Organic Fruit Research Expands
Andrew Petran, U of MN Graduate Student
Organic fruit research at WCROC is expanding. In addition to continuing our successful day-neutral strawberry work, WCROC has begun research investigating organic control of spotted wing drosophila (SWD, Drosophila suzukii). SWD is an invasive fruit fly capable of laying eggs in ripe, undamaged fruit; a marked difference from our native fruit flies, which can only lay eggs in fruit previously damaged by hail, disease or other environmental pressures. Thus SWD is among the top threats to fruit growers (organic or conventional) throughout the country.
In early June 2016, 200 raspberry canes were planted, fertilized and mulched on WCROC's certified organic land, along with drip irrigation. Grass and clover will be seeded in between rows to suppress weeds and contribute organic matter. They may look humble now, but by the 2017 field season they will be vigorous, well maintained plants ready for SWD research. University researchers aim to analyze how different cultural practices, such as exclusion, pruning or spray regimen effect SWD infestation. Stay tuned as we report on the progress of this essential new research.
Small Fruit Research at U of MN CFANS