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Crop-Adapted Spraying – A Multiyear Study in Highbush Blueberry (2023 Update)

This case study is taking place on a 15 acre highbush blueberry operation in southern Ontario. In 2016, considerable pressure from spotted-wing drosophila (SWD) prompted the growers to make changes to their crop management practices and their spray program. They employed a three-pronged approach to improving crop protection:

  • Significant changes to canopy management and picking / culling practices
  • Investing in a new sprayer
  • Adopting the Crop-Adapted Spraying (CAS) method of dose expression

We have been tracking pesticide use, water use and yield compared to historic values. We also monitored spotted-wing drosophila catches both in crop and in wild hosts along the border of the operation for three years.

Canopy Management
In 2016 the operation made the following changes to their canopy management practices:

  • They performed their first-ever heavy pruning and planned to to maintain an ideal crop density by removing ~30% plant material annually. This more-or-less took place.
  • They regularly collected and buried culled and dropped berries.
  • They picked cleanly and more frequently.
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