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Summary

Bacon County’s major agricultural product is blueberries. Currently Bacon County has 8,000+ acres with a farm gate value over $79,000,000. We also have a blueberry research farm in conjunction with the University of Georgia Extension which is the premier research site in Georgia. It is critical to manage blueberries for disease, insects, weeds and fertility to insure a productive crop and growing season. Bacon county is the blueberry capital.

Situation

Bacon County is a small rural area in Southeast Georgia with big agriculture. Again, blueberries are the main commodity in Bacon County. Every year an Integrated Pest Management field day is held to help growers make decisions on managing their blueberry crop. The field day typically host around 60-70 guests who either produce blueberries or is some way tied to blueberries. This field day allows UGA Extension to get information to the growers mid-season to help guide them in making key decisions about managing their crops. Scientist and researchers are typically asked to present information and research to help growers understand the important of timely sprays or irrigation practices.

Response

This year the IPM Field day was to be held in Alma, GA at the Blueberry Research Farm. Due to COVID19 this had to be adjusted. It was held virtually to allow information to be distributed to growers. Zack Williams, Bacon County ANR Agent started the field day by welcoming everyone and introducing the speakers. Dr. Ash Sial started by giving an update on insects and managing the insects. Then, Dr. Keith Delaplane spoke about pollinators and how beneficial they are to our blueberry industry. Dr. Glen Rains then gave everyone information on calibrating equipment that is used in commercial blueberry fields. The field day concluded with a discussion about the problems growers had with pollinators this past growing season as well as bee keepers discussing the problems they encountered with this year’s pollination season.

Impact

Due to COVID19 and hosting a virtual IPM Field day instead of an in-person field day, there were seventy-three people in attendance. Most were from Georgia, and even had one scientist in attendance from Great Britain. Growers as well as bee keepers discussed the problems they encountered during this past year’s pollination season for blueberries. The growers and bee keepers along with the scientist came together and created a questionnaire to help Extension understand what they can do to help minimize the problems the blueberry industry faces due to pollination or lack thereof. The Economic Value of Pollinators for blueberries was well over $66 million dollars in study completed in 2018. Which was ranked second in EVP behind watermelons. One grower said to the Bacon County Extension Agent after the meeting was over, “It wasn’t the same as an in-person meeting, but with all the Coronavirus going on, it was still good to listen to information to help us, and talk about the problems we had with pollinators”.

State Issue

Plant Production

Details

  • Year: 2020
  • Geographic Scope: Multi-State/Regional
  • County: Bacon
  • Location: College Station, Athens
  • Program Areas:
    • Agriculture & Natural Resources

Author

  • Williams, Zackary Stacey

Collaborator(s)

CAES Collaborator(s)

  • Delaplane, Keith S.
  • LaForest, Joseph
  • Rains, Glen C.
  • Sial, Ashfaq Ahmad
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Extension Impact