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Logo of 2019 Adventist Agricultural Association Conference: True Success

Organic Blueberry Production - Part 3

Eric Pond


  • January 16, 2019
    10:45 AM
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Some of you wanted to talk about Cain various I was assuming that was blackberries and raspberries or was or preference OK I'm going to start back at the beginning even though and just kind of walk you through a little bit like the differences. OK So Black Berries can grow in a lot heavier soil and don't need necessarily the tiling So if I had a place and I couldn't afford tiling or well drained drained they can sit in standing water but they can handle a whole lot rougher conditions than blueberries or respirators I would say raspberries are the most finicky then blueberries and then Black Berries and in strawberries they got their own they got their own challenges but anyway so. The plants are a lot cheaper because you're buying little rooted plugs I think are about $0.75 apiece they might be a couple dollars if you're buying smaller scale but they're ticked typically cheaper and you can do better root the common rooted clothes from tissue culture or they'll come in. Very sticks raspberries to typically or a lot of those are paired sticks and Black Berries you can get routed tips so the tip of your Black Berry And this is how you can expand your electric production in the future is by good varieties start with that and then let the tip the runner touch the ground all winter long and in the spring that thing will root and you can cut the cane off tie it up not your fruit and then you have your new plant down there and that's how you can expand on Black Berries. You don't have the tree guards mistaking we can plant Black Berries for about $12000.00 acre so there's a lot of cost in here that would be a lot less expensive I just moved I just went back to this is to give you some ideas and we'll talk about the economics of Black Berries too so there are about 12000 to put them in so little bit cheaper. Well sprit plant you want higher PH So you want to PH of 6.8 You want to well balanced a lot of calcium in the soil is really good because of the fruit quality they'll actually be firmer fruit which will resist pests and disease a little bit better it's not a cure all and it's not a reason to not do the. Not provide him with all the care but they really like that you also have tend to have a better. Fruit the flavor tends to be better so $66.00. I mean still they're going to grow really excellent on Blueberry sandy loam soil too so. You know put them on is good as well as you can get it you can grow them in greenhouses we talked earlier about Prime Akane versus 4 cane for areas that are extremely cold I would grow the right McKean varieties because they won't die. The cane won't desiccate in the winter time they're really sensitive to that. You can also mulch him over the winter the the crown in the roots in the around the root balls that so you can Mosul's over the winter to keep those from drying out and dying that way. Arkansas University of Arkansas is the breed leading breeder on. Prime Akane Blackberrys a nurse and terrible ones and there are some newer ones and I'm not up to date on the new varieties that taste better but they started out with a series called Prime Mark and I got up to prime Mark 45 and that was starting to taste better but a lot of those were really not did not taste good and we'll talk about how to grow those are specific ways you grow those that actually get better production and more fruit so we'll talk about that when we get back to the production side of this would be the development of cane berries production in the northwest we would expect 10000 pounds of the acre on. Black Berries $8.00 to $10000.00 pounds on a mature year they will start fruiting in there's so there are 2nd growing season would be a. Baby crop or half crop and in the 3rd growing season should be a full crop and that would be every year production so there's 2 types of growing black trailing Brecht Black Berry so not promising varieties for Cane varieties you can grow them in an every year production system where you tie up the canes every year that come up or you can do an alternate year where you cut all the cane so the ground the next year they grow canes but no fruit and you tie those up as a grown it's a lot easier to do and in the 2nd year they would grow so you would you would probably plan half your field to be if you're doing the alternate year bearing you would do half your year fruiting field half your field would be growing canes for the following season so you would only fruit half of your canes I don't necessarily recommend that the way I recommend doing it is actually a 3rd option which is to grow up your fruit here just tie in the new canes in your wrapping them as they come up through just wrap them on the canes that are there and you can do that for 2 or 3 years then you motor the whole thing out and let them come up and you would take portions of your field out of production let them get new canes that you know everything out get new kinds of it's a lot cheaper on the labor side so when we go to this pruning costs on Blueberry see here this in a mature fields 500 printing costs can cost printing and tying up of the Canes can cost as much as $1200.00 and blackberries be really expensive. But you don't know that we control because you don't know the inputs your inputs are probably at least half of that you can grow cane berries each year for about this is about $5000.00 you can do about 3000 so it's a little cheap it's a quite a bit cheaper to grow them. Yields are going to be half maturity and it depends on the market you're selling into commercially