berry growing

Cornell Small Fruit Survey Needs Your Input


Are you interested in diversifying your farmers’ market, farm stand, or CSA offerings with specialty fruit crops? Have you ever thought about growing currants, kiwiberries, goji berries, beach plums, or other “unusual” fruits?

Cornell University needs your input to help guide a project that aims to develop growing recommendations and enterprise budgets for unusual fruit crops in New York. Fill out their online survey now through May 31, 2019.

Controls for SWD, Summer Beetles, and Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs

We’re experience a period of high insect activity this year, with rain, warm days, and cool nights providing an ideal breeding ground for three challenging pests: spotted wing drosophila (SWD), whose numbers began to explode in mid-July, summer beetles (especially Japanese beetles), and brown marmorated stink bug. Senior Extension Associate and entomologist Peter Jentsch of Cornell University’s Hudson Valley Laboratory recommends the following controls.  


Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD)

Spotted wing drosophila on raspberry. Photo by Hannah Burrack, North Carolina State University,

Spotted wing drosophila on raspberry. Photo by Hannah Burrack, North Carolina State University,

With raspberry, blackberry, strawberry, blueberry, and sweet and tart cherry all very susceptible to SWD, good management is a must. Follow these general rules:

  • Traps are the best method for monitoring the population. Jentsch recommends making traps out of red plastic 16-ounce Solo cups and lids; get the directions here. Hang several traps in each crop.
  • Sample fruit for infestation. Choose unripened fruit and look for evidence of egg laying and larval feeding: small holes with tiny white breathing tubes. When the berry is gently squeezed, it may leak juice. Infested berries may also leave a juice stain on their container when picked.
  • Apply insecticide treatments from this Cornell-approved chart no more than seven days apart in blueberry, and every three to four days in cherry, raspberry, and blueberry. Reapply after rains. Rotate according to mode of action.
  • Chill berries immediately after harvest—at 32 to 33 degrees F—to halt the development of larvae and eggs.


Japanese Beetles and Other Summer Beetles

Japanese beetle. Photo by USDA ARS Photo Unit, USDA Agricultural Research Service,

Japanese beetle. Photo by USDA ARS Photo Unit, USDA Agricultural Research Service,

Japanese beetles are considered one of the most devastating pests for 300 species of plant in this region of the country. Multicolored Asian ladybird beetle (MALB), the rose chafer (RC), adult plum curculio (PC) are also prevalent in the Northeast. Prevent them from feeding on foliage with:

  • Carbaryl or Sevin, as a liquid XLR Plus, 4F or 80S powder.
  • Leverage 2.7SE. According to Jentsch, this “should be reserved for those situations when the pest complex to be treated is appropriately matched to the combination of active ingredients and modes of action contained in the product.”
  • Japanese beetle bag traps. These inexpensive traps, which use pheromones and floral scents, are very effective in luring and killing Japanese beetles. However, when placed near crops, they can encourage a large number of insects to move into the crop, causing even more damage. Jentsch warns, “If they are used, place the bags a considerable distance away from your orchard or vineyard so as to reduce the population in your crop. They will fill quickly and need to be emptied frequently.”


Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Brown marmorated stink bug. Photo by Kristie Graham, USDA ARS,

Brown marmorated stink bug. Photo by Kristie Graham, USDA ARS,

A year-round pest, the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is a household nuisance in winter and spring and a serious agricultural pest in summer and fall. It has been observed feeding and reproducing in blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and caneberries. BMSB causes discoloration and sunken areas of green fruits at the feeding site, and softening and necrosis in mature fruits. Control them with:

  • Pyramid traps baited with BMSB aggregation pheromone and methyl decatrienoate. Because BMSB prefers to live along the perimeter of a field, place traps is along a forested edge adjacent to your crops.
  • Employ border sprays, according to this chart, especially on large fields. Because the insecticides that are most effective on BMSB also kills the insect’s natural enemies, use them only as needed. As the BMSB SCRI CAP Small Fruit Commodity Team cautions, “Management for BMSB in small fruit crops is difficult because the most effective insecticides for BMSB cannot be used during the period when there are repeated harvests of berry fields. Chemical control may be further complicated by the need to conserve insecticides for use against spotted wing drosophila, another disruptive invasive species, during the harvest period in order to observe requirements for maximum applications per season.”

For further reading, visit the Jentsch Lab blog:

Spotted Wing Drosophila

Summer Beetle Management

Using Attract and Kill Stations to Monitor Brown Marmorated Stink Bug


Join Us for a FREE Berry Production Workshop on August 29!


