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From Hops to Blueberries

The past few weeks have flown by! The work has been steady and more tasks have been added to our plates.

The mite levels have slowly increased over the last few weeks with rising temperatures above 100 degrees. The mites move upward to reach the sunlight and are typically found congregating on the leaves that are within the top two feet of the bine. As soon as more than thirty mites or mite eggs are spotted in a field on a single leaf, the sprayers are notified and the field is sprayed within a few hours of our discovery.

Powdery mildew levels have also been increasing, particularly in the baby fields that are more susceptible to heat stress.


Onto the fun stuff! On Friday the 13th, we worked a half shift during the day, then came back to the farm at 10:00 PM to go weevil hunting until 3:00 AM! Weevils are a nocturnal pest that feed on the hop leaves. The only known control method for weevils is nematodes, and this research has only been conducted in greenhouses. Therefore, it is unknown whether nematodes would be a useful predator to distribute throughout the fields. Our goal was to scout 9 point in each field to determine which field has high weevil counts. Those with the highest counts would be considered for nematode distribution. My boss,  co-worker, and I split each field into thirds and chose a lane to take our counts from. We stopped at three points in our row, laid out a tarp, and beat the back of a bine with a stick to see how many weevils fell out. We recorded the number of weevils that fell onto the tarp. There were only a few fields that had relatively high counts and control methods have yet to be determined.


We have now begun taking sap analysis samples on leaves from the organic blueberry fields. This past week was my first time being over there and it was quite an experience! I was able to catch the blueberry harvester in action while collecting leaves. We will be collecting leaf samples from the blueberries for the next few weeks so I look forward to getting back over there, especially before everything is harvested!


blueberry harvester


The hops have also been slowly getting bigger! These are from the same Palisade field that I showcased in the previous blog post. We are starting to smell the aroma characteristics of each hop variety.

Finally, here is a sunrise photo I was able to capture just before starting my fields last Monday. Enjoy!

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