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P.A. Stack, L.B. Stack and F.A. Drummond

A mail survey of greenhouse growers was conducted in 1994 and 1995 to determine the presence and importance of western flower thrips (WFT), Frankliniella occidentalis Pergande, in Maine greenhouses in growing years 1993 and 1994. Respondents were licensed growers with at least 1000 ft2 (93 m2) of greenhouse growing area. The survey objectives were to develop a grower demographic profile; determine the incidence of WFT and two WFT-vectored plant viruses, tomato spotted wilt (TSWV) and impatiens necrotic spot (INSV); and identify current WFT management strategies. The survey shows that Maine greenhouse growers are seasonal, experienced and retail oriented. Their growing area averages less than 10,000 ft2 (929 m2) and they produce a diverse crop mix and choose to import production stock as much as propagate it themselves. Both WFT and TSWV/INSV have increased in severity in Maine greenhouses over the past 10 years. Larger, year-round greenhouses are more likely to experience infestations of WFT and higher virus incidence. An integrated pest management (IPM) strategy is employed by the majority of growers surveyed. Insecticide application is the primary tactic used to control WFT. Fewer than 4% of the growers use natural enemies to control thrips. However, 63% responded that future research in pest management should focus on biological control.

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Ramon G. Leon and Delanie Kellon

on yield are discussed. Fig. 1. Area where pineapple grower survey was conducted in Costa Rica. The colored area shows the northern and Atlantic regions where most of the ‘MD-2’ pineapple production is located. The circled area indicates the area

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Rachel Mack, James S. Owen, Alex X. Niemiera and Joyce Latimer

A survey, focusing on the use of irrigation and fertilization best management practices (BMPs), was designed and released to Virginia nursery and greenhouse growers. The objectives of the survey were to determine the most widely used BMPs, assess the reasons for their use, and identify barriers to BMP adoption. The survey was distributed in person, via e-mail attachment, or link to 357 Virginia growers in 2016 with 60 respondents. Survey results demonstrate that the most widely used BMPs in Virginia included irrigation scheduling, integrated pest management (IPM) implementation, altering irrigation practices to optimize irrigation efficiency, controlled-release fertilizer (CRF) use, and plant need–based watering. Respondents selected environmental/resource savings as one of the most cited reasons behind BMP use for water, fertilizer, and runoff management. Cost was the most cited barrier to BMP adoption for all BMPs. Fertilizer management BMP implementation was primarily an economic decision. The value of determining the most widely used BMPs and impediments to BMP adoption is that we can 1) communicate this information to growers who currently do not employ BMPs to encourage BMP adoption and 2) subsequently inform the regulatory community of BMP use. Increased BMP use can boost the potential for mitigation of agricultural nutrient and sediment runoff into impaired waterways, including the Chesapeake Bay, and help growers increase efficiency of operation inputs, such as water and fertilizer resources, while potentially saving money.

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Zongyu Li, R. Karina Gallardo, Wendy Hoashi-Erhardt, Vicki A. McCracken, Chengyan Yue and Lisa Wasko DeVetter

marketing channels, including brokers and processors, to sell strawberry. Only Oregon and Washington growers exported strawberry. Overall, direct sales to consumers was the primary marketing channel for PNW strawberry growers surveyed in this study

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Jessica R. Goldberger, Lisa W. DeVetter and Katherine E. Dentzman

survey of U.S. strawberry growers. Survey respondents were asked to indicate the extent to which they disagreed or agreed with five statements about PE mulch ( Table 3 ). A small percentage of respondents in the Pacific Northwest agreed that PE mulch is

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Kimberly L. Morgan and Mercy A. Olmstead

(south-central Florida), Fort Pierce and Hastings (eastern Florida) (N = 18). Findings of these initial interviews were used to guide the development of our peach grower survey instrument. Following Mississippi State University (MSU) Human Research

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R. Karina Gallardo, Eric T. Stafne, Lisa Wasko DeVetter, Qi Zhang, Charlie Li, Fumiomi Takeda, Jeffrey Williamson, Wei Qiang Yang, William O. Cline, Randy Beaudry and Renee Allen

