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Logo of 2019 Adventist Agricultural Association Conference: True Success

Organic Blueberry Production - Part 2

Eric Pond


  • January 16, 2019
    9:30 AM
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I really like to see a really balanced mineral platform for the livers and really high calcium but not calcium that's increasing soil ph So we are putting down gypsum gypsum is also one of the. Probably one of the key. Components to combating root diseases in very crops organically so Inc disease is what they call. What fight off Phytophthora rot in chestnuts and there's a there was a guy that applied huge amounts of gypsum we're talking like several tons a year and really in curing histories well cured is a I guess relative term but the effects of the fight off. Went away after several years of these heavy gypsum applications so I do recommend using gypsum it works really well you really need to. All of these things need to really be in. With soil sample and working with an extension person or an agronomist that's the this large farming operation we had 3 full time agronomists on our team in-house so we were doing things and building ways of managing things that we wanted to kind of keep to ourselves and rather than having a chemical company push even though it's organic there are still pushing this bugs in the jug idea and. Just be aware it's kind of like. Your own body health you can eat the latest you know special whatever or you can eat a wide variety of net close to natural ones close to on processed and you're going to be healthier same with the point Same with the blueberries all this stuff is really reality of so. I don't usually go after fancy. We got pitched all kinds of stuff because we were at this kind of a scale so you're getting pitched all kinds of things and this guy showed up one day as a Sunny Side Story and was pitching us that he was a real good sales person as they typically are he had a great pitch and at the end of it I said well what why is it so special it's still fish. Chicken manure and something else and you think it's because I mix them together depend upon the moon cycles and I had this huge long story about when the moon was at this dome this into the vat and it was the moon was at this stage it was this was like come out of here like OK I'm going to use the same ingredients and I'm just going to do it when I went and it worked anyway but anyway we in our soils in our area we added $300.00 pounds of gypsum every 2nd year to those beds per acre and it's just on that bed so it's actually a much higher rate because we apply 300 to the acre but it's applied on the bed which is a small portion of that acre so. Sorry moving on to irrigation systems. So this is a. Drip irrigation manifold going in here each of these tubes will connect to up comes out of the at the end of the row we put on a T. valve a T. to screen filters and then it goes into the double blind drip on each of the plant. So on the like on a small scale you could use 2 inch oval hose and bury that I still would recommend using solid drip I wouldn't use T.T. because it just disintegrates after a while and gophers can eat it pretty easily too so. It was really important for us to treat everyone on the farm. The same and we'll get a little talk a little more about this but as we were developing the cruise just because you're on a farm isn't mean you shouldn't have safety equipment so chest that's why i just because it's a farm doesn't mean you should do things that are sketchy so. Or if you're too cheap don't plant crops that really require the care they need just you need to things need to be done right and well matter what you do but anyway yeah that's an irrigation line that's that trencher you saw earlier we're now coming along putting in the irrigation that's a gasket at pipe so each pipe sits in a shoved in with a liver and there's a gasket that keeps it sealed so that was a farm crew and we bought them all vests and helmets and and. Ran it like a construction site actually so everybody was safe and we actually never had any injuries. On that kind of a thing we had a guy crowing between rows that go to seed we'd seed in his ear that went WAY IN had to get extracted and we got a guy stung in the eye a few times stung in the face but not big injuries like that so here's a blueberry show up in a gallon pot on the left side you see all the root system here where it's. It's not rubella they're not circling yet but those roots are are really entrenched in their little pot they're right so on the right side is what I like to see it when it goes in the ground we just do it by hand. So this is a process. Another thing is to not plant these too deep. It's the biggest mistake and so we had were planning we had we had 485 people planting this other this large farm and we had team leaders we split. We designed our teams to have a crew leader and in a leader of those leaders and people working in groups all around the farm because they were doing different things all around the farm at the same time so some were still doing better form and some were doing sawdust and compost this was a huge operation a planet 700 acres in one year we're planning over 45 acres a day just actually planting the plants in the ground but there's all that process that goes up to that so I say this because it's the most important job on the farm and it's the one that PETA people every time wanted to they didn't want to do it they felt like it was unimportant to stand there and watch a crew of 20 people and work with them. And because you'll get to plan you get in a rhythm when you're doing this and then pretty soon they're not doing it pretty soon it looks like that and that plant won't grow very well and you'll see these things in your field later on and they never come out it's like it this never. Recovers after that so it's one of the most important jobs on the farm and it took a lot of education to help people understand like that person that's supervising that person the people doing the planting was actually the most important person not the guy driving the tractor nothing installing the irrigation we and we paid those people more money to there was a bonus to be that kind of that crew supervisor that was on the planting crew so this is laying out this is 2 crews of people laying out the liberals come in bands like this all stacked in the bin there's about $300.00 plants for Ben. And you'll go through the field so once the beds are formed the sawdust and compost and minerals are put down there formed again we then put the fabric on it's then or we actually lay the drip tube on that large planting We had a lady drive 3000 miles she wore 4 sets of tires off of a clawed in the summer point the drip tube because you put a we put a spreader bar on the back of the 4 wheeler connected to being 2 