By Faith PeppersUniversity of Georgia A late spring freeze followed by heavy rains were a blessing for some Georgia blueberry growers. But they brought more hard work to others, according to University of Georgia experts.The heavy rains delayed harvest of the southeast Georgia crop, causing some early concerns about highbush berry quality. “We had to work harder to make grade due to the heavy rains this spring, but it’s turning out to be good year for rabbiteye growers,” said UGA Cooperative Extension blueberry agent Danny Stanaland.“We grow two blueberry crops in Georgia – highbush and rabbiteye,” Stanaland went on to explain. The highbush crop in some areas of southeast Georgia, which is the state’s major commercial production area, “was hit hard by the late freeze and will produce only about 35 to 50 percent of the crop.” Robust rabbiteye cropFortunately, blueberry fans all over Georgia can expect a bumper crop from the rabbiteye variety. “It will be the largest crop of rabbiteye blueberries we’ve had in several years,” Stanaland said. That’s especially good news for Georgia’s 300 blueberry growers. The majority of the crop is rabbiteye variety, and about 10 percent of the total crop is highbush variety. “The highbush variety blooms and fruits early, making it more susceptible to the low temperatures and rain,” Stanaland said. “But, May 20 we finished harvesting highbush. That crop is gone.” Growers are now harvesting rabbiteye berries in three phases. “The early rabbiteye berries were wet and had some grading issues because it required more selective picking to get the good berries,” he said. “Now that it’s dry again, it’s much easier to harvest and grade, and fruit quality is very positive. We have the heaviest rabbiteye fruit set we’ve had in years. So, while we were short on highbush berries, we are going to be long on rabbiteye.”Pick-your-own timeIn the northern half of the state, where most blueberry operations are pick-your-own, growers are reporting larger-than-normal berries and an abundant crop, just in time for many markets to open this weekend. In 2008, Georgia blueberry growers harvested more than 14,000 acres of blueberries with an off-the-farm value of close to $61 million dollars, slightly above the five-year average. This year, growers expect to harvest between 12,000 and 14,000 acres, but that figure could surge as high as 15,000 to 20,000 acres, according to Stanaland and county Extension agent reports. About 75 percent of those acres are in southeast Georgia. Prices are holding steady in spite of the abundance of available fruit this year, which usually drives prices down. Growers are getting about $14 per flat — or $1.40 per pound — for fresh berries, only a shade lower than last year’s price.
It was initially fixed for July 1st but it’s likely the game will be brought forward a week due to the county’s minor footballers playing in the Munster final against Kerry on July 5th.There are a number of dual players on both panels and Munster council representative John Costigan says they want to accommodate everyone.
New look ARC revamps executive leadership team February 18, 2020 StumbleUpon Related Articles ARC continues financial support for greyhound trainers during COVID-19 shutdown April 15, 2020 Share Share ITV secures three-year British racing broadcast deal August 5, 2020 Submit The Arena Racing Company (ARC) has revealed a multi-million pound development scheme for Newcastle Racecourse and High Gosforth Park, following on from the success in similar previous work undertaken.Planning to submit its plans for the next stages of its development to Newcastle City Council in Autumn this year, it is hoped the proposals will boost the international prestige of the racecourse, in addition to creating a plethora of new jobs and driving a significant uplift of visitor numbers through the city. Improvement detailed for the racecourse estate includes an approximate 3,500m2 events centre, alongside significant refurbishment of the public and hospitality areas, as well as the racing staff accommodation. In its media statement ARC also outlined its plans for High Gosforth Park, which includes the development of “high quality” residential accommodation, and refurbishment to the listed Brandling House and its associated public space.David Williamson, Executive Director of Newcastle Racecourse, said “Our plans will complete the transformation of Newcastle Racecourse into a world class sporting venue. The development of the racecourse, and the wider High Gosforth Park Estate, will provide a significant boost to Newcastle’s local economy and help create a number of jobs.“These plans will completely transform the customer experience here at Newcastle, with brand new facilities for racegoers including bars, restaurants and hospitality suites, alongside significant upgrades for owners and trainers as well as the accommodation for racing staff. “We very much look forward to hearing people’s views on the plans, and welcome feedback at the exhibition on 31 August. We look forward to introducing the public to our plans and hearing their views.” A public consultation has been launched on the plans, with local residents invited to submit their views. Newcastle Racecourse will host a public exhibition and drop-in session before racing on 31 August between 12:00 and 16:00.