ACGA Winter Meeting 2017

Yesterday several Pine Island team members attended the annual American Cranberry Growers Association (ACGA) winter meeting. The ACGA winter meeting is always a good opportunity for growers and scientists to listen to research findings from experiments during the previous growing season and the researchers’ recommendations for the 2017 growing season. This year, Pine Island sent Mike Haines, Jeremy Fenstermaker, Matt Stiles, and Tim Bourgeois to hear the latest and greatest!

All four of them were happy with yesterday’s presentations and felt they learned a great deal. Matt Stiles was especially interested in one of the final presentations, from Casey Kennedy of UMass. “Water and underdrain are crucial things for us to get a handle on,” he says. “Casey definitely had some good information in there for us to use, especially to try and get info from everywhere we can and figure out what works best. It had a lot of applicable advice for us.”

Tim Bourgeois was also pleased with the irrigation segment. “I thought the last presentation on irrigation timing, soil conditions, and different flow rates seemed pretty interesting. I’ve been working with Jeremy [Fenstermaker] designing irrigation systems and bog layouts, and we’re already talking about how to minimize our irrigation run times and how to prevent runoff or compaction or flooding in certain areas where we don’t want flooding. And it’s going to be helpful for planting to optimize water use during the growing season.” He also liked Peter Oudemans’ updates on heat stress research. “His crop sensor project is going to get us a lot of useful info once they fine-tune their design,” Tim says. “It’ll be very beneficial to production research and recommendations in the future, because we definitely need to fine-tune what we know and find that perfect balance of enough sunlight, but not too much.”

Jeremy Fenstermaker was pleased to hear from the extension center’s new specialist, Thierry Besançon: “I was excited to hear Thierry’s talk about red root; I’m glad to have some new focus on that. It was nice to meet him and hear some new ideas!”

Mike Haines was also impressed. “I really liked hearing Thierry’s talk; it’s first one I’ve really heard from him, so I liked getting a fresh perspective on the weed problems we have here and how he plans to work on those.” He also paid close attention to the pest talk. “I really liked Cesar’s talk, too; he spoke about two issues I’ve been thinking about a lot: leafhopper and toad bug. There’s still a lot to learn about them, and it was good to hear what researchers have been discovering about the life cycle of these insects we haven’t seen for a while, and how we might deal with them in the future.”

All of our team members in attendance enjoyed the chance to sit down with fellow growers. “It’s always great to see everyone,” Jeremy says. “It’s nice how tightly knit the New Jersey growers community is.”

Special thanks, as well, to Dr. Cesar Rodriguez-Saona, who as always put together a fantastic, well-run program! We appreciate you, Cesar, and we appreciate all of the guest speakers!