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Winter kill blamed for raspberry crop drop

Problem is only temporary, USU plant expert says

SHARE Winter kill blamed for raspberry crop drop

LOGAN — Winter kill, not a virus, is to blame for this years reduced raspberry yield, and that means the problem is only temporary, said Sherm Thompson, Utah State University professor of plant pathology.

Growers were quoted in news reports last month as saying that the affliction in the larger raspberry fields was due to a virus, and some expressed fears that even replanting would not stop the problem.

Thompson visited a number of growers to determine the cause, he said.

"The majority of the patches that I looked at will have good fruit this year. There will be berries produced in Bear Lake this year, and in years to come," he said.

But there will still be a decline this year, producers said.

While some growers also attributed part of the problem to a mid-June cold spell, Thompson said, "The majority of the problem is due to some winter damage that occurred during a fall frost in October of 2000.

"We had warm temperatures, and then it turned suddenly cold, and that caused much of the damage that is now being expressed," he said.

He said there is no cause to worry about prolonged raspberries problems.

"If we don't have another harsh winter, another sudden frost that takes things, then they'll be in good shape next year," he said.