As growers wind down this year’s Florida blueberry season, they can look to a new UF/IFAS tool to help them decide whether to remove any existing blueberry cultivars and/or plant new ones.
The UF/IFAS blueberry breeding program has developed a new cultivar module of the UF/IFAS Blueberry Growers Guide, available for download at:
The cultivar selection tool is part of the UF/IFAS Blueberry Growers Guide, released as a phone app for both iOS and Android systems in December 2020. The app includes a scouting guide to help growers as they scout fields for diseases, insect injury, nutrient deficiencies and abiotic conditions -- for example, freeze or drought damage.
The new cultivar module will help growers select blueberry cultivars to plant or replant, said Doug Phillips, blueberry extension coordinator for UF/IFAS.
The new UF/IFAS tool will assist blueberry growers in making cultivar-related decisions, with detailed information available on their phones.
Phillips and UF/IFAS blueberry breeder Patricio Munoz, in consultation with growers and other UF/IFAS colleagues, curated the information to be included. The app contains detailed information on southern highbush blueberry cultivars released by UF/IFAS.
This data includes yield and fruit-quality data, along with information on Florida regions that cultivars are best adapted to, production systems, use of hydrogen cyanamide, machine harvesting, cultivars with overlapping flowering times and susceptibility to pests and diseases.
“Since I started in this position, I have seen the need for more easily accessible information about what we do,” said Munoz, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of horticultural sciences. “This is why we developed the UF Blueberry Breeding program webpage, which includes a significant amount of information.”
“However, we are now more used to having information at our fingertips and it is a natural progression to release this app for producers,” he said. “This is part of a larger effort to help our producers stay on top of the developments by the university, so they can remain competitive in this global market.”
Munoz developed the vision for a new cultivar module for this app, which is being released this month.
“I talk to blueberry growers throughout the state, and one question I got asked most frequently is which cultivars will do well in their location,” said Phillips. “This tool will assist growers in making cultivar-related decisions, with detailed information always available on their phones, instead of needing to look up publications or other information on a computer.”
Blueberry growers are encouraged to download and review this new cultivar module and share thoughts and ideas with the UF/IFAS team at email@example.com.