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EARI13-010: Innovative Weed Control Methods to Improve the Competitiveness of Wild Blueberry Production

Applicant: Bleuets NB Blueberries

Project Lead: Gavin Graham

Project Year(s): 2013 -2018      Status: Complete

Funding Source: Canada/New Brunswick Growing Forward 2 (Non-Business Risk Management Programs)

Funding Program: Enabling Agricultural Research and Innovation

Objective: To generate weed control and crop tolerance data for a range of herbicides and application timings which will support the registration of innovative and cost-effective weed management tools in wild blueberry production. This project will evaluate tank-mix partners and control options for hard to control weeds within current New Brunswick production.

Deliverables: The project will deliver multiple, stand-alone herbicide trials which can be used to support product registration within wild blueberries. This information will be shared with other partners, to complement existing registration programs. Information gained through this research will be widely distributed to the New Brunswick blueberry industry though field days, workshops, meetings, fact sheets and project reports. Information will also support the update of the Wild Blueberry IPM Weed Management Guide.

Summary: The wild blueberry industry is a vibrant and growing industry in New Brunswick. weed issues, both in established production and new development, continue to be a significant limitation to wild blueberry production. Current industry priorities reflect a need to integrate new innovative weed management strategies within the existing weed control framework based on hexazinone use. This project consisted of multiple, 'stand-alone' herbicide research trials designed to evaluate control options for specific weed issues. Fifty separate reports were compiled in response to the project objectives, including over six hundred individual treatments evaluated. Weeds of interest included hawkweed, sheep sorrel, spreading dogbane, fescues, ticklegrass, poverty oatgrass, lambkill, rhodora and many other common weeds found within wild blueberry production in New Brunswick. Trials evaluated innovative products, application timings and sequences for the blueberry industry. The information helped to improve the production recommendations for New Brunswick wild blueberry producers and has been incorporated into multiple articles, presentations, fact sheets and the Wild Blueberry IPM Weed Management Guide. Trial data supported regulatory applications for many innovative herbicides within wild blueberry, including nicosulfuron/rimsulfuron, glufosinate, flazasulfuron and indaziflam. In addition, trial evaluated the use of tank mixtures and repeated applications, ensuring sustainable herbicide use and protection against weed resistance. Using the information gained from this project, New Brunswick wild blueberry producers are able to manage weed issues in a more economical and environmentally sensitive manner.

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