Georgia’s Blueberry Crop is Growing Strong

When you think about Georgia agriculture what comes to mind? Peaches? Most likely. But blueberries? When did that happen?

Georgia tapped into the global blueberry market a little over 10 years ago and the state has since become a competitive player. This past season’s crop was projected to produce an astoundingly impressive amount, racking up 70 million pounds of blueberries from nearly 20,000 acres of orchards. In fact, blueberry production has thoroughly surpassed peach production. The Peach State now makes more money off of its blueberry crop, which is 3 times more valuable.

Harvesting the crop has been a good move for many farmers, especially growers that were experiencing difficulties with other crops, such as tobacco.

Why blueberries?

Blueberries have grown in demand among health-conscious consumers. Positive coverage coupled with heavy research on blueberries and their health, healing, and antioxidant properties is responsible for the burst of blueberry acreage in Georgia.

This sudden increase of Georgia’s blueberry crop is difficult to keep up with for federal observances. The USDA reports 14,000 acres of Georgia Blueberries, but the actual amount is probably closer to 20,000. The expectation is that the crop will continue proliferating, increasing to 24,000 to 26,000 acres within the next few years.

Competing states – New Jersey, Florida, and Michigan – are beginning to harvest the crop, emulating Georgia’s success. Georgia, however, enjoys an advantage, claiming the longest season in the U.S. lasting from mid-April through the end of July to delight in fresh Georgia Blueberries, dubbed “Sweet Georgia Blues.”

The Georgia Department of Agriculture is very supportive of all blueberry-growing initiatives, even going so far as to form a Georgia Blueberry Commission. This program, founded in 2009, was designed to support research, education, and promotion on behalf of the state’s blueberry growers.

I think it’s safe to say: Goodbye, Peach State; hello, Blueberry State.

Georgia landowner? Blueberry grower? Do you wish to convert your current land for blueberry harvesting? Contact AgAmerica Lending regarding Georgia farm credit options and agricultural financing solutions.

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Heavy Rain Effects Disease Management for Georgia Crops

As mentioned in an earlier post, a deluge of rainfall has rained down on Georgia. Not only is heavy moisture impacting plant growth, it’s also making disease management incredibly difficult for many of Georgia’s prime crops.

Soggy fields are creating an ideal environment to host certain bacteria and fungicides in peanuts, cotton, corn and soybeans. Plus, the moist fields are making it difficult for farmers to get in to apply necessary fungicide treatments. Even when they are able to treat the plants, the treatment sometimes gets washed away, resulting from another torrential storm. Crops are reaching a critical stage where timely use of fungicide application is paramount to effectively reduce the risk for bacterial and fungal outbreaks.

In these current conditions, the occurrence and proliferation of leaf spot diseases, white mold and Rhizoctonia limb rot can be expected in peanut fields. In fact, it’s been reported that white mold has already killed young plants on Southern Georgia farms. It doesn’t stop there.

Cases of southern corn rust have also surfaced, along with northern corn leaf blight and southern corn leaf blight. Though the damage isn’t too severe yet, it is still important to gain control over these occurrences before they become widespread. Aggressive use of fungicide treatment has proven effective against southern rust, but in these conditions, effective treatment becomes difficult. In addition, soybeans are at risk for Asian soybean rust and cotton is at risk for target spot and Ascochyta wet-weather blight.

To stay on top of these diseases, continue scouting your crop, keeping track of bacterial and fungal outbreaks. What’s more, hope that dry weather is on the horizon!

If you are a peanut, soy, corn, or cotton grower in Georgia, contact AgAmerica Lending to discuss your agricultural financing solutions. We offer Georgia farm loans to support your farm’s sustainability and continued economic success. or 844-516-8176.

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