Director
Demchak, K.
Recipient Organization
PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY
208 MUELLER LABORATORY
UNIVERSITY PARK,PA 16802
Performing Department
HORTICULTURE
Non Technical Summary
Small fruit crops are of interest to growers because they can be very profitable. However, they are also challenging to grow, as they are susceptible to a number of pest problems. Yields in certain production systems are sometimes limited by the short growing season in Pennsylvania. This project will attempt to improve the productivity and profitability of small fruit production systems through the evaluation of pest control products, new varieties, and season extension technologies.
Animal Health Component
100%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
(N/A)
Applied
100%
Developmental
(N/A)
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
2051120108010%
2051122106030%
2051122113010%
2051123106020%
2051123116020%
2051129108010%
Goals / Objectives
Work conducted under this projects will assist growers in improving the productivity and profitability of their small fruit production enterprises. Objectives are the following. 1. Explore the utility of pesticides with improved safety in small fruit production. 2. Evaluate recently-released cultivars and advanced selections of blackberries, blueberries, and other crops as release of new cultivars warrants. 3. Investigate the effects of row covers and high tunnels on microenvironment and its effects on productivity of small fruit crops. 4. Investigate the habits of the strawberry sap beetle and/or other emerging pests to better understand measures that may be effective in management.
Project Methods
The approach taken to fulfill each objective will be as follows. 1. Pesticides with improved non-target and environmental safety will be tested in a field trial to obtain information on their efficacy on diseases of raspberries. A field trial has been established, fungicides or other control measures will be applied, and data will be collected on disease incidence in the field and during post-harvest storage, and on any phytotoxic effects, plant vigor and yield. 2. Field trials of blackberries and blueberries will be established on growers farms in areas of greatest acreage for each crop. In the case of blackberries, a field trial was recently established in southeastern Pennsylvania. With blueberries, a trial of cold-hardy cultivars will be conducted in Northeastern Pennsylvania where much of PA's blueberry acreage is located. There are a number of blueberries cultivars that have potential to be extremely productive; however, their cold-hardiness is questionable. Cultivars with these characteristics will be established in a trial in southeastern Pennsylvania where the likelihood of their being utilized is greatest. 3. Experiments further investigating the effects of fall and winter use of different types of row covers on strawberries grown in the strawberry plasticulture system are being conducted. Data on effects of the row covers on air temperature, light levels, soil temperature and soil moisture will be collected and compared to data on plant vigor and yield. Various small fruit crops will continue to be grown in high tunnels to further investigate the effect of the tunnels on various growth parameters. 4. Pest populations will be tracked as part of a study on a grower's farm to better understand the habits and management of the strawberry sap beetle. Issues with other insects or diseases will be investigated through means appropriate to the particular problem when warranted.

