Crop Protection

Blueberry production with METOS® decision support systems

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23 July 2022, Austria: How to make a step forward in blueberry production?

Blueberries have become a major crop worldwide. Because it has expanded so rapidly, production problems have been encountered, for example small fruit size, damages referring to soil and climatic conditions (like freezing, chilling), poor pollination, variable yields, etc. The need for higher productivity and sustainable production practices is therefore understandable and very necessary.

Globalization of the blueberry industry has also resulted in new pest-crop associations and the introduction of invasive pests into existing and new blueberry-growing areas. METOS® decision support system allows us to monitor all relevant climatic conditions and soil parameters, and therefore increasing agricultural work management in blueberry field production.

Also Read: China: Measures counter food security risks

Decision support systems

Combine monitored and forecasted data to get a powerful tool, which will help you optimize your production and produce more blueberries with less.

  • WEATHER MONITORING: Be prepared for frost protection. Set an SMS alarm to notify you, when frost conditions are approaching. Temperatures below – 0,6 °C can be lethal for your blueberry field.
  • FERTILIZING MANAGEMENT: Optimize fertilization time. The best is if the spreading of the fertilizer is followed by rainfall.
  • PLANT PROTECTION MANAGEMENT: With the help of disease models for blueberries (for Anthracnose) and spraying window forecast, you can optimize your plant protection activities and reduce disease pressure in your blueberry field. For example: If spraying is followed by heavy rainfalls, there is a good chance that it will wash off the treatment and you will have to repeat the spraying to keep your crop protected.
  • IRRIGATION MANAGEMENT: Optimize irrigation water use by monitoring soil moisture and with use of our water balance model.
  • HARVEST MANAGEMENT: Monitor your soil moisture to know when your crop is suffering water stress and start your irrigation system on time. Also monitor your irrigation water pH to prevent nutrient imbalances.

Recommended equipment

Basis sensor set, needed for pest and disease monitoring of blueberry fields includes a rain gauge and sensors for air temperaturerelative humidity and leaf wetness. These sensors are available with iMETOS IMT280 and µMETOS NBIoT Disease.

To offer full support for plant protection management Pessl Instruments disease models have been developed to provide the best information possible to enable conscious decision making and use the best tools to produce more, both in terms of quantity and quality. Plant disease models are thus based on highly precise weather forecasts which are localized and calibrated on the monitoring site

Through API, the data from METOS® stations can then be used on web platforms like FieldClimate to provide plant disease models and DSS for plant protection

Blueberry disease models

The fungal pathogen Colletotrichum acutatum causes Blueberry Ripe Rot on pre and post-harvest fruit of highbush blueberry. The disease occurs in all blueberry production areas and has a great impact of reducing shelf life of fruits and having a poor quality of fresh fruits on the market.

In FieldClimate weak, moderate and severe infections are calculated for blueberry anthracnose in dependence of environmental parameters: temperature, leaf wetness and precipitation.

You can see on the graph that the conditions for infection were fulfilled; there were optimal conditions for Colletotrichum with precipitation, high relative humidity and leaf wetness to infest fruits and plant material.

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