TIA studies impact of redberry mite on blackberry colour

FIGHTING MITES: TIA researcher Dr Stephen Quarrell studies impact of redberry mite on blackberries. Picture: Supplied
FIGHTING MITES: TIA researcher Dr Stephen Quarrell studies impact of redberry mite on blackberries. Picture: Supplied

Blackberries are meant to be black, but sometimes they are both red and black.

This discolouration is caused by a microscopic pest called redberry mite and researchers at the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture are working on strategies to control its impact.

With commercial blackberry production expanding rapidly in Australia is expanding rapidly, the industry needs to stay productive and sustainable, project lead Dr Stephen Quarrell said.

“We are undertaking desktop, laboratory and field-based research to identify tools to prevent and manage redberry mite. As part of this, we will trial integrated pest management programs in select locations over two growing seasons,” Dr Quarrell said.

“The project will include extension activities to share findings with growers and facilitate adoption of new strategies to support industry success, with the aim of enabling an increase in the yield per hectare of marketable blackberries,” he said.

Redberry mite impact will be measured on different blackberry varieties, climatic regions and growing conditions.

The $260,000 project is funded by Hort Innovation, supported with in-kind contributions from the institute.