Progress 07/01/05 to 06/30/10

Outputs
OUTPUTS: Numerous field experiments were conducted and results from them were analyzed. Thirteen blackberry cultivars were evaluated from 2005 to 2009 at the Penn State Southeast Research and Extension Center for productivity, harvest season, and fruit quality. Data was also collected to determine whether high yields of blackberry cultivars said to be cold-hardy reflect the ability of flower buds to survive the winter, or instead are due to the cultivar's ability to compensate for damage to primary buds by producing secondary flower buds. An experiment evaluating new blueberry cultivars was also conducted during 2005 to 2009. Eleven cultivars or advanced selections of day-neutral strawberries were evaluated in an annual raised-bed system on black plastic. An experiment in day-neutral strawberry production evaluated fertilization practices using three levels of compost as a source of nitrogen, and three levels of nitrogen applied weekly through trickle irrigation on the cultivar Seascape. Biorational fungicides were tested for efficacy against gray mold and for effects on yield. A field study that evaluates foliar and soil drench treatments for mitigation of decline associated with black root rot complex of strawberries was conducted evaluating the foliar treatments Vigor-Cal-Phos and Phostrol, and soil drench treatments Abound and Symbex. Experiments on strawberries in pots were run in 2007 and 2008 that examined whether the use of certain herbicides could contribute to a decrease in strawberry plant root growth, possibly increasing the symptoms of black root rot. A study was conducted that tracked sap beetle populations through various crops on several farms in the Northeast in a cooperative project with Cornell University. A field experiment was established in 2009 to evaluate the safety of new strawberry herbicides. A high tunnel strawberry experiment evaluated the spring-bearing cultivars Chandler, Ventana, Araza, and Carmine, and day-neutral cultivars and two advanced selections from NC. Also in high tunnels, the primocane-bearing black raspberry cultivar Explorer was compared to the floricane-bearing cultivar Jewel. Over the 5 years of this project, results from these experiments were disseminated to 1437 growers at 18 winter meetings within Pennsylvania, including a yearly multi-state grower convention. Results were presented to 247 growers at field days and workshops at Penn State's research farms in Landisville and Rock Springs, Pennsylvania and to 50 growers at a field day in Oakland, Maryland. Information from research that was conducted as part of this project was also directly delivered to grower audiences at 16 meetings that took place in Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and West Virginia during the duration of this project reaching an additional 1535 growers. Findings resulting from this project were incorporated into recommendations in The Mid-Atlantic Berry Guide for Commercial Growers, a publication for growers in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, West Virginia, Delaware, and Virginia, but also utilized by growers in other states. PARTICIPANTS: Numerous individuals in Pennsylvania and other states with similar production issues were involved in the projects described above. Timothy Elkner, Extension Educator for Penn State Cooperative Extension in Lancaster Co, David H. Johnson, former Facilities Coordinator at the SE Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Landisville, and Jo Anna Hebberger were involved in plot establishment, maintenance, and data collection on the blackberry cultivar evaluations. Fumiomi Takeda, Research Scientist at the Appalachian Tree Fruit Research Station in Kearneysville, was involved in the blackberry bud cold hardiness trial as a co-PI in addition to the above individuals. He also was responsible for procurement and/or propagation of cultivars tested in the high tunnel strawberry experiments. Jim Ballington at North Carolina State University provided plants of North Carolina advanced selections for trial. John Esslinger, Extension Educator for Penn State Cooperative Extension in northeastern Pennsylvania was a co-PI on the blueberry variety trial and was involved in experiment establishment, plot care, and data collection. Harry J. Swartz, retired Professor from the University of Maryland, and Willie Lantz, Extension Educator for Maryland Cooperative Extension were co-PI's on the day-neutral strawberry projects and had complementary plantings in Maryland. They were also involved in activities that extended the results to growers. Greg Loeb of Cornell University was lead PI on the study on tarnished plants bugs, and advised his graduate student, Rebecca Loughner. Annemiek Schielder, Michigan State University, was a co-PI for the field studies on black root rot of strawberry, and was responsible for complementary trials taking place in Michigan. She also was involved with the study that explored the effects of herbicides on strawberry root growth. Tom Murphy, Extension Educator for Penn State Cooperative Extension in Lycoming County was also a cooperator on one of the black root rot studies. Elsa Sanchez, Assistant Professor of Horticultural Systems Management was a co-PI on the project on alternative fungicides for raspberries. Graham Sanders, graduate student in the Department of Horticulture, was involved with data collection and maintenance of the raspberry plots. Pete Tallman, private plant breeder, provided plants of Explorer for trial. Partner organizations have been Michigan State University, Cornell University, the University of Maryland, and North Carolina State University. TARGET AUDIENCES: The primary target audience for this project is the approximately 1100 commercial berry crop producers in Pennsylvania, but also growers in surrounding and other nearby states. Most farm relatively small acreages of berry crops in diversified operations that produce small fruit crops, vegetable crops, and/or tree fruit. These producers struggle with a wide range of production constraints, including limited area on which to produce their crops. Many of their farms are located near urbanized areas where development pressure is high, increasing the need for production of high value crops to justify production on high value land. One advantage these growers have is that they are located near consumers, which positions them well to market perishable, but desirable, commodities. Others likely to benefit from this work include commercial berry producers in other regions of the U.S. with a similar climate, and homeowners with an interest in berry crop production and the Master Gardeners who serve them. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Aspects of different experiments were modified when necessary to answer questions that arose during the course of experiments, to better understand underlying effects, or to more accurately reflect conditions that might be occurring in growers' fields. Because food crops are produced in dynamic systems where new environmental or biological challenges arise over time, research was modified to address emerging needs for information. Within specific experiments, modifications were also continually made to gain additional knowledge. For example, the experiment that evaluated new herbicides, though within the realm of the project, was not specifically planned as the herbicides were not labeled for use patterns tested until very recently. Within individual experiments, modifications are made to protocols to maximize the amount of useful data collected. For example, in the project on blackberry plant compensation for winter damage, data collection efforts were shifted to late in the bud emergence period when the most accurate determinations could be made.

Impacts
The research conducted as part of this project resulted in significant findings. With blackberry cultivars, strong points and weaknesses of various cultivars were found. While too lengthy to report here, information on harvest season, productivity, fruit quality and flavor for cultivars tested was incorporated into the Mid-Atlantic Berry Guide for commercial growers. It was determined that cultivars that are consistently productive following cold winters may or may not have primary buds that survive the winter, but do have the ability to form secondary buds that can compensate for damage to primary buds. Among blueberry cultivars, Aurora, Liberty, and Chandler performed well. Bluegold was very productive but fruit tended to come off of the plant before it was fully ripe. Among day-neutral strawberry cultivars tested, Seascape performed well concerning productivity and quality. Albion has very good quality but produced low yields in Pennsylvania. Everest and Evie-3 were productive but fruit was very soft. In studies on fertilization needs of the day-neutral cultivar Seascape, medium rates of compost (sufficient to apply 44 kg of nitrogen per ha during the establishment yield) and fertigated nitrogen (1 kg of nitrogen/ha/week), and either double this compost amount or fertigation amount produced high yields, but combining high compost amounts with high fertilization rates did not increase yields but cause the plant to grow excessive foliage, making it difficult to harvest the fruit. Some biorational fungicides were found to result in phytotoxicity during periods of high temperatures, especially Milstop and Phostrol but none of the products tested consistently controlled gray mold. A study in pots comparing effects of herbicides on establishment of the strawberry cultivar Allstar found no differences in leaf weight or feeder root mass between herbicides currently available for use at planting (napropamide, terbacil, and DCPA) at labeled rates and a water-only control. However, terbacil as Sinbar at 6 oz or product/a decreased both feeder root mass and leaf growth. In high tunnels considering yields and quality, Chandler is still the best performer among June-bearing cultivars, and an advanced selection from North Carolina and Seascapewere top-performing day-neutrals. Explorer did not have acceptable quality or yields. Conclusions on various facets of production have since been incorporated into Extension recommendations, articles written for growers, and presentations to grower groups.

