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Our Reseach Projects

View some of our most recent research projects below  collaborating with Pacific Northwest Commissions and so much more.

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Northwest Berry Foundation (NBF) conducted a project in cooperation with USDA-ARS and with funding from the Western WIPM Center in an objective to understand how UAV technology can aid IPM in berry crops. From this initial one-year project, NBF had great success in being able to image and map various pest issues that affect berry crops, and the video (left) helps to show how it all works. Using the preliminary data gained from this project, we hope to conduct future studies, calibrating this tool to more precisely be able to inform us of pest/disease issues in berry crops, develop automated self-learning programs to quickly analyze imagery, and continuing to test emerging technologies (i.e. new sensors, analysis tools, UAVs, etc.).

Remote Controls UAV up to several miles away

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Over the years, the industry has been observing a wide range of issues associated with blueberry viruses. During year 1 of this project, high-throughput sequencing analysis of plant material collected in the Northwest discovered additional viruses that had never been previously described or known to exist in addition to blueberry scorch virus (BlScV), a virus that is terminal for infected plants and was thought to be exceedingly rare in Oregon. In year 2, samples were collected from project fields and analyzed for these new viruses to better understand how they may compound symptoms that have generally been solely associated with blueberry shock virus (BlShV). The most concerning discovery from the 2020 sampling was to discover BlScV in even more fields and farms. In 2022, emphasis was placed on screening a wider number of fields for BlScV given the dire nature of that disease. Results found numerous fields had positive detections of scorch, indicating that BlScV has spread and is now far more common in production fields than previously presumed.

In 2018, numerous raspberry and blackberry growers and researchers reported unexpected economic damage to their fields caused by rose stem girdler (Agrilus cuprescens). In response, The Northwest Berry Foundation, funded by the Oregon Raspberry and Blackberry Commission, carried out a field survey to determine rose stem girdler incidence and economic impact in Willamette Valley blackberries and raspberries. Information from this project was shared via issue weekly pest alerts in the commission-sponsored newsletter, the Small Fruit Update. The information gathered during this survey was also condensed into fact sheets and management recommendations for growers.

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There has been an ongoing need to have consistent strawberry variety grower trials to determine the potential these new varieties have in the Pacific Northwest climate and markets. This project seeks to bridge the gap between the introduction of new varieties and growers confidently planting said new varieties. The overall goal of this project is to establish a robust on-farm trialing structure to accelerate the commercialization of available genetic resources, which would in turn increase the economic viability of the Northwest strawberry industry

There has been a drastic decline of Washington State’s processed market acreage and the disbanding of the Washington Strawberry Commission. Meanwhile, consumption and value of fresh strawberries continues to increase nationwide. Washington producers have an opportunity to meet the growing demand for fresh local strawberries, but face several obstacles in doing so. Researchers at Washington State University (WSU) will address these barriers through plant breeding research, evaluation of horticultural practices, grower outreach, and plant propagation research for nursery expansion. In collaboration with WSU, the Northwest Berry Foundation is conducting two workshops to explore fresh market strawberry production in Washington. The workshops will be arranged with the intention of providing Washington growers with information about the potential market demand for fresh strawberries and how to fulfil that demand.

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