organic Blackberries right now are between $65.80 a pound opinion upon. What Well it depends upon what. Turkey but what Chile does so the frozen or organic Blackberries are really. Reliant on what the other countries are doing like Turkey in Chile in their production so our pricing can go up and down in fact there's no elasticities in the Black Berry market it's so bad that if you have a 1000 pounds more than what the market is buying the price just goes there's no price like it's it all goes down for then you so you're better off to dump extra production in black for has been your to take as a marker or make vertically integrate or make preserves or do something with a that I think I highly recommend that for small operations fresh production in the summer freezes so little winter frozen and preserved it's really great revenue stream in the winter time for smaller scale for farmers in fact you could have a winter C.S.A. I don't know what depend upon your area you know maybe root crops and Hardy winter vegetables and frozen fruit would be people love it to buy it locally so. So your economics are like in half on a Black Berry Farm half the cost of about 40 percent cheaper to put them in but about half half the the production here we were getting $3.00 a pound at farmers markets in Portland for Blackberries and raspberries that was but it cost us. One other thing on small scale production we use the rule of thirds I wanted to make. Whatever I was selling it for so use $3.00 is an easy math here from. Whatever I sold it for a 3rd of that went to pay for picking it a 3rd of it went to pay to perform it and a 3rd of it was our profit margin or the repayment of the investment of putting it in and our profit margin so that's how we looked at it so if we're only getting $2.00 a pound then it could only cost me so much to harvest it so it was really funny years later I have a friend it's in. Local Fresh Direct farming he said that rule of thumb is still really relevant no matter what how what's happening where but whatever you sell for a 3rd of it should only be the cost of producing a 3rd should be the cost of harvesting it in a 3rd of that should be your profit margin and if it's not meeting those numbers than don't grow there so this farm these Amedee soils are heavier this is where you would put like Black Berries and then raspberries would need to be on the sandy asst soil and livers and the next I still plant them on bed on beds referees' don't compete very well with with any kind of weeds so again on the on the. Raspberries you would want to put I think you'd still want to use fabric we planted the Cambridge a plant 11 by 4 soil ph would be 6.8. Drip irrigation on Blackberries I just use a single line drip they don't seem to care and they they forage for nutrients they're really robust root system they do really well in fact in the northwest there we I mean they're they invade everything so. You don't need the sawdust you want to be doing any sawdust you do some compost there's usually enough native pollinators that you probably don't have to bring bees in but Black Berry honey is one of the best Black Berry honey is super great and what's the other one that you really like vege honey too so Black Berry is like dark and kind of heavy but it's really good yeah so the question was rather raspberries with weed weed fabric. Were burning a bigger hole kind of an elongated hole so that the new canes can come up you know in a wider area than a blueberry is only a 6 inch hole for burning like a long gaited hole for raspberries and a little bit bigger hole for Black Berries a can eat inch just round hole but in the raspberry that's what we're asking we restrict the growth anyway because we mechanically harvest and those catcher plates have to get close around the plant so we tend to just do that you could plant if you're really worried about it you could plant the referees closer together you can go 3 foot and then just keep a small stem base or you can go farther apart and do a wider Simba Yeah we make a good harvest all of everything I'm talking about is mechanically harvested or can be. We take out I take out 30 percent of the wood on blueberries and it's about the same for 4 raspberries. Blackberries I want 5. Of the thickest strongest chains and it depends on if the plan is vigorous then I go down to 3 but these canes will grow 30 feet so I mean yeah and something like Triple Crown Triple Crown as a Canuck can get a boy like this in Triple Crown which is a semi wrecked Black Berry and it has its own specific management what we do there is we bring it up and we cut it off and it branches out this way and we try to only have $3.00 to $5.00 main stems coming up on a Triple Crown so there is Triple Crown and. What's the other one for getting the other name of the other Black Berry But they're both in the same category of similar wrecked by the way if you're if you're growing trailing Black Berries these guys of a method of Swain The so they pick up the canes in one direction so you want to keep all the new canes that are coming and growing in one direction so this road goes this way the next rover those canes you want to as they come up you want to lay them this in that direction and when you've cut off the older canes and you want to bring those up he grabs on like this in a bundle like this and you start going like this and the thorns if they're thorns or not in the leaves in the stems they kind of hook together and create this like braided rope effect but it's all done just like this and then you throw that up on a wire and then wrap that around the wire so the trellis is too we do to ours and I made the big mistake of putting the trolls in for me and I'm tall and my worker although I work force was short and so they're