Publications

  • Demchak, K. (coordinator). 2010. The MidAtlantic Berry Guide for Commercial Growers. Penn State Coop. Ext. Pub. AGRS-97. 275 pp.
  • Heidenreich, M. C., M. P. Pritts, M. J. Kelly, and K. Demchak. 2007. High tunnel raspberries and blackberries. Cornell Dept. of Horticulture Pub. No. 47. 29 pp.
  • Demchak, K., J. K. Harper, L. F. Kime, and W. Lantz. 2010. Agricultural Alternatives: Strawberry Production. Penn State Coop. Ext. Publ. UA290. 10 pp.
  • Demchak, K., T. Elkner, and F. Takeda. 2010. Options for Blackberry Production in Cold Areas. Proc. Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention. pp. 151-152.
  • Esslinger, J. and K. Demchak. 2010. Blueberry Cultivars: Results from a PA Trial. Proc. Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention. pp. 156-158.


Progress 10/01/08 to 09/30/09

Outputs
OUTPUTS: A number of small fruit experiments were established or continued. A field-scale grower-cooperator study that evaluated foliar and soil drench treatments for mitigation of decline associated with black root rot complex of strawberries was established. Vigor-Cal-Phos as a foliar treatment and Abound as a soil drench were compared to a non-treated control. An herbicide trial was established that evaluates new products on the cultivars Darselect and Jewel in comparison to products that have been available. Little data on yield effects or phytotoxicity of these products exists in the region. A water-only control, Devrinol 50DF at 4.5 kg/ha followed by Sinbar 80WP at 0.14 kg/ha as a standard herbicide treatment and two Sinbar 80WP applications at 0.14 kg/ha were evaluated along with Prowl H2O at 2.8 l/ha prior to or immediately after transplanting. Chateau 51WDG at 0.20 kg/ha and Prowl H2O at 2.8 l/ha will also be tested during fall dormancy as part of this project. During the fourth year of a project investigating day-neutral strawberry production, 6 cultivars or selections of day-neutral strawberries were harvested for a second year from an annual raised-bed system on black plastic. Cultivars tested were Seascape, Albion, Everest, Evie-2, Evie-3, and an advanced selection from the North Carolina State University breeding program. Data were collected on cold hardiness and secondary bud production for a second year from a trial established in 2005 at the Penn State's Southeast Research and Extension Center in Landisville, PA. Thorny varieties evaluated were Chickasaw, Shawnee, Illini Hardy, Kiowa and Fort Kent King while thornless varieties were Doyle's Thornless, Cacanska, Apache, Ouachita, Triple Crown, Navaho and Chester. In high tunnels, the primocane-bearing red raspberry cultivars Heritage and Nantahala were established. Yield and growth parameter data from a field trial of blueberry cultivars established in 2005 was continued through 2009. The cultivars and selections included Bluecrop, Duke, Elliott, Bluegold, Sunrise, Aurora, Reka, Draper, Liberty, Nelson, and MIUS 32. Results from these experiments were disseminated to 243 growers at 5 winter meetings in Pennsylvania, 603 growers at 6 state or regional meetings in other states (MI, WI, MN, DE, MD, and VA), and 247 growers at 7 twilight meetings, field days and workshops in PA and nearby states. Information resulting from this project was incorporated into The Mid-Atlantic Berry Guide for Commercial Growers. PARTICIPANTS: John Esslinger, Extension Educator for Penn State Cooperative Extension in the Northeast Region of Pennsylvania, is co-PI on the blueberry variety trial. Annemiek Schielder, Michigan State University, is a co-PI for the study on black root rot of strawberry, and is responsible for a complementary trial taking place in Michigan. Tom Murphy, Extension Educator for Penn State Cooperative Extension in Lycoming is also a cooperator on the black root rot study. Timothy Elkner, Extension Educator for Penn State Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County and Fumiomi Takeda, Research Scientist at the Appalachian Tree Fruit Research Station in Kearneysville, are co-PI's on the blackberry bud cold hardiness trial. Harry J. Swartz, Professor at the University of Maryland, and Willie Lantz, Extension Educator for Maryland Cooperative Extension, are co-PI's on the day-neutral project. Jim Ballington, Professor at North Carolina State University, was also a collaborator on this project. Partner organizations have been Michigan State University, the University of Maryland, and North Carolina State University. TARGET AUDIENCES: The primary target audience for this project is the approximately 1100 commercial berry crop producers in Pennsylvania, but also growers in surrounding and other nearby states. Most of these producers farm relatively small acreages of berry crops in diversified operations that produce small fruit crops, vegetable crops, and/or tree fruit. Many of their farms are located near urbanized areas where development pressure is high, increasing the need for production of high value crops to justify production on high value land. This proximity to consumers, however, also positions them well to market perishable, but desirable, commodities. Others who are likely to benefit from this work include commercial berry producers in other regions of the U.S. with a similar climate, homeowners with an interest in berry crop production, and the Master Gardeners who serve them. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Within the project and specific experiments, modifications are continually made to gain additional knowledge, or to address emerging needs for information. For example, the experiment that evaluated new herbicides, though within the realm of the project, was not specifically planned as the herbicides were not labeled for use patterns tested until very recently. Within individual experiments, modifications are made to protocols to maximize the amount of useful data collected. For example, in the project on blackberry plant compensation for winter damage, data collection efforts were shifted to late in the bud emergence period when the most accurate determinations could be made.