and then you drive down the row 500 feet turn around and come and do it again all day long it's kind of boring after a while. But yeah so the drip to gets laid down the fabric then gets closed we then use a small. Propane torch to burn the hole in the fabric and we just we cut a cut. Like. I think their 8th inch metal rings with a handle on it and then we put a chain on the end of the handle so the chain fell into this hole when you were at the next hole you knew to burn so that was 3 feet apart so it automatically you just burned a hole in the hole and that chain was falling down and falling into the center of the hole that you previous that you just burned so that's how we did this a large scale we were trying to design a. Kind of like a branding iron that would stay hot that you could roll in the back of a tractor but we just never figured that out we also built a autumn we built a mechanical blueberry planter and it worked pretty well but when you think about the cost savings to mechanically plant and the fact that plant's going to be there for 50 years or so only 5 years it's nothing it's so minute so we went back to hand planting because it was was the most accurate way to do it even though the mechanical was pretty good so innovation can you have to balance it. Oh yeah we planned in the fall I actually like spring planting the best but the fall planting here in Oregon before rains too hard is works out the best for us. This is so this is just planted you can see that the this tip here is just beginning over we prefer Prieur again prior to the 2 days before planting and let it dry out a little bit so there's the bed underneath there is most and then we irrigate like $8.00 to $12.00 hours we really soak the bed afterwards because remember you're going from this. Soil media in the nursery to soil and they're not the same the porousness is completely different so you can check your soil your soil is saturated right here just soaking wet and that plant can be dry so you have to look at the plant also when you plant we reach in there as we're planting and pull the 2 bread up next to the to the blueberry and into richer years later it's fine that it's a side effect that's probably the drip to read under here you see it's a little it's right on top. Here and in there. But 12 inches. This is how we were leveling the beds in between after planting So if we take a leaf blower and blow all the debris off of the actually this mountain on the back of a 4 wheeler and the guy just drives along just does this and blows off each one of these beds so it blows off any of the debris on there and then we take this 3 in one cold evader and we made these wings for the side of it this is a rubber piece here he goes right up against the fabric to try to level that out because you know you're doing this you're hope you're only doing this once. I guess it just kind of goes it's just speaks to the level of care that we're doing taking when we're planting these things new so. That's a newly planted field before the grass cover crop was put in the center and this is the field the next spring so grass Yeah that's perennial regress we use tall fescue too. And clover works OK but clover rules tend to creep up on the fabric so on a small scale I'd probably I wouldn't I'd be OK using LIKE A else like clover a low growing dwarf towards the Dutch I guess. That works to. Just another photo of a plant scene. This one is conventional So there's a herbicide right next to the fabric for the 1st year and then it was transitioned to organic in and so that grass would grow all the way across there or we take the Bloss NS off the 1st 2 years so allow the plant to build up its root system and it's. Top the architecture of the structure of the bush in the top so. This is just put in here to remind me to take those of to tell you what. You can I mean if it's a home garden situation you could leave like one little cluster that's probably not going to hurt anything Yes Yeah in fact sprinklers. Yeah a good question OK so. The Drip is 95 percent efficient too so you're getting all the water to the to the point where the overhead is only about 75 percent so there's a water savings. I didn't like the water on the fruit because it lowers the fruit quality Also if your water sources surface and you're sprayed on top of the fruit you have the chance of pathogens so food safety is a huge problem for surface water. It just creates a stamp wet environments and there's a so was spotted when Grisoft we changed our preen practices to open up the center of the blubber to get more air flow in there and to not create this cool damp environment where they love it in fact when it gets over 90 degrees we stop spring because they can't they can't lay eggs they're still they're flying around but they all die and they can't they don't lay eggs they have to has to be down cooler than that for them to reproduce so overhead irrigation creates this damp moist environment it cools the air I want the air warm well and then you can get too hot and boil your blueberries too but but anyway those were the main reasons and I didn't want it changes for quality. You know if it's if you've got a 25 year old planting is the only thing there you can convert to drip but it also requires a different pumping system different filtration if you don't have any of that stuff then try to irrigate 1st thing in the morning when they'll dry out during the heat of the day don't you're good at night I know everybody says you're getting negative less evaporation but on fruit crops it's it's just bad they would also try to micro swing sprinklers which is a variation in the in the middle kind of between overhead impact and drip and people that plants actually grew a little better but the fruit quality is a problem so. YOUNG So summer is can't row grass like California there was they were very envious of our nice grass up here in Oregon because we can grow grass but California it was a they had to use a co-leader because there was nothing would grow but these really rank broadleaf like nasty weeds and so they would use a kilometer and then they would do a winter cover crop when they got any more sure but then California they're also thinking about the moisture that goes in the ground do you really want that going to occur Grover do you want that going into the ground that it could then come back to your glory so it's a super sterile environment they don't even do birth control because no birds out there. The pests are people around there. Anyway it wasn't it wasn't a fun place to grow blueberries. They grow there and you have the change the natural environment the piece down there is like $8.00 It is finished crazy ph and it will adjust and it was just it's not a natural environment for blueberries but you can do it and you can make a lot of money at it because it's not in the main season the northwest is