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with their phone and file them so they have that to refer to as they investigate further, notes Sakalauskas. Those photos can be

shown to a field consultant or other professional as the grower determines the best method of dealing with the issue, once it’s been identified. Information in the

app links to the Ministry of Agriculture website, where more data is available on dealing with pests and diseases, as well as to labs. Disorders such as nutrient deficiencies and herbicide damage will also be covered in the app. In addition, it will include pests that

are of concern to export markets such as in China and Korea, because growers need to show those markets they are free of them in order to export fruit there. There will also be a section on

beneficial insects to ensure growers don’t inadvertently spray the ‘good guys,’ she adds. “The earlier growers can identify a

problem, the better the chance that they can deal effectively with it,” she comments. Updated information in the new app

was put together in collaboration with agriculture ministry professionals such as Carolyn Teasdale, Siva Sabaratnam, Tracy Hueppelsheuser, Vippen Joshi, as well as Eric Gerbrandt from the University of the Fraser Valley and Mark Sweeney Consulting, she notes.

Other tools In addition to the mobile app,

Sakalauskas points to a series of videos produced in 2013 for growers and berry specialists (in English and Punjabi and some episodes in Spanish) which detail the basics of planting, pruning, spraying, harvesting and pest control. It’s available through the BCBC website via the grower log-in. The videos were part of a pilot

project for B.C. blueberry growers, produced as part of the eLearning project called Connect Learn Grow,

10 British Columbia Berry Grower • Winter 2016-17 JUDIE STEEVES

Also available to growers are videos that detail the basics of planting, pruning, spraying, harvesting and pest control.

funded by IAF and BCBC. The intent is to help both large and

small growers and others in the industry to be better-informed, environmentally-aware, innovative and market-responsive. Material covered includes the basics

of planting, from what to know before establishing a field, to buying land, site selection, soil preparation, plant sources, field layout, planting and management. As well, pruning procedures and how

to prune both young and mature bushes is covered; as well as harvest options, variety suitability, machine calibration, field design and safety issues. The basics of spraying, from sprayer

calibration, optimization, maintenance and safety are also covered, along with the basics of pest and disease identification, from diagnosis to monitoring. There’s also a blueberry health

message growers should be aware of in order to help them promote the sale of blueberries. In addition to these tools to help

blueberry growers, E.S. Cropconsult Ltd. produces a weekly IPM Newsletter during the growing season to update Fraser Valley growers about conditions they should be aware of and areas where particular pests and diseases are prevalent currently. Production of the newsletter is funded by BCBC and the LMHIA. The newsletter is e-mailed to

growers who request it and it contains up-to-the-minute information on Spotted Wing Drosophila trap monitoring in different areas of the Lower

Mainland, and what should be used

for control; other pests, along with monitoring reports for each one, from aphids and midges to leafrollers, weevils, cankers, fruit rots, mummyberry, shock and scorch virus. Recommendations for control and

management of each pest and disease are included in the newsletter. Similar IPM newsletters are being

considered by other berry commodity groups. Growers can also access agricultural

research reports on new management and production practices through the BCBC website. The CloseUp reports are based on a ResearchImpact template which ensures the information has been simplified in language that should be clear to those other than the scientific community, making it accessible to growers. Some of the reports have been

distributed to growers during field days.

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