Impacts
Treatments for black root rot mitigation will not be known until the second harvest year (2010). None of the herbicide treatments tested had a negative impact on plant growth, though effect on yields will not be known until the first harvest year (2010). Data from the day-neutral strawberry cultivar trial showed that Seascape and Albion were productive and also had very good berry quality. The advanced selection from the North Carolina State University breeding program performed very well as well. Everest and Evie-3 had high yields, but berries were soft and prone to a short postharvest life. Seascape, Albion, and Evie-3 are recommended for trial on growers' farms and could be viable cultivars used to greatly extend the harvest season for this high value crop. Among blackberry cultivars, Illini Hardy in particular compensated for winter for damage to a greater extent by producing secondary flower buds, and sometimes also tertiary ones. For other cultivars, changes in pruning practices such as leaving longer lateral lengths may be needed to increase yields of certain desirable cultivars that are cold-hardy but do not compensate for winter damage to buds. Cultivars that are neither cold-hardy, nor capable of compensating for damage to primary buds, will not be recommended for production in colder regions of the state. Both the blackberry and day-neutral projects provide growers with information on new crops that they can grow to increase on-farm income. One advanced selection of primocane-bearing blackberries performed very well in a high tunnel environment, producing high yields of large fruit with excellent flavor. Growers across the state are trialing and sometimes adopting new production methods for new small fruit crops, such as day-neutral cultivars on plasticulture production systems, and high tunnel production of raspberries and blackberries. Herbicides tested are being used by growers according to recommendations that were developed as part of the research conducted under this project.

Publications

  • Demchak, K. 2009. Small Fruit Production in High Tunnels. HortTechnology 19:37-43.
  • Takeda, F., K. Demchak, D. T. Handley, R. Grube, C. Feldhake, and M. R. Warmund. 2008. Row Cover Improves Winter Survival and Production of Western Trailing 'Siskiyou' Blackberry in the Eastern United States. HortTechnology 18:575-582.
  • Demchak, K., J. K. Harper, and L. F. Kime. 2009. Agricultural Alternatives: Highbush Blueberry Production. Penn State Coop. Ext. Publ. UA265. 6 pp.
  • Sanders, G., E. Sanchez, and K. Demchak. 2009. Alternative Controls for Gray Mold on Raspberries. Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers News. 32(8):21-22.
  • Demchak, K., W. Lantz, and H. Swartz. 2009. Performance of New Day-Neutral Strawberry Varieties. Proc. of the 2009 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention. pp. 154-156.


