ACGA Summer Field Day – 2019

This week several Pine Island Cranberry team members attended the annual American Cranberry Growers Association (ACGA) summer field day at the Rutgers extension center. While several topics are similar to those discussed at the winter meeting, the field day is a chance to go out and explore the researchers’ valuable work first hand!

Jeremy Fenstermaker:

It was nice catching up with everybody, as always! I enjoyed the talk about the winter flooding; that was interesting. The sanding experiment was something I’ve been thinking about for a while, so it was nice seeing the results of that.

Justin Ross:

I think there are some really neat things coming soon with the use of gene sequencing. Hopefully we will see this speed up the development of of new varieties. James and Nick are doing great work.

Altogether, another successful field day! Thank you to the entire staff at the Marucci Center for all of your hard work in putting it together.

ACGA Summer Field Day 2017

Last week several Pine Island Cranberry team members attended the annual American Cranberry Growers Association (ACGA) summer field day at the Rutgers extension center. While several topics are similar to those discussed at the winter meeting, the field day is a chance to go out and explore the researchers’ valuable work first hand.

Dr. Cesar Rodriguez-Saona once again put together an excellent and informative program, starting with the very first summer field talk for weed specialist Thierry Besançon. In addition to a “show and tell” session with Stephen Lee, we also bid a fond farewell to Ray Samulis, our Burlco Agricultural Agent, whose talk on farm safety has long been a mainstay of our meetings! We’ll miss you, Ray, and we promise: we’ll keep our initials off your list.

The most important part, however, is always the chance to sit down and catch up with fellow cranberry growers. “During the busy growing season, you seldom have the chance to talk to them about what they’re doing: how they see the crop, what new things they’re trying. It’s a great chance for growers to exchange ideas,” says Pine Island CEO Bill Haines. And our friends and neighbors feel much the same way!

ACGA President Shawn Cutts:

The meeting this year was excellent. All of the speakers provided valuable information and insight. It was great to hear updates on all the important ongoing research at the Marucci Center. The presentation on Root Growth in Cranberries by Dr. Amaya Atucha was a highlight that presented new and interesting information to NJ growers on how and when cranberry roots grow.

Joe Darlington, J.J. White:

I thought this meeting was a very good one; the weather even cooperated pretty well. All of the researchers presented interesting and useful info. This was the first time I heard Nick [Vorsa, Director at the Marucci Blueberry and Cranberry Research and Extension Center] say 1,000 barrels per acre in a public setting. Now we just need to put that together with real rot resistance. It is good to see that Thierry is on the ground and running with his research.

Bill Cutts, Cutts Brothers:

I thought the weather was great and the talks all had some nuggets of interest and progress in solving some of our problems; I found the talk about roots by the researcher from Wisconsin particularly interesting. I also encourage everyone to bring a chair or stool next year. It was great to sit comfortably while listening to the talks!

Jeff LaFleur, Mayflower Cranberries:

It is always great to visit with so many friends and colleagues at the ACGA meeting. It is especially valuable for me as a relatively new grower to see the latest in varietal development and pest management. With the increased emphasis on fruit quality I always learn something new from Peter Oudemans that I can use on my farm back in Massachusetts.

Finally, all of us at the ACGA as well as Pine Island Cranberry wish a speedy recovery to Tommy Budd! We missed you on Friday, sir, and look forward to seeing you again soon.

ACGA Summer Field Day – 2015

Yesterday several Pine Island Cranberry team members once again attended the annual American Cranberry Growers Association (ACGA) summer field day at the Rutgers extension center. While several topics are similar to those discussed at the winter meeting, the field day is a chance to go out and explore the researchers’ valuable work first hand.

All in attendance found the demonstrations highly useful! Some took particular notice of Dr. Peter Oudemans’ talk on his work on the heat stress factor in disease management. “Peter’s talk on understanding the factors that lead to heat damage was a hot topic for us…no pun intended,” says PIICM manager Cristina Tassone. “This year we have been trying to monitor the weather with our thermometer–both automated and analog–our new weather stations, our new thermal camera, and we started testing internal heat this season with meat thermometers. We have been going back and forth with Peter trying to find the best threshold for when we should turn on the sprinklers, and his talk yesterday provided the analysis of the data he collected along with a threshold that will help us make better decisions.” GM Fred Torres agrees: “You never have all the answers; there are always what-ifs, but we’re feeling better about what to do and what to try. Peter’s work is really narrowing it down, and it’s getting better and easier.”

The other speakers were also quite well-received. “It’s always good to hear about the new varieties, what they’re coming up with,” Fred says. Cristina was very interested in Dr. Jim Polashock’s talk on virus symptoms and detection. “It helped me make a connection with what we are seeing in the bogs,” she says. “We have seen scarring on the fruit in the past, and weren’t always sure what to attribute it to. Seeing the fruit samples with the viruses yesterday will help us identify what we are seeing in the bogs better. I am also anxious to see what they find out about the ‘footprint’ disease in the near future.”

Yesterday the ACGA also distributed the “Identification Guide for Weeds in Cranberries”. Hilary Sandler, weed specialist at UMass, had Quebec’s cranberry weed identification guide translated to English for growers on the east coast. This weed guide is of very high quality: 200+ pages with color photos of each weed’s stages of growth, in addition to a lot of information on the weeds. In addition to translating this guide, Hilary added new weeds and information to be sure that it covers all the weeds present in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and the other east coast Canadian growing areas. “I was very excited to receive this,” Cristina says. “I know it will be very helpful when we create our 2016 Weed Control Plan.”

As always, Dr. Cesar Rodriguez-Saona and his team did a spectacular job planning the program; it was well-organized, informative, and somehow or other, he found a way to control the weather! Many thanks to Cesar, Peter, Jim, and all of the fantastic scientists at the Marucci Center, whose work with all of us makes the NJ cranberry industry increasingly better, year after year.