like this they can reach all the various it was really it was it really you know if you learn these things as you go through so with a lower everything down and so no we probably have it down here like. 4 and a half feet in 5 and a half feet 2 wires like this and then we just wrap it between those wires and then when they the little Freudian Spurs come out of spring that pretty much fills a kind of a big wall of fruit along there at a nice picking height so your shoulders aren't cramping. I would see 2 just in blueberries printing things harder as a homeowner or small garden or I'd rather have big fruit and less of it and easier to pick than have a lot of small for her so I prune hard or same with Black Berries red berries Yes Yeah I like for English. First time Oh you old that doesn't seem to affect him 1st I reached into a thornless had it and then in about 5 seconds later years all in there grabbing berries you know I mean it's a great experience enough to to have thorns Yes. You know I've had better tasting thornless than I mean around here Marion Barry's are the. So there's I've noticed no size difference if you're applying everything to them the way you should. Sizes based on variety flavors based on variety. Yield they seem to yield the same they some people think they're slightly less winter hardy but Marion Barry's are the big very they grow here which is just a Black Berry by the way if everybody someone tries to tell you differently it's only a Black Berry People like to elevate it beyond its place. It's thorn and it's really winter sensitive it freezes a lot around here so we around here in the northwest we like a variety triple crown of the late season black where it's big. And cascade the light cascade a light is a trailing variety but it's thornless and Triple Crown is a similar wrecked thornless black Those are the 2 varieties I really like here we told them differently great question we put to our side by side in the come up in the middle of that and then I tie when they come up so I put 2 are side by side about the same height but 5 feet. 5 feet whatever anyway when they come up to 4 and a half feet I cut them off in the spring so when they grow up a new when they put up new canes I cut them cut them took them Tizi to go in or just have them by hand. And in the overall run or sideways but they're inside so then in the fall when I take the Canes off that just rooted I take those new canes and I tie them to the outside wire so next year what I try to do is throughout the season make sure those new canes are coming up to come in the middle so I'm harvesting the fruit out here on the similar wrecked Black Berry while the new canes are coming up in the middle and then on priming came Black Berries. They come up and you want to tip them at $36.00 inches then you want to tip them again when they branch so they'll branch off of that you tip that again at $12.00 to $18.00 inches and that that makes them start flowering if you don't have them they don't produce they produce like 25 percent of the fruit the yields are way down so this is look up Bernadine strict for most you she's done work on this primer keen for him Black Berries and I'm pretty sure there are some specific documents on pruning and management and I don't know if they've actually made of a prime Akane Black Berry That's thornless yet so you'd have to look at the up to date on the latest varieties that of they were working towards that. You can keep those in a greenhouse we did notice the flavor drops off and they get better tasting when it gets too cold at night so too many cold nights in a row but a great place like Colorado or anyplace it's sunny and still kind of warm going inside a greenhouse will probably Keynes would be a great idea because you could just go right into the fall be a nice late season and no. Not a lot of other people would have cropped during that time of year so. I don't have a picture here but I made a picking table I took a half inch conduit and bent it in a bow like this 2 of them and then put I put a thin plywood table top with a rim on it 2 of them. Like a little countertop like this so 2 I'm like this so it was almost like this like this section of this table but with 2 shelves and I had this conduit on the ground so it stood about this high at the top one shelf and that's our picking for picking fresh by hand in the field I would put my cardboard boxes in my clam shells in the bottom tray I would have empty clam shells up top here and I would be filling them and I would have a discard container here for what would go in to what other frozen or any other product and so I go through the field and pick everything that was right rotten one you know so I have 2 containers rotten ones and in ones that didn't make great would go in here so I guess really right now this kept the disease and pests out of the field too because there's no fresh fruit in the field you're just going through and you you pull the cart backwards and pick and it's right all right here and you would just pick and you could. We paid. $5.00 a box for them to fold the box pick it and put the clamshells in the box and there are 6 ounce clamshells So there's 12 of them in a box and we saw those boxes for profitability with $24.00 a box and there's so $126.00 ounce there's 5 pounds of fruit. Economics on. The all fresh berries you get in the marketplace are not lost. Yes So wash your hands. We haven't really touched on food safety but it's very. I think basically giving away zucchinis a church now is falls under physics so you really need to know what you're doing any kind of bad there are some That's half joking but there is a dollar I think it's $250000.00 a year if you're under the and grow sales or something you've got to be really careful and you