Progress 10/01/07 to 09/30/08

Outputs
OUTPUTS: A number of small fruit experiments were established or continued. A field study that evaluates foliar and soil drench treatments for mitigation of decline associated with black root rot complex of strawberries was continued through 2008. Foliar treatments were Vigor-Cal-Phos and Phostrol, and soil drench treatments were Abound and Symbex. A second facet of this study examines whether the use of certain herbicides could contribute to a decrease in strawberry plant root growth, possibly increasing the symptoms of black root rot. An experiment that had been conducted in 2007 was repeated and expanded in 2008. A water-only control was compared to Devrinol 50DF at 4.5 and 9.0 kg/ha; Dacthal 75WP at 13.4 kg/ha; Dual Magnum at 1.7 l/ha; Sinbar 80WP at 0.14, 0.28 and 0.42 kg/ha; Chateau 51WDG at 0.07 kg/ha; and various treatments with 1 or 2 sequential applications of Sinbar 80WP at 0.14 kg/ha. During the third year of a project investigating day-neutral strawberry production, 11 cultivars or selections of day-neutral strawberries were evaluated in an annual raised-bed system on black plastic. Cultivars tested were Seascape, Albion, Everest, Evie-2, Evie-3, and advanced selections GDTv14, GDTv25, GDTv26, NCL05-87, EMF-F3, and AA21. A blackberry variety trial that had been established in 2005 at the Penn State's Southeast Research and Extension Center in Landisville, PA was continued. Thorny varieties evaluated include Chickasaw, Shawnee, Illini Hardy, Kiowa and Fort Kent King while thornless varieties are Doyle's Thornless, Cacanska, Apache, Ouachita, Triple Crown, Navaho and Chester. Primocane-bearers are Prime Jim and Prime Jan, both thorny. Differences among cultivars in cold hardiness and secondary bud production were noticed in 2007. As an outgrowth of this observation, an experiment was conducted in 2008 to examine whether high yields of cultivars said to be cold-hardy reflect the ability of flower buds on a certain cultivar to survive the winter, or instead the cultivar's ability to compensate for damage to primary buds by producing secondary flower buds. Data was collected from a designated number of buds per plot that were examined weekly or biweekly to determine whether flower buds emerged from primary, secondary, or other buds. In high tunnels, the primocane-bearing black raspberry cultivar Explorer was compared to Jewel as a standard. Yield and growth parameter data from a field trial of blueberry cultivars was continued through 2008. The cultivars and selections included Bluecrop, Duke, Elliott, Bluegold, Sunrise, Aurora, Reka, Draper, Liberty, Nelson, and MIUS 32. Results from these experiments were disseminated to 460 growers at 5 winter meetings in Pennsylvania, 50 growers at a field day in Oakland, Maryland, and 120 growers at field days and workshops in Landisville and Rock Springs, Pennsylvania. Information resulting from this project was incorporated into The Mid-Atlantic Berry Guide for Commercial Growers. Project information was also directly delivered to grower audiences at meetings in New Jersey, West Virginia, Illinois, New Hampshire and Virginia reaching an additional 410 growers. PARTICIPANTS: John Esslinger, Extension Educator for Penn State Cooperative Extension in Lackawanna County is co-PI on the blueberry variety trial, and is a collaborator on the black root rot trial conducted in northeastern Pennsylvania. Annemiek Schielder, Michigan State University, is a co-PI for the study on black root rot of strawberry, and is responsible for a complementary trial taking place in Michigan. Timothy Elkner, Extension Educator for Penn State Cooperative Extension in Lancaster Co, and David H. Johnson, Facilities Coordinator at the Southeast Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Landisville, PA are co-PI's on the blackberry variety trial. Fumiomi Takeda, Research Scientist at the Appalachian Tree Fruit Research Station in Kearneysville, West Virginia is a co-PI on the blackberry bud cold hardiness trial. Harry J. Swartz, Professor at the University of Maryland, and Willie Lantz, Extension Educator for Maryland Cooperative Extension are co-PI's on the day-neutral project and have a complementary planting in Maryland. Jim Ballington (TITLE) at North Carolina State University was also a collaborator in this project. Partner organizations have been Michigan State University, the University of Maryland, and North Carolina State University. TARGET AUDIENCES: The primary target audience for this project is the approximately 1100 commercial berry crop producers in Pennsylvania. Most of these producers farm relatively small acreages of berry crops in diversified operations that produce small fruit crops, vegetable crops, and/or tree fruit. Many of their farms are located near urbanized areas where development pressure is high, increasing the need for production of high value crops to justify production on high value land. This proximity to consumers, however, also positions them well to market perishable, but desirable, commodities. Others who are likely to benefit from this work include commercial berry producers throughout the mid-Atlantic, northeast, and north-central regions of the U.S., and homeowners with an interest in berry crop production. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Certain aspects of different experiments were, and will continue to be, changed when necessary to better understand the causes of certain effects that were seen, or to more accurately reflect conditions that might be occurring in growers' fields. In general terms, this meant that experiments that address current issues were conducted as needed. Within specific experiments, modifications are continually made to gain additional knowledge. For example, in the experiment that examined the effect of herbicide treatments on new root growth, originally the project looked at individual herbicide effects. However, growers rely not on just one herbicide for weed control, but more often sequential applications of different products. Hence, the use of individual herbicides was maintained to determine the effects that individual products might have, but sequential combinations were included to reflect grower conditions and the resultant cumulative effects that might occur. In the experiment that examines types of blackberry flower buds produced on various cultivars for winter injury compensation, data collection efforts will be shifted to be several weeks later in the season when the most useful data is obtained, and data will be collected on the productivity of these later-emerged flower buds to find out whether their effect may be greater or less than expected as based just on numbers of clusters produced.

Impacts
In the study on materials for mitigation of black root rot symptoms on strawberries in Pennsylvania, no significant differences in yields among treatments were found, although in a similar study conducted in collaboration with Michigan State University, some differences were found. The difference in results between sites may have been due to the differences in causal factors of decline. Where causal factors are more likely to be cultural practices rather than primarily disease organisms, recommendations will be adjusted to reflect that there is no reason to spend dollars to attempt to mitigate the problem. Rather, it is more valuable to correct the cultural problem affecting plant growth. Though data is still being analyzed, it appears that there is at least a trend towards less new root growth being produced on strawberry plants that receive sequential herbicide applications. Certain herbicide treatments, however, had no negative effect on new root growth. This will result in changes in recommendations concerning which herbicides are safe to use on both new and established strawberry plantings, and which should be used with caution. Data from the day-neutral strawberry cultivar trial showed that Seascape and Albion were productive and also had very good berry quality. Everest and Evie-3 had the highest yields, but berries were soft and prone to short postharvest life. Seascape, Albion, and Evie-3 are recommended for trial on growers' farms and could be viable cultivars used to greatly extend the harvest season for this high value crop. Among blackberry cultivars, Cacanska was the highest-yielding, but berries tended to be soft when hot weather conditions occurred. Other cultivars have potential for producing acceptable crops of high-quality fruit. Some cultivars previously thought to be cold-tender were found to have a high rate of primary flower bud survival, while others thought to be cold-hardy did not necessarily have a high rate of primary flower bud survival, but did compensate for damage to a greater extent by producing secondary flower buds, and sometimes also tertiary ones. This would suggest that changes in pruning practices may be used to increase yields of certain desirable cultivars that had previously been thought not to be cold-hardy. Both the blackberry and day-neutral projects provide growers with information on new crops that they can grow to increase on-farm income. Black raspberry production in high tunnels was relatively low compared to other bramble crops in high tunnels, and is unlikely to result in profitable returns.

