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National Blueberry Pancake Day: January 28

Nifa Author
Rachel Dotson, Public Affairs Specialist (Social Media)

Celebrate National Blueberry Pancake Day with USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and learn more about the critical blueberry research being conducted by Land-grant Universities supported by NIFA.

Blueberries are the second-most produced berries in the United States, after strawberries, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service. Over the past 10 years, the total supply of fresh blueberries available for American consumption has increased fivefold.

Availability of fresh blueberries to U.S. consumers has grown at a faster pace than that of fresh strawberries over that same time. U.S. production and imports of blueberries both have been increasing rapidly to meet year-round consumer demand.

Check out some NIFA-funded research that can increase blueberry yields and help with crop production costs:

Georgia Works to Minimize Blueberry Crop Losses Caused by the Spotted-Wing Drosophila
Spotted-wing drosophila, an invasive insect pest of Asian origin, has recently emerged as a devastating pest of blueberries in Georgia, causing significant crop losses valued at $20 million to $30 million. The University of Georgia Blueberry Entomology program, in collaboration with county Extension agents and supported by Hatch and Smith-Lever capacity funding, conducted research and educational activities to help blueberry farmers implement effective, season-long management. These programs helped to minimize crop losses. Read more.
Soft-Catch System Could Reduce Costs for Oregon's Fresh Blueberry Industry
Oregon harvests 150 million pounds of fresh blueberries each year, with a farm gate value of $120 million. But hand harvesting the fruit can be costly – about $12,000 an acre. Researchers at Oregon State University developed a new technology called a soft-catch system that could cut the cost per acre by $9,000 and can be retrofitted to traditional over-the-row machines. This research was supported by Hatch capacity funding.  Read more.
Specialty Crop Farmers Can Increase Yields Through Improved Pollination

Most of the world’s crops depend on bees and other insects for pollination, so the decline in honeybees and wild bee populations raises concerns about food security. Crop yields for apples, cherries, and blueberries across the United States are being reduced, according to findings from the Integrated Crop Pollination Project coordinated by Michigan State University and led by Rutgers University researchers. With support from the USDA-NIFA Specialty Crop Research Initiative, researchers found that many crops are pollination-limited, meaning crop production would be higher if crop flowers received more pollination. They also found that honeybees and wild bees provided similar amounts of pollination overall. The researchers said managing habitat for native bee species and/or stocking more honeybees would boost pollination levels and could increase crop production. Read more.
Here is some related NIFA-funded research to read about while you’re enjoying your blueberry pancakes on National Blueberry Pancake Day:
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