Friday, January 31, 2014

Missouri Blueberry School Conference set for Feb. 21-22 in Springfield

Contact: Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist
Headquartered in Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Spotted wing drosophila (SWD) is poised to challenge Missouri blueberry growers in 2014.

This invasive fruit fly will be the subject of the keynote address at this year’s Missouri Blueberry School conference, Feb. 21-22 on the Missouri State University campus in Springfield.

“Blueberry production offers good potential for Missouri farmers,” said Patrick Byers, University of Missouri Extension horticulture specialist in Greene County. “But spotted wing drosophila and diseases are challenges that we must address.”

Keynote speaker Hannah Burrack, entomologist at North Carolina State University, will outline SWD biology and history, and help producers develop a management strategy.

Spotted wing drosophila showed up in North America around 2008 and by last year had made its debut in the Show-Me State.

Unlike most fruit flies, SWD attacks healthy, undamaged fruit. The female has a serrated ovipositor that penetrates the unbroken skin of good fruit to lay eggs. This allows the larvae to develop inside the fruit and provides an opening for bacteria, mold and fungi.

Joining Burrack in the SWD discussion will be Jaime Pinero, state integrated pest management specialist for Lincoln University, who will provide a Missouri perspective on the issue.

Other topics will include soil health management, preserving blueberry fruit by flash freezing, the Food Safety Modernization Act and its implications for Missouri blueberry producers, disease identification and diagnostic techniques, and updates on the 2014 Small Fruit and Grape Spray Guide.

The second day of the conference, Feb. 22, will include visits to area blueberry farms for hands-on demonstrations of blueberry management.

Registration for the two-day 2014 Missouri Blueberry School is $50 per person ($35 for each additional person from the same family or farm) and includes educational materials and a spotted wing drosophila monitoring trap (one per farm or family).

For a registration packet, contact Kelly McGowan at 417-881-8909 or, or register online at

For more information about the conference, go to or contact Patrick Byers at 417-881-8909 or

Established in 2011, the Missouri Blueberry School is a collaboration of University of Missouri, Missouri State University and Lincoln University. Calling on the expertise of blueberry experts in Missouri and around the country, the Missouri Blueberry School presents accurate, timely and relevant information through conferences, on-farm workshops, individual consultations and support services.


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