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David S. Conner and Kathleen Demchak

Strawberry and caneberries are popular crops that can bring revenue to farms and may improve farm profitability. Protected culture provides potential benefits to berry growers. For red raspberry ( Rubus idaeus ), tunnel production has been or is

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Stefan Seiter, Ray William, John Luna, Dan McGrath and Tom Tenpas

A project was initiated in which a collaborative and mutual learning process was emphasized to (1) improve farmer designed research and to facilitate learning among farmers, research and extension, agribusiness and government agencies; (2) to enhance vegetable production systems by improving farm profitability, protecting water quality, and enhancing long-term soil productivity. The poster displays mutual learning that occurred during each step of the following process:

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Rizwan Maqbool, David Percival, Qamar Zaman, Tess Astatkie, Sina Adl and Deborah Buszard

The study examined the main and interactive effects of soil-applied fertilizers [nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K)] from a 12-year (six production cycles) field experiment conducted at Kemptown, Nova Scotia (Canada). It also recommends the optimum rate for improved growth and harvestable yield of wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium Ait.). The fertilizers were applied in a single application at the onset of shoot emergence in early spring of each sprout year at rates of 0, 12, 30, 48, and 60 kg·ha−1 N using urea (2000 only) or ammonium sulfate, 0, 18, 45, 78, and 90 kg·ha−1 P using triple super phosphate, 0, 12, 30, 48, and 60 kg·ha−1 K using potassium chloride. Response surface analysis of the data indicated that 35 kg·ha−1 N, 40 kg·ha−1 P, and 30 kg·ha−1 K were optimum for fruit production and maintaining stem lengths <20 cm, and resulted in an average of 54% more floral buds, 25% more berries per stem, and 13% greater yield than previous recommend rates of 20 kg·ha−1 N, 10 kg·ha−1 P, and 15 kg·ha−1 K. The higher fertilizers rates cost an extra $80/ha but increased net profits by $490/ha. Findings of this study could contribute toward better farm profitability in areas with similar growing conditions. They also suggest that modifications to existing fertilizer rates be made for Central Nova Scotia wild blueberry.

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Beth Holtzman

The challenges facing horticultural production in the Northeast are many: Pests that are increasingly resistant to conventional controls; eroding profitability; increasing consumer concern about residues in food and water supplies.

The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program is working to find solutions to these problems. SARE-supported research is developing practices that will help reduce producers reliance on pesticides and other purchased inputs while maintaining farm profitability.

In the Northeast, SARE has provided about $5 million in grants since 1983 to about 50 projects. Many focus on horticultural crops, such as apples, small fruit, sod and ornamental plants. Some strategies developed through SARE projects are already being adopted at the farm level.

Last year, the program allocated $1.461 million to 16 projects. This year, the Northeast Region expects to distribute a similar or slightly lower amount of grant funding. In addition, the region established a new $100,000 farmer mini-grant program to promote adoption of sustainable practices and in novations on the farm.

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Gerardo H. Nunez, Hilda Patricia Rodríguez-Armenta, Rebecca L. Darnell and James W. Olmstead

Root growth and root system architecture (RSA) are affected by edaphic and genetic factors and they can impact plant growth and farm profitability. Southern highbush blueberries [SHBs (Vaccinium corymbosum hybrids)] develop shallow, fibrous root systems, and exhibit a preference for acidic soils where water and ammonium are readily available. The amendments used to create these soil conditions negatively affect the profitability of SHB plantations. Hence, breeding for RSA traits has been suggested as an alternative to soil amendments. Vaccinium arboreum is a wild species that is used in SHB breeding. V. arboreum exhibits greater drought tolerance and broader soil pH adaptation than SHB, and—according to anecdotal evidence—it develops deep, taproot-like root systems. The present study constitutes the first in-depth study of the RSA of Vaccinium species with the intention of facilitating breeding for RSA traits. Root systems were studied in rhizotron-grown seedling families. In separate experiments, we tested the effect that growth substrate and family pedigree can have on root growth and RSA. Subsequently, a genotyping by sequence approach was used to develop single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers that could be used along with the phenotyping method to investigate the heritability of RSA traits and look for marker-trait associations. We found that RSA is affected by growth substrate and family pedigree. In addition, we found that V. arboreum exhibited greater maximum root depth and a lower percentage of roots in the top 8 cm of soil than SHB, and interspecific hybrids generally exhibited intermediate phenotypes. Also, we found that RSA traits exhibit moderate to low heritability and genetic correlations among them. Finally, we found 59 marker-trait associations. Among these markers, 37 were found to be located in exons, and 16 of them were annotated based on protein homology with entries in National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) GenBank. Altogether, the present study provides tools that can be used to breed for root architecture traits in SHB.

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David S. Conner, Kurt B. Waldman, Adam D. Montri, Michael W. Hamm and John A. Biernbaum

-extension technology, provides a relatively low-cost means to extend harvesting with an opportunity to increase farm gate sales and farm viability. Challenge of farm profitability. The need for enhanced farm profitability is clear. For example, in 2007, 56% of Michigan

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or inflorescence number, flower size, or flowering time. Hoophouse Profitability on Michigan Farms Hoophouses (also called high tunnels) have the potential to enhance farm profitability in temperate climates by providing a means to continue sales

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Gregory S. Hendricks, Sanjay Shukla, Kent E. Cushman, Thomas A. Obreza, Fritz M. Roka, Kenneth M. Portier and Eugene J. McAvoy

need to be compared with the recommended practices with special emphasis on yield performance and farm profitability. This study evaluated three water and nutrient management systems for watermelon production in southern Florida with regard to

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Lisa W. DeVetter, Huan Zhang, Shuresh Ghimire, Sean Watkinson and Carol A. Miles

crop yields and quality, and promote on-farm profitability ( Fernandez et al., 2001 ; Freeman and Gnayem, 2005 ; Garwood, 1998 ; Lament, 1993 ; Miles et al., 2012 ). These benefits extend to both conventional and organic production systems, as PE

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Jennifer Reeve and Dan Drost

, plant growth and productivity would improve. If organic produce carries some price premium in the marketplace, then lower initial yields may not limit economic returns and farm profitability. Soil chemical and biological properties were assessed in the