2010 Newsletters - Wild Blueberry Newsletter – January 2010
Maine Wild Blueberry Crop 2009
Maine’s 2009 wild blueberry crop, as reported by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, totaled 88.5 million pounds of which 500,000 pounds were fresh. This is slightly less than last year at 89.95 million pounds but still well above the five year average of 69 million pounds.
We had a wet fall in 2008 and a mild winter with good snow cover, so very little winter injury was seen. In 2009 the dry weather during early pollination increased the potential crop in most areas except for the Downeast coast which had extended rain during bloom. Despite continued concerns on the bee decline, honeybees were available at a higher price. We had 66,000 bee hives brought into the state for pollination, and the weather was conducive for good pollination except at the end of bloom when it turned wet and cold. We have had light insect pressure but there were plenty of infection times for mummy berry disease and those who did not protect the plants had significant injury from this disease. For precipitation at Blueberry Hill Farm in April we had 6.6 inches, in May we had 4.75 inches and in June and July we had a near record rainfall at 8.65 and 6.94 inches. The extended cool temperatures and lack of sun delayed fruit development and harvest started a week later than normal. Although we had 4.7 inches of rain in August it came in only two events, so there was ample sun for ripening the fruit and good weather for harvest. The Maine Wild Blueberries NAAS report may be found under Maine Wild Blueberries at: http://www.nass.usda.gov/nh/1001bluerel.pdf.
The wild blueberry crop in Canada was 137 million pounds, which is less than last year’s crop of 157 million pounds but well above the five-year average of 122 million pounds. Quebec’s crop was approximately 70 million pounds, less than last year because there were fewer berries from the bush because of lower prices. The spring in Québec was cooler than normal but they had ample sun and warm weather during polination, so they had good fruit set. The weather in Nova Scotia was overcast and misty much of the summer so the crop was about average at 33 million pounds compared to its five-year average of 32.5 million pounds. In the northeast part of New Brunswick they had wet and cold weather conditions during bloom so the crop at 24 million pounds was just below the five year average of 25 million pounds. The lack of winter kill, good pollination weather, and adequate supply of bees and ample summer rainfall all contributed to the bumper crop of 10.3 million pounds in Prince Edward Island, which exceeds the five-year average of 8.9 million pounds. This crop increase is also attributed to the increase in the number of acres coming into production which is expected to continue to increase the average crop in future years.
Total reported cultivated production in the United States reported by the USDA was 222.45 million pounds fresh and 138.85 million pounds processed for a total crop of 364.1 million pounds. In addition British Columbia, Canada had a bumper cultivated crop of 87 million pounds reflecting the increase in the acreage. Michigan/Indiana had 102.7 million pounds which represents its second largest crop and is just slightly less than the 113.8 million pounds harvested in 2008. In New Jersey, the crop was 53 million pounds which was also slightly less than last year’s crop of 59 million pounds. The crop on the Pacific Coast (CA, OR, WA) was reported at 107.5 million pounds which exceeds last year’s crop of 89.1 million pounds, CA increased from 14 to 23.5 million pounds. The Southern States (AL, AR, FL, GA, MS, NC) crop was 98.5 million pounds, which is considerably more than the 84.5 million pounds of 2008. The total North American crop (wild and cultivated) is 677.4 million pounds which exceeds the 665 million pounds harvested in 2008. (Source of US crop data: NASS/USDA, Noncitrus Fruits and Nuts 2009 Preliminary Summary, January 2010, pages (30-32) See: http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/NoncFruiNu/NoncFruiNu-01-22-2010.pdf
Wild Blueberry Spring Meeting Dates Set
The spring wild blueberry meeting will be held on Wednesday March 17th in Waldoboro and Thursday March 18th in Ellsworth from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. and in Machias on Saturday March 20th from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Details on the locations and program will be included in the February 2010 Wild Blueberry Newsletter.
David E. Yarborough
Extension Blueberry Specialist