By Clint Thompson
One of the featured presentations at the upcoming Florida Blueberry Growers Association Fall Conference and Trade Show will be a recap of the past season as well as what producers can look forward to next year with regards to pest and disease management and labor concerns.
Doug Phillips, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) blueberry Extension coordinator, will provide attendees information on last year which was highlighted by Hurricane Ian.
“The number one thing that stood out is the impact from Hurricane Ian in south-central Florida. Most of the growers down there had fairly significant reduced production. A lot of them said to me, 70% to 80% down from what they were used to having. That’s the biggest takeaway which is probably not a surprise to anybody. I think folks are aware there was a lot of wind damage and flooding down there,” Phillips said.
“Overall, I guess it was a little bit of a mixed bag in that some growers did really well, production wise and selling wise. Some experienced some later ripening fruit, probably for a couple of different reasons and maybe feel like they didn’t have an outstanding season. It was a little bit of a mixed bag for the rest of the state.”
Producers can learn more by attending the conference and trade show Wednesday, Oct. 25, at Bonnet Springs Park in Lakeland, Florida. Those interested in attending can click here to register.
Hurricane Ian made landfall on the coast of Cayo Costa on Sept. 28, 2022, as a Category 4 hurricane. Ian was the fourth largest storm to hit Florida.