PULLMAN, Wash. — A tightly knit relationship between Washington State University scientists and Washington’s red raspberry industry is fostering research to help Washington retain its dominant position in the U.S. market.
The Pacific Northwest is a world leading center of red raspberry production, and Washington accounts for more than 60 percent of U.S. production. More than 80 percent of Washington’s crop is grown in Whatcom County, hours away from the laboratories of WSU scientists assigned to work on red raspberry problems in Vancouver and Puyallup.
WSU contributes equipment, graduate students, and the time of state funded scientists. Industry provides fields for research, temporary labor and housing, as well as travel funds for work in Lynden. Facilities are staffed from spring through fall.
This arrangement allows scientists to focus on integrated pest management and related elements in chemical and biological controls and on identification of new insect and mite pests whose biology is poorly understood.
This research program has partnered with WSU Cooperative Extension’s highly successful Nooksack IPM Program, which addresses multiple educational needs associated with small fruit pest management. Recently, an IPM manual for red raspberry production was produced and has now been put online at the program’s web site (http://whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/comhort/nooksack/ipmweb/raspberry.html).
Plant pathologists are working on critical plant disease problems that have significantly reduced yield and fruit quality in recent years. Blights, rusts and rots have become a focus of research in order to develop appropriate controls. Researchers also are working towards a better understanding of how to control bushy dwarf, a serious virus disease.
Several horticulturist are trying to increase production efficiency through use of a new trellis system that will increase yields under machine harvesting. Nearly all Washington raspberries are machine harvested.
Yield increases of 20 percent have been recorded in growers fields. Other research includes studying winter injury on plants, chemical management of vegetative growth and performance of selections in the WSU small fruit breeding program.
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