02 Sep 2022

Rot alert, in Florida notifications come via the web


The Blueberry Advisory System, a tool developed in the United States that helps blueberries growers combat fruit rot through an alert system, has proven successful.

To manage one of the most damaging diseases for blueberries, anthracnose fruit rot, growers normally spray crops with fungicides on a calendar basis, but this system notifies growers when they should spray crops.

Now researchers have shown that the system works to minim ize fruit rot and improve crop yields.

Day by day Blueberry Advisory System shows current and projected risks of rot
Blueberry Advisory System shows current and predicted risks of rot on a daily basis

Doug Phillips, UF/IFAS Statewide Blueberry Extension coordinator, said, "Several Florida commercial blueberries growers have reported using the Blueberry Advisory System to assist them in choosing when to use fungicides to control anthracnose fruit rot, using the Web-based tool alone or in combination with farmers' spray programs."

The Blueberry Advisory System is currently active in Florida and Georgia

On the one hand, Clyde Fraisse, professor of agricultural and biological engineering, designed the Agroclimate system that houses this and other disease tools. On the other, Natalia Peres, professor of plant pathology, adapted and evaluated the disease models used in the system.

In a new UF/IFAS Extension paper, Peres outlines the success of the method. "The system can be particularly useful in helping novice blueberries growers identify the disease and its dynamics," Peres said. "It can also reduce the number of fungicide applications, especially when adopted by risk-averse growers."

For each location, the level of risk is shown daily

The researcher and her colleagues evaluated the system at nine farms in blueberries distributed among Dade City (Pasco County), Fort Lonesome (Hillsborough County) and Labelle (Hendry County).

The system alerted growers to spray fungicide when fruit rot was most likely to develop, and in most cases, sprays did not need to be applied as frequently.

The system also integrates weather information relevant to rot risk

The blueberries are most susceptible to fruit rot when the weather is hot and humid, with temperatures between 15° C and 27° C degrees. Combining these conditions with 12-hour leaf wetting periods provides ideal conditions for fruit rot development.

Data for the fruit rot patterns used by the system come from the Florida Automated Weather Network, which has weather stations throughout the state.

Source: FreshFruitPortal

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