August 29, 2017
5:00–7:00 p.m.
The Berry Patch
15589 NY-22, Stephentown, NY

If you’re unsure whether your berry crops have been affected by SWD, or even if you just want to learn more about growing happy, healthy berries, join us for this exclusive workshop, sponsored by Cornell University and Cornell Cooperative Extension. Bring your own fruit, and test for SWD right here!

Then hear experts from Cornell University and Cornell CCE, New York State IPM, the NYS Berry Growers Association, and more on:

SWD Overview
Exclusion Netting

  • Blueberry growing under netting
  • Attract-and-kill baited spheres
  • High-tunnel raspberries grown in excluded tunne
  • Fall raspberries under netting

Weather Station Networks

  • What is NEWA?
  • How farmers can get their own RainWise weather station
  • How applications that are part of weather data can assist farmers
  • MesoNet, and how it works with NEWA

Climate Change and Protected Culture

  • CICSS as a resource, and helpful tools for berry growers
  • Soil health project, including how growers can get involved

Low-Tunnel Strawberry Production

  • Overview of day-neutral production system
  • Use of low tunnels on a diversified, direct-market farm

Wrap-Up and Q&A

This workshop is FREE to all berry growers, regardless of region or level of experience, so spread the word to your colleagues!

Register here. 

Traveling Professors

New York State Berry Growers Association Marvin Pritts chin state research

Traveling Professors

How Overseas Research & Information Sharing Benefits Our Farms

By Marvin Pritts

Ever wonder what those Cornell professors do when they run off to another country? Oftentimes it’s to attend a conference, but occasionally we are asked to help a particular group of farmers with their production practices. Some may ask if we should be helping farmers in other countries—won’t they just end up competing with us in New York? And given that there are problems here at home, shouldn’t Cornell faculty just stay put and work on solving local problems?

In April, I had a chance to visit Chin State in the country of Myanmar. This country has been relatively isolated from the rest of the world, as it was under a military dictatorship for 50 years. Recently, it has had elections, so a democratic government is now in place. However, some of the outlying regions continue to have ethnic violence. Chin signed a peace treaty with the federal government in 2016, so it is now safe for foreigners to enter.

New York State Berry Growers Association Marvin Pritts farming research


Although it is now safe to travel to Chin, this region has been cut off from the rest of Myanmar, and the world, for most of its existence. There is no real industry in Chin State. Travel to the capital city, Hakha, is an 11-hour drive on dirt roads from the nearest city with an airport (which has just one flight a day). Farming villages are even farther from Hahka. The roads in this state are one-lane, steep, and curved, with no guardrails and 1,000-foot dropoffs. During the rainy season, roads become impassable because of mud and landslides. Most of the country speaks Burmese and is Buddhist, while many different languages are spoken in Chin and Chin people are mostly Christian. All of these differences reinforce the isolation and makes education in this region difficult.

There is little to no flat land in Chin State. The hillsides are too steep for most grazing animals, except for goats. But having goats is risky, because they can escape through fences and eat valuable crops. The rain stops after the rainy season, so farmers then endure six months of drought. The capital city is too far to take goods to market, especially given the state of the roads.

People who live in villages in Chin are malnourished. It is estimated that 40 percent of the population suffers from protein, vitamin, and mineral deficiencies. Our task was to visit these villages, determine if anything could be done to help increase fruit and vegetable production and consumption, train extension educators, and advise about the curriculum used in the state agriculture institutes and the agricultural university at Yezin.

New York State Berry Growers Assocation Marvin Pritts myanmar farming research


The people of Chin State were exceptionally friendly and open to new ideas. We shared information and techniques for drip irrigation, sources of nitrogen fertilizer, soil management, postharvest handling, and garden design, and I hope these will gain traction and be implemented. Farmers in the United States do not have to fear competition from a country that is struggling to feed itself.

Such activities in developing countries help spread Cornell’s reputation abroad. It also could pay dividends for us in the future. For example, apple and pear germ plasm grow wild in the hills. Developing a good relationship with Myanmar could give us access to new germplasm in the future. Establishing such relationships increases the probability that bright students will come to the United States to study. Also, when we can work with growers in another country to reduce their pesticide use and minimize environmental impacts, it benefits all of us. Myanmar is strategically located between China and India, so having friendly relations with them is politically beneficial. Finally, it is simply the right thing to do.

New York State Berry Growers Association Marvin Pritts farming research myanmar chin state


So while spending time in developing countries may not appear to benefit New York growers, we are laying the groundwork for future dividends to be paid.