Shade cloth for fall bearing blackberry druplet abortion/malfunction problems in southeastern USA

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2013: $6,458.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2016
Region: Southern
State: South Carolina
Principal Investigator:
Walker Miller
The Happy Berry Bunch

Annual Reports


  • Fruits: berries (brambles)


  • Crop Production: shade cloth

    Proposal summary:

    Our farm is 10 producing acres of small fruits, on 22 acres of steeply sloped land, started in 1979. Walker's, a retiree, family goal was/is to provide retirement income, education and employment for daughters and wife, be part of the local food shed and do so in an environmentally benign way. Everything is marketed directly as u-pick, we-pick and local farm markets. The farm is located in western SC (zone 8a) and is protected from spring frosts by an inversion off of 18,000 acre lake. It is 100% trickle irrigated. Because of global warming local weather (temperature, drought and rainfall extremes) has become more erratic. The farm needs to reduce its risk exposure through diversification of crop(s) or harvest times.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    We propose to develop a trellis system using locally available materials that is high enough to allow tractor operation between all rows. We will supply the trellis materials and shade cloth. The system will be retractable and deployable using farm labor. Based on current climatology for the area the shade cloth would be deployed about May 15 and retracted about September 15. It would also be retracted and deployed when violent weather or radiational frosts are forecasted in either the spring or fall. The trellis system will be developed by researching on the web, consulting greenhouse industry operations, agricultural engineers, shade cloth providers, and other growers.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.