need to be really paying attention to the regulations so if you so if you have a C.S.A. next year you have and you're making more than 250000 you have to be doing food safety that's a great that's what I thought. OK Well it's lost by the federal government on how to keep food safe I guess I do feel that it's biblical to follow the laws of the land so. And you're in danger in people one of the things we had a hard time we had a hard time with the crew understanding the importance of food safety and we could not figure out how to how to get them to understand that this was a really big deal that you need to wash your hands you need to follow all these regulations and somebody in our career or somewhere somebody came up with the idea of talking to that to all of our staff about the idea that. Your kids and your parents could be affected by someone else not following these regulations anywhere you know so the idea that when you make it when you make it personal understand that if someone else is not following this you know the lives of your family could be impacted they. It was almost immediate everybody was happy about it they were excited about it you know it wasn't this burdensome situations so anyway. Unfortunately it's where we live some people are talking about you know like some functional medicine doctors are thinking that it comes from being too sterile so then when things come in it's difficult difficult So anyway I'm glad somebody asked because black raspberries are different so they are. They're like a raspberry they are Flora cane fruiting and they only come up and produce canes like this so you need 2 wires side by side about 3020 about 30 inches to 36 inches off the ground and then they just stay inside of that. And they'll come out but no you prove differently those I would plant closer together even 2 feet apart 3 feet apart in the row and they become a least a hedge they mechanically pick those out here for frozen and you know the biggest use of those or ink Die For done for stamping meat it's not done nobody even need so they grow alike all the it's almost like 95 percent of the tonnage out here is just goes for ink and nobody consumes them. So that's actually an offer to could be an opportunity for somebody to do that and then work with a freeze dryer to provide maybe like a freeze dried powder or something you could take as a supplement. Rather either super tricky really need to get up to date on the latest for ideas and fight off or root routes the biggest problems were raspberries So again heavy gypsum higher PH soil Sandy put them on a bed. Sorry we were doing a red raspberry black and black raspberry the red rez very OK on the red raspberry for Cane varieties. There are prime Akane red respirators too so those would be similar to the Blackberry prime again where you would tip him as they come up to make him branch the fruit off of that the floor cane we print those in the fall after the crop previous crop is done we will bring those in a bunch like this and will print out I'll take a 3rd of the canes out the new canes and try to focus them on just the big robust canes so I take out all the small ones 1st and then I look is there anything that's crossing or. Reason I wasn't talking to in-depth about oh so I'm more planting is the next section is on management so but it's fine we're here so you have to help me if I forget something or if I've already covered it a little bit. You would print out about a 3rd of those will time in a bundle bring them up time to the 1st wire bring them over will bin them over and then cut them off cut off anything that's longer so the they might be 3 or 4 feet longer but will just cut that off because it doesn't matter though for right here for us for is typically were even a little bit cheaper independence but between 8 and 12000 depending upon your area density of plants and cost of the trellis in your area so the trellis is a little more robust because we're using. We were using 8 foot heavy duty T. post with spades. And you're still using 12 and a half gauge wire you still using the same in post with a spade but it's taller it's 9 feet and it's a and you'll have to have an anchor out here so you have a wire coming from here to an anchor drilled in the ground. Blackberrys you wouldn't have to do fabric if you're on a small scale you could hold them for the 1st couple years and mulch around them so that would work. A friend of mine lets the weeds grow up to here because he has late season as the Triple Crown and Chester Chester is the other when he grows it's late season Chester you can do in a greenhouse out here in the late season and actually do pretty well there like $5.00 a pound of the market in late season so nobody else has and. He lets the weeds grow up here he's like why do I buy a cover crop seed when I can let weeds and everything grow up here so he was planting all kinds of stuff out there so he had this really great mix of all the weeds in his in his field and he takes a V.C.S. with a circle of our mower and he just goes down there and cuts it all he also does not have allergies. I have allergies but anyway he goes out there he cuts that down and work so he's got this weed mass biomass It's like LOL Right now his guys take a size a European side with a short head on it and they just go in between the blackberries and they just cut that and it's pretty fast he's got $25.00 acres so he's not small scale. He's produced as much as 30000 pounds 240000 pounds an acre on his blackbirds too by the way so Chester and Triple Crown can produce a lot more than than the trailing like Columbia store so anyway and then they they go and rake that into the Black Berry That's what that's all he does for his weed control he does it once a year but again he doesn't have