Oklahoma State University to host Grape Management Course

Although Oklahoma’s farmland features more wheat than grapes, the small fruit continues to gain ground as a popular agricultural crop across the state.

Oklahoma State University is once again offering the Grape Management Course as a way to familiarize current and potential grape growers with good grape management practices.

Becky Carroll, OSU Cooperative Extension assistant specialist, fruit crops and pecans, said attendees will learn what it takes to become successful producers.

“We continue to get calls from people interested in grape production. This course has been offered for 17 years, so the interest is there,” Carroll said.

The 2018 Oklahoma Grape Management Course is set to begin March 1 and will run one Thursday a month through Sept. 13. Classes will take place from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Cimarron Valley Research Station near Perkins, Oklahoma.

Registration is $250 per person and the course is limited to the first 70 registrants. Preregistration is required and is due by Feb. 15. Registration information can be found online at grapes.okstate.edu. A detailed brochure for the 2018 class also is available on the website. For more information, contact Stephanie Larimer at 405-744-5404 or [email protected].

“Our university experts and industry professionals will be on hand to share all of the latest research-based information available on growing grapes. Both new and seasoned growers will get a lot of useful information,” Carroll said.

Participants will experience both the classroom learning environment in addition to hands-on activities during each class. The hands-on lessons will take place in the demonstration vineyard at the Cimarron Valley Research Station.

Carroll said each class will cover a variety of topics such as site selection and vineyard establishment, pruning and training, soils/water, insect and disease management, irrigation, weed control, economics, fertilization, propagation, rootstocks, canopy management, harvest preparation and petiole sampling.

Each meeting correlates with what is happening in grape production at that time of year. For example, the first meeting will explore the dormant vine stage, which occurs in March.

Because of the growth in the grape-growing industry in Oklahoma, Carroll said OSU researchers believe it will continue to have a significant impact on the state’s economy, as well as provide those who are interested with another agricultural outlet.

“One of the nice things about growing grapes is you don’t have to own hundreds of acres in order to have a profitable business,” she said. “Growing grapes is a great agricultural opportunity for those landowners whose property encompasses just a few acres.”