Making A Difference in Our County
We're working hard for the citizens we serve. Here are some examples of successful projects from the past year:
GROWTH REGULATOR USE ON BLUEBERRY CULTIVAR
Georgia’s blueberry industry comprises both southern highbush and rabbiteye varieties. Southern highbush berries are harvested from April to May, while the harvest of rabbiteye berries begins in May and continues through June. Price and yield are typically higher for southern highbush versus the later rabbiteye crop. Additionally, the cost of production for rabbiteye blueberries is generally lower as compared to southern highbush. The premier rabbiteye blueberry is an older variety with a harvesting window comparable to late southern highbush blueberries. However, its unfavorable flowering characteristics are known to limit pollination. As a result of poor pollination, gibberellic acid products are being used to increase fruit set, with mixed results. An on-farm trial was established in Pierce County in 2016 to identify rate and timing effects of gibberellic acids on fruit set and yield on premier rabbiteye blueberries. Results from the study showed no differences in fruit set and yield among treated and untreated plants. The 2015-2016 blueberry crop experienced warm winter conditions, which resulted in poor fruit set across many fields and cultivars. Trials are planned for the 2016-2017 crop season to re-evaluate the use of these materials on the premier rabbiteye blueberry.
CREATIVE LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES FOR 4-H’ERS
Pierce County 4-H provided creative learning opportunities for youth in the summer months. Twenty-nine fourth- through sixth-grade 4-H’ers attended the summer workshops. Eleven Teen Leaders and two adult volunteers served as instructors. The learning environment included indoor and outdoor spaces that enabled youth the freedom to explore through hands-on and engaging activities. Session topics ranged from healthy lifestyles to S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, art and math) to fine arts. The impact of the event emphasized the need for the creative learning environments that 4-H has the capacity to offer. Participants readily agreed that they learned something new in a creative atmosphere.