Publications

  • Demchak, K. (coordinator). 2008. The MidAtlantic Berry Guide for Commercial Growers. Current contributors: K. Demchak, T. E. Elkner, M. Frazier, S.D. Guiser, J.M. Halbrendt, J.K. Harper, G. Krawczyk, K.M. Richards, E.S. Sanchez, G. J. San Julian, J. W. Travis, B.A. Majek, P. Nitzsche, P. Oudemans, G. Pavlis, D. Polk, C. Rodriguez-Saona, W. J. Sciarappa, P.W. Shearer, D. L. Ward, D.M. Caron, W.E. Kee, G.C. Johnson, B.R. Butler, A. DeMarsay, J.A. Fiola, H.J. Swartz, M. Ehlenfeldt, J.F. Derr, J.A. Pattison, D.G. Pfieffer, K.S. Yoder, J.F. Baniecki, A. Biggs, J. W. Jett, H. Hogmire, E. Mashburn. Penn State Coop. Ext. Pub. AGRS-97. 248 pp.
  • Heidenreich, M.C., M.P. Pritts, M.J. Kelly, and K. Demchak. 2007. High tunnel raspberries and blackberries. Cornell Dept. of Horticulture. Pub. No. 47. 29 pp.


Progress 01/01/07 to 12/31/07

Outputs
OUTPUTS: Alternative fungicides were compared to a conventional fungicide rotation (Captan alternated with Elevate) for a third year on raspberries. Products tested were Milstop, Phostrol, Endorse, lime sulfur, Oxidate in combination with Milstop, and Oxidate in combination with Vigor-Cal-Phos. In 2007, disease pressure was low and there were few differences with treatments generally not more effective than the water-only control. A blackberry cultivar experiment in Lancaster County was harvested for a second year. Of the 13 cultivars being tested, `Illini Hardy' yields were highest at 12,510 lb/a followed by `Cacanska' at 12,264 lb/a and `Doyle's Thornless' at 9,181 lb/a. `Kiowa' had the largest average fruit size at 11.5 g/berry, but its overall yields were reduced by winter damage. `Apache' and `Triple Crown' had excellent flavor. Yields of most of the thornless varieties were reduced due to winter damage, while `Illini Hardy' and `Fort Kent King' showed little to no damage. A study was established to examine the effects of potential "rescue" treatments for strawberry plants diagnosed with black root rot. Soil drench treatments of Abound at 0.8 fl oz/1000' of row, and Symbex 4X at 2 qt/acre, and foliar treatments of Phostrol at 4 pt/a and Vigor-Cal-Phos at 3 qt/acre were evaluated alone and in combinations. Drenches were applied in mid-May, after renovation, and in mid-September. Foliar applications were made at approximately 2-week intervals prior to harvest, and after renovation until mid-September. There were no significant differences in yields. A short-term study in pots compared effects of herbicides applied on the day of planting on establishment of the strawberry cultivar `Allstar'. There were no differences in leaf weight or feeder root mass between herbicides currently labeled for use at planting (napropamide, terbacil, and DCPA) at labeled rates and a water-only control. S-metolachlor as Dual Magnum at 1.5 pt/a and flumioxazin as Chateau at 1 oz/a also did not decrease production of new leaf or root growth; however, terbacil as Sinbar at 6 oz/a and Chateau at 3 oz/a decreased both feeder root mass and leaf growth. Chateau at 1 or 3 oz/a applied 2 days after planting decreased growth. In a field experiment established in 2006 with the day-neutral strawberry cultivar `Seascape', fertilization practices were evaluated through the use of 3 levels of compost applied in the yield of planting (at rates containing 0, 400, and 800 lb/a of total nitrogen), and 3 levels of nitrogen applied weekly through trickle irrigation (0, 1, or 2 lb/a/week of nitrogen). Only yield data for the first flush of berries in the spring of 2007 (May 23 - July 6) is available so far. Berry size was smaller than in the first year, ranging from 8.0 to 9.6 g/berry. Yields were relatively high, ranging from 8,181 lb/a for the 0 compost 0 N treatment to 11,972 lb/a for the high compost rate with 1 lb/a/week fertigated nitrogen. Percent marketable fruit had no discernable trends. Plant survival over the winter was excellent with the use of a double layer of 1.25 oz/yd2 row cover. PARTICIPANTS: Elsa Sanchez, Assistant Professor of Horticultural Systems Management is a co-PI on the project on alternative fungicides for raspberries. Graham Sanders, graduate student in the Department of Horticulture, has been involved with data collection and maintenance of the raspberry plots. His work on this project serves to partially fulfill the requirements for an M.S. degree. Timothy Elkner, Extension Educator for Penn State Cooperative Extension in Lancaster Co, and David H. Johnson, Facilities Coordinator at the SE Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Landisville are co-PI's on the blackberry variety trial. Annemiek Schielder, Associate Professor at Michigan State University, is a co-PI for the study on black root rot of strawberry. Harry J. Swartz, Professor at the University of Maryland, and Wille Lantz, Extension Educator for Maryland Cooperative Extension are co-PI's on the day-neutral project and have complementary plantings in Maryland. Partner organizations have been Michigan State University, Cornell University, and the University of Maryland. As part of the alternative fungicide raspberry project, two workshops were held to teach growers about raspberry disease identification and management. Results of research projects listed above have been discussed at field days, and at meetings such as the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention, and numerous grower meetings. Information and recommendations resulting from this research has been incorporated into Extension publications such as the Mid-Atlantic Berry Guide, a 6-state regional publication utilized by growers, and numerous newsletter articles such as those appearing in the Vegetable and Small Fruit Gazette and the Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers News. TARGET AUDIENCES: Target audiences are small fruit growers, who usually grow berry crops as part of diversified production operations.