The availability and cost of agricultural labor is constraining the specialty crop industry throughout the United States. Most soft fruits destined for the fresh market are fragile and are usually hand harvested to maintain optimal quality and postharvest longevity. However, because of labor shortages, machine harvest options are being explored out of necessity. A survey on machine harvest of blueberries (Vaccinium sp.) for fresh market was conducted in 2015 and 2016 in seven U.S. states and one Canadian province. Survey respondents totaled 223 blueberry producers of various production sizes and scope. A majority (61%) indicated that their berries were destined for fresh markets with 33% machine harvested for this purpose. Eighty percent said that they thought fruit quality was the limiting factor for machine-harvested blueberries destined for fresh markets. Many producers had used mechanized harvesters, but their experience varied greatly. Just less than half (47%) used mechanical harvesters for fewer than 5 years. Most respondents indicated that labor was a primary concern, as well as competing markets and weather. New technologies that reduce harvesting constraints, such as improvements to harvest machinery and packing lines, were of interest to most respondents. Forty-five percent stated they would be interested in using a modified harvest-aid platform with handheld shaking devices if it is viable (i.e., fruit quality and picking efficiency is maintained and the practice is cost effective). Overall, the survey showed that blueberry producers have great concerns with labor costs and availability and are open to exploring mechanization as a way to mitigate the need for hand-harvest labor.

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Zsofia Szendrei and Rufus Isaacs

Michigan higbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) growers were surveyed during Winter 2003 to gather information on the extent of the pest status of japanese beetle (Popillia japonica, Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) within this crop, and their responses to this pest management challenge. The survey was mailed to 215 highbush blueberry farms in southwestern, central, and southeastern Michigan. Ninety-nine surveys were completed and returned. Our results revealed that this pest was of concern to the majority of growers who returned the survey (84%), causing average additional costs of $72/acre. Increased insecticide use was the major cause of the economic loss due to this pest, and the main methods for controlling japanese beetle were insecticides and clean cultivation. More farms had permanent sod coverage than clean cultivation in individual fields. The acreage of clean-cultivated farms was higher because larger farms tend to have clean cultivation. Japanese beetle has driven changes in row-middle management, indicated by growers who have switched to clean cultivation recently. Fifty percent of growers considered the changes they implemented to control japanese beetle to be effective, and most growers were not planning any further changes to their pest management programs to address this pest. Many growers were willing to try new cover crops if they are shown to be effective against japanese beetle.

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Elizabeth Conlan, Tatiana Borisova, Erick Smith, Jeffrey Williamson and Mercy Olmstead

Freeze events between January and April can result in major crop and economic losses for growers of low-chill, early-ripening varieties of blueberry (Vaccinium sp.) in Florida and Georgia. The objective of this research was to determine current responses by blueberry growers to freeze events. Blueberry growers in Florida and Georgia were surveyed about frost protection decision criteria. Growers had differing opinions on when to make the decision to frost-protect blueberry crops. Almost all (98.9%) of the respondents (n = 94) who reported using at least one method of active frost protection reported using irrigation. Farm size, as measured by blueberry acreage, did not influence decisions regarding the use of active frost protection measures. Blueberry growers, on average, reported that a loss of up to 30% to 39% of their crop could be tolerated and still produce a marketable crop. However, they may have been overly cautious at the early bud stages, with ≈40% and 55% of respondents protecting at the bud swell and tight cluster stages, respectively. Understanding the use of irrigation as a frost protection practice in the southeastern United States can aid in improving frost protection recommendations, helping growers maximize yield and saving water and money.

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Tara Baugher, Montserrat Fonseca Estrada, Kelly Lowery and Héctor Núñez Contreras

professionals might increase/improve education and engagement with Hispanic/Latino growers. Survey participants rated nine stakeholder engagement options on a 1 to 5 scale, with 1 being “poor” and 5 being “highly effective.” The recommendations for increasing