allergies so. That's typically like in Maine June when he lets it get up there yeah I mean it's up there like this he says doesn't care says the 3rd room. Sollars hurrying I guess is over this cover. And this guy isn't this guy isn't a bad farmer So this guy is not neglect doing this he's doing it because so he had a plan to do this and he planted he thought the grass was too heavy so he planted breast of his out there he put rapeseed out there and. The curly is it curly dock and Rosa Tapper 3 feet down which is bringing up a certain he researched all this and all these weeds are bringing up different minerals from deep in the soil so he's out there balancing his weed parietal system versus a guy like me with you know like one of those trades and mow down you know looks like a golf course so there's 2 approaches here and neither one of them are wrong it's just what are you what anxiety and panic does that cause for you to see these weeds in the field. Or if you think about it a different way that it's mining minerals that the crop is using. In the field so I have a bill to get there yet I kind of like a clean field but that's just is what it is that he's highly successful anything it's not a neglect system it's it's intentional Well that's it it's you know his area these were the natural weeds species that grew in his area and Annie's like well this week tells me that I've got a compaction layer so I'm going to put out more dye Can he would plant in the foliage die concede ration and this thing would go and he also would subsoil and he we used a spade or and would spade every other row every 3 years and then replant his weed mix in there and let the natural grasses come up that were in there so. It's great. You know if you don't have allergies you can walk through pollinating and weed seeds that are this size you know it's all good. I would do it in a heartbeat if if I didn't have these other considerations but. Mustard. I see Black Berries flower pretty early so that's one of things you're thinking about is how early are they out compared in your area to so with the everything the prime again prime again is for eating later but so market shoulder season so it's always usually more profitable when you can you have something the market doesn't have naturally. People also most prefer local over organic so local is a bigger draw than necessarily organic so I know a lot of small birds that aren't certified organic because they're there they're local They know their customers so they don't require. We used to have a good season until California started planting blueberries so now we don't have an early season in less there's a gap if they finish early and we're later than Then our market will take up a little bit and then we sow a good late season but Peru and Mexico are coming in in September now so but retailers are still taking our stuff before they'll take Peru if it's good quality so in organic into the commercial marketplace too they have a higher quality standards for getting products because they don't have the shelf life that conventional The so they know that they'll lose more so they'll be more. Spoilage. So. Actually the organic stuff now has to be higher quality going in than it than the conventional is sometimes. In fact now what's boggling just in this nobody's talking about this but sputtering just awful because of that little pest they're using organophosphates in fact the reservoir industry in California had gotten away from were going to phosphate conventional sprays and the. E.P.A. was testing rivers and found organo phosphates and went to the industry and said What's going on so we got this new pest so every 5 days they were spraying with or going to phosphates and a bunch of those labels allow you to spray within $24.00 hours to harvest the the pre harvest interval is only $24.00 hours it's insane flick light in the world with her question. OK so. That's what no one's talking about is blue all there is or Nell sprayed heavily with there they're getting into the synthetic. Synthetic pie Retha Royds now which is better but it still has broad spectrum killing effect on bees and birds and everything so we'll get to that later but. Yeah it's a real situation varies in a in a greenhouse versus other like herbs might be highest value per square foot. I think it depends you know it's I would think about answering a question from what's my climate can I do Berries outside successfully are the various outside going to be in the market timing that I need to fulfill my market or I can get the best. Returns if varies outsider $3.00 a pound varies inside the green house because I can get him earlier $5.00 a pound than you might want to do berries early and then be putting herbs underneath those berries the rest of the season or have a moveable greenhouse that starts out on your berries for early production and then moves to an outside say Herb path so it's one of those rolling green houses I like those ideas too so it's a I don't think there's like a hard and fast rule it's really subjective to what you're doing and also you would have to run the budget on it and look at the returns based on what would happen inside that greenhouse you're a lot closer spacing so you're not 11 by 3 in a greenhouse you're I mean these blueberries are like 4 or 5 feet you know they're there everything's really close and everything smaller so you're packing a lot more plants in a greenhouse so that's something else a factor like in the greenhouse you're yields could be 30 percent higher than outdoor because outdoor your spread out for this media was brought to you by audiophiles a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more sermon leave it to W.W.W. dot audio 1st stop or.


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