Impacts
There is a significant need for information on alternative fungicidal products that growers may use in hopes of reducing environmental impacts while having a beneficial effect on the crop. Knowing which products may not have an intended effect is equally as important as knowing which products do, as money spent may reduce the growers profitability and ability to stay in business. There are grower reports of a strong demand for blackberries in PA, along with numerous new cultivars on the market, but little information on their ability to survive winter weather conditions in PA. Cultivars that produce a high quality crop and acceptable yields are being identified. Black root rot is a disease complex that plagues growers and because of the uncertainty of the true cause, identification of products that could prolong planting life would be of value. Additionally, stresses on the plants that decrease root growth, such as possible damage from herbicides, may result in increased susceptibility to disease organism attack. Efficacy of products on the market that may have an effect on planting health must be determined, and knowledge of cultural practices to avoid is of value in keeping plantings healthy and productive, and keeping growers profitable. Growers are reporting requests for strawberries at times of the year other than early summer. This consumer acceptance of strawberries produced at other than typical times of the year opens the door for production of day-neutral strawberries in the region, and the need for additional information on management, including fertility. The fact that high yields could be obtained with relatively low amounts of nitrogen, even in the second year of harvest, will result in recommendations that will minimize nitrogen use and loss of nitrogen to the environment and groundwater.

Publications

  • Loughner, R., G.M. Loeb, K. Demchak and S. Schloemann. 2007. Evaluation of Strawberry Sap Beetle (Coleoptera:Nitidulidae) Use of Habitats Surrounding Strawberry Plantings as Food Resources and Overwintering Sites. Environmental Ent. 36:1059-1065.
  • Demchak, K. 2007. Small Fruit Production in High Tunnels. Abstract in Colloquium 4: High Tunnels - Season Extension Technology for Production of Horticultural Crops. HortSci. 42:838.
  • Demchak, K. and E.S. Sanchez. 2007. Row Cover Usage Modifications for Northern Strawberry Plasticulture. HortSci 42:983.
  • Sanders, G., E.S. Sanchez and K. Demchak. 2007. Evaluation of Alternative Chemicals and a Cultural Strategy for Managing Gray Mold on Raspberries. HortSci. 42:1021.
  • Sanchez, E. (editor). 2007. Monthly. Vegetable and Small Fruit Gazzete. Includes articles of interest to berry growers. http://hortweb.cas.psu.edu/vegcrops/newsletterlist.html


Progress 01/01/06 to 12/31/06

Outputs
Several field experiments were continued or established. Alternative fungicides were compared to a conventional fungicide rotation (Captan alternated with Elevate) for a second year on raspberries. Alternative products were Milstop, Phostrol, Endorse, lime sulfur, Oxidate in combination with Milstop, and Oxidate in combination with Vigor-Cal-Phos. In 2006, only Captan/Elevate produced higher marketable yields than the water-only control, and only Oxidate plus Milstop produced significantly lower marketable yields. In post-harvest storage studies conducted at room temperature, Endorse appeared to have some potential as a new material to decrease disease development, though significance level of results varied on different harvest dates. A small crop was harvested from a blackberry cultivar experiment that was established in 2005 in Lancaster County. This study evaluates 13 cultivars. A highbush blueberry experiment evaluating 14 cultivars or advanced selections was established in 2005 on a grower's farm in Luzerne County. No harvest data were collected in 2006 due to the need to remove blossoms for a second year in order to establish the plants. A second trial of cultivars which might be too cold-tender for production in colder areas of the state was established in 2005 in Montgomery County, but no yield data were collected from this experiment for the same reason. Strawberries that had been planted in high tunnels at Rock Springs, PA in the fall of 2005 were harvested in the spring and early summer of 2006. Cultivars tested were the June-bearers 'Chandler', 'Ventana', 'Araza', and 'armine', and day-neutrals 'Seascape', NC 3-5 and NC 3-8. 'Chandler' out-produced other June-bearing cultivars and overall had the most desirable fruit characteristics. Among day-neutrals, NC 3-5 and NC 3-8 had excellent flavor, size, and yields, producing large berries and nearly 1.5 pounds of fruit per plant for the spring and early summer season alone. In a field experiment established in 2006 at Rock Springs, PA using the day-neutral cultivar 'Seascape', fertilization practices were evaluated through the use of three levels of compost as a source of nitrogen (0, 448, and 896 kg/ha of total nitrogen compost, assumed to supply 0, 45, and 90 kg/ha of nitrogen in year 1), and three levels of nitrogen applied weekly through trickle irrigation (0, 1.1, or 2.2 kg/ha/week of nitrogen). Soil temperatures at a 10-cm depth were typically 4-5 degrees C cooler under reflective mulch relative to black mulch, and reflected PAR levels off of the mulch (2 weeks after planting) were about 50% as high as those received from the sky, for a considerable increase in total light levels available to the plant. Yield data showed no significant differences in marketable, unmarketable, or total yields, or percentage marketable fruit or mean berry weight among fertilization treatments. Total fruit yield ranged from 13,800 kg/ha for the 0 compost - 0 N fertigated treatment to 18,100 kg/ha for the 896 kg total N/ha via compost with no fertigated N treatment. Mean berry weight for the season ranged from 11.0 to 12.0 g/berry. Percentage marketable yield ranged from 58.5% to 60.1%.

