Bramble Variety Trials in Utah to Reduce Disease, Increase Production and Enhance Profitability

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional + Producer
Funds awarded in 2007: $23,250.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: Western
State: Utah
Principal Investigator:
Rick Heflebower
Utah State University

Annual Reports


  • Fruits: berries (brambles)


  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Farm Business Management: feasibility study
  • Pest Management: economic threshold, integrated pest management, weather monitoring
  • Production Systems: general crop production


    In Utah, commercial raspberry production has succeeded in the northern part of the state, alongside tourism. Otherwise, production is limited to a handful of growers scattered around the state. A raspberry variety trial was planted in 2006 at five locations ranging from the northeast to the southwest corners of Utah. The plan for this project was to evaluate production in these five locations during the 2007 and 2008 seasons. The 2007 crop was destroyed by spring frost. Data on winter survival, yields, fruit size and production season were collected in 2008 and 2009 and are currently underway for the 2010 season.


    Brambles, including raspberries and blackberries, are a high-value crop with a short shelf life, making them well-suited to local production and consumption. In Utah, raspberries have succeeded in the northern part of the state, alongside tourism. Otherwise, production is limited to a handful of growers scattered around the state.

    Raspberry production in northern Utah has been devastated by an outbreak of Raspberry Bushy Dwarf (RBDV), a pollen-borne virus, largely because growers had relied on a virus-susceptible variety, Canby. Meanwhile, a number of new varieties, some resistant to RBDV, have been developed that offer adaptability to a wide range of climates.

    Population growth in recent years has pushed development in Utah and other Intermountain areas onto what had been the best farmland, often leaving small parcels (1-20 acres) typically underutilized and infested with weeds. Properly managed, these small parcels could produce a rich variety of high-value crops, including brambles, sold directly to consumers at the farm gate, farmers markets or Community Supported Agriculture subscriptions.

    Project objectives:

    • Conduct bramble trials on farmer fields and at one university research station, representing five climate zones in Utah.

      Using trial results, develop lists of appropriate cultivars and cultural practices for the various climate zones.

      Conduct field days and develop fact sheets and articles to disseminate research results to growers in Utah and other Intermountain states.

      Conduct follow-up surveys of field day attendees to assess what information was important to them and what varieties or practices they may have adopted.

    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.