and so. Here's thing else I want to plant the birds when he don't want to eat too well except from overseas. Yeah you harass very Black Berry I will say like Black Berry Razr is more I think than they do blueberries and following drifts off of likes cherries are the worst and then I think it's red rest worry and then Black Berry and then blueberry for like attractiveness just a 2nd. So for. That it's a very specific like formula to the soil and with the soils on its buffering capacity we had a farm that one from farm you're looking at there with that we just saw the picture of that for we didn't realize this but they had just put on 6 ton of egg lime to plant Gerlach 2 years prior Yeah and that soil in the farm have somebody really good so it's like 810 feet deep there so there is it's just this really great wealth of buffering capacity on top of that the will in the in August the wells ph was like 9 it was something volcanic ash or something done that well and of course when I'm testing this thing to buy this farm from this client in the wintertime now that shows up yeah it's so in what else didn't show up was the silt in Phil particle in that pump so you know you take a well test and no sand shows up but there's this fine silt particle that was also this like volcanic little ash particles that would come up in the water right so here we are planting we've got a planting in return on their edition system it's we can't get anything out of the we are putting stuff up immediately we've already got 40 acres in the ground. So immediately I get one of those hot trucks out of like California or whatever and go to sand a cycling fan separator. On a truck I got a we got a fan media system we like another farmer was supposed to have for his thing they said we'll ship it to you so like overnight we were getting these trucks showing up we had you know welders in place we changed the whole configuration of the irrigation system and we had the sand media the sand separator and a sand media filtration system and that got us off the ground with those about a week's worth and it rained you know fortunately. It was a huge blessing that it rained and. You know God God watches well for us when we make stupid choices too so I guess I don't know if that was actually a dumb choice because there were some unknowns we did a lot of testing we do a lot of due diligence before we go into something so with a case where it was still unknown even after all the testing and so this shows up so we get there geisha system going and then it all comes August and we're like why is this vein showing up the inner. Venus yellowing showing up with so we started testing stuff again and the PH of the soil had gone down with that initial soil habitation and then went right back to where it was it was 68 right back and so we're applying Sulphur so then we're starting to apply so for we get a sulfur burner out of California and we're burning sulfur mixing in the water so it's this whole system where Burns It mixes the gas in the water to certify the water that starts working. But because it's oil head it is high buffering capacity the faults would evaporate to the top and sort of burning that stems of the blueberries right at the base of the blueberry because the salt would come up from that so forever cation and all of that's over put in so so they would have to do these huge like 12 hour drinks just to push it down. That farm now produced you know 2800000 pounds last year and it's back on track but it was 3 years of trying to buffer our way through the system and all these problems with all of that so even with all of the. You know everybody looking at all the diligence we're going to time you can still run into challenges. Fortunately the clients in it for the long haul and they understood and it cost a little bit more but it wasn't too bad we're actually still under budget in total on that project but. That's kind of devastating to be just makes you sick. Things are having you know a growing. Though we lost less than a half a percent. Anything under 5 percent the industry considers successful so it was you know it was a huge blessing that way but yeah a lot of pressure. Those kind of situations well all you can do is you know praying keep trying stuff because it's. So hard to sort of figure. Somebody make Shane somebody make sure you or all this keep trying to keep track or so he go to questions on planting. TROILUS the when they win these plans and you'll see this in one of the harvesting videos towards the end of the presentation they lay on the ground. Fruit the fruit just drags the branches down to the ground so that Troels is 2 wires one on each side and we move it up as that plant grows to keep it off the ground when it's fruity support and these are actually oil pipe so in organics you can use pressure treated wood so you either have to use seed or we actually found a plastic encoded glass impregnated would post this kind of interesting although it looked like a cemetery graveyard because they were white so there's loads of white posts and it just never took off. Plus you could break them so when you pull out the end of the road it would snap inside that plastic and then you have to replace And so these are all oil pipe cut in 9 foot 7 foot length and they have a bubble plate so it's a plate that we weld on each one of these That's when we drive these in the ground and we actually use a hydraulic post pounder on a. Bobcat or an escalator to pound these in the ground we made a jig to hold them at the right angle because there's a and we this in the thing we learn by doing we punch the main line a couple times because the angle Yeah yeah that's really funny. So we made an angle thing that would shoot it flicks over a new light it up on the end of the bed it angles into the bed and it would shoot it past the main lines like right here so. And then these are all pounded in by hand these are just 5 foot lightweight T. posts with a spade on it and we use 12 and a half gauge high tensile wire that costs about 1350 dollars an acre do install it's fairly expensive that's metal and labor. Oh yeah key point so we don't use a solid cross plate they have these metal solid cross plates and we don't do that because the machine transfer the vibration of the picking harvesting machine translates down the wire with those solid ones we use a wire loop so we get 14 gauge wire and we wrap it around the T. post and then come out here and wrap it around that wire to hold it in place like this and that doesn't translate it moves and so then so fertile fall off down before you can get it in the Harvester with us all. This media was brought to you by audio press a Web site dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about the audio verse if you would like to listen to more sermon leave W W W audio verse or.


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