Impacts
The potential use of a new alternative fungicide that could have a place in sustainable or organic production, and that prolongs the shelf-life of raspberries will be of value to producers and consumers, as the short shelf-life of raspberries currently is a limiting factor in marketability. Even if the effects vary with environmental conditions surrounding harvest, there would be value as organic and sustainable producers currently have few options beyond cultural controls available to them to decrease gray mold development. There are grower reports of a good market for blackberries in PA, but winter injury is limiting production. The identification of cultivars that produce a high quality crop will be of value in satisfying this market. As the consuming public becomes less aware of the "usual" seasonal availability of certain types of produce, growers are reporting requests for strawberries at times of the year other than early summer. This acceptance of strawberries produced at other than typical times of the year opens the door for production of day-neutral strawberries in the region, and the need for additional information on management, including fertility. The fact that high yields could be obtained with addition of relatively low amounts of nitrogen will result in recommendations that will minimize nitrogen use and loss of nitrogen to the environment and groundwater.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period


Progress 01/01/05 to 12/31/05

Outputs
Improvements in yields and production efficiency have historically been of value to growers. This project attempts to make improvements in production while also improving the safety of production to the environment, the producer, and the consumer. Work done as part of this project will also evaluate cultivars of berry crops for which demand is increasing the fastest. A raspberry field study was established in which biorational fungicides are being tested for efficacy against gray mold and for effects on yield. These products include Milstop, Phostrol, Oxidate, and Endorse. Some biorational fungicides were found to result in phytotoxicity during periods of high temperatures, especially Milstop and Phostrol. There were no yield differences among treatments. Blackberries are the crop that has increased the fastest in number of producers and acreage from 1997 to 2002. A blackberry experiment that evaluates 13 blackberry cultivars was established in 2005 at the Penn State Southeast Research and Extension Center in Lancaster County. Among cultivars being tested are Prime-Jim and Prime-Jan, the first two primocane-bearing blackberry cultivars to be released. Other cultivars included for which very little data are currently available are Doyles Thornless, Kiowa, Ouachita, Fort Kent King, Cacanska, and Apache. Data on vegetative characteristics were collected during 2005. No yield data is yet available. A highbush blueberry experiment that evaluates 14 cultivars or advanced selections was established in 2005 on a growers farm in Luzerne County. The plants established well, and data on vigor and susceptibility to pests will be collected starting in 2006. Cultivars of particular interest due to a lack of data on performance in this region include Bluegold, Reka, Sunrise, and MIUS 32. A second trial of cultivars which might be too cold-tender for production in colder areas of the state was established in Montgomery County. Cultivars in this trial included Puru, Legacy, and Chandler. In the area of insect pests, strawberry sap beetles have become a large problem on certain growers farms. A study was conducted that tracked sap beetle populations through various crops on several farms in the Northeast in a cooperative project with Cornell University, with one such site in Cambria County. In continuing studies on the strawberry plasticulture production system, various renovation treatments were applied to a carryover planting. Yield data will be collected from this trial in 2006.

Impacts
Whether various biorational products are effective or not, results from the study on raspberry fungicides will be useful in that growers will know whether to expect control from certain products. If biorational fungicides are found that are effective, growers will have an additional tool that they can trust and use safely during the harvest season, a critical time of year for protection of fruit from disease development. From blackberry and blueberry cultivar trials that were recently established, growers will have information on the characteristics of various cultivars including disease resistance and susceptibilities, quality and yield. In the case of primocane-bearing blackberry cultivars, production of tame blackberries may be extended to regions of the Northeast where it currently is not possible due to the cold-tenderness of currently-available cultivars, thus giving growers a new crop that they can grow. Growers of strawberry plants in the plasticulture system have not been able to obtain respectable yields in the second harvest season in certain locations in PA. Results from this study will allow them to have income from the crop for a second year while needing to provide very little additional inputs beyond those already used in establishing the planting.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period