Maine’s 2012 wild blueberry crop, as reported by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, totaled 91.1 million pounds of which 500,000 pounds were fresh. This is more than last year’s 79.9 million pounds and well above the five year average of 84 million pounds. Production figures for wild and cultivated blueberries may be found in the USDA NonCitrus Fruit and Nut 2012 Preliminary Summary January 2013 available on the web at http://usda01.library.cornell.edu/usda/current/NoncFruiNu/NoncFruiNu-01-25-2013.pdf.
The blueberry plants in Maine had a mild winter but there was some winter injury, especially in protected areas that warmed up early and lost their dormancy and then were then injured by the cold weather following the early warming. We had an early spring, initially plant growth was about a week or two earlier than average. We had good conditions during the beginning of pollination, so most fields had adequate to good pollination. Pollination weather deteriorated at the end of May and early June so set was not very good in the coastal Downeast fields. Tony Jadzack our state apiculturist, indicated we had nearly 70,000 hives used in Maine in 2012, which is a record. We did have a number of infection periods for mummy berry disease but there was time for fungicide applications to prevent the disease. There was extensive mummyberry infection if plants were not protected by fungicides and this year we also observed many fields with botrytis blossom blight, which is not normally seen in Maine. In Jonesboro, we received 4.32, 6.09, and 4.32 inches of rain in April, May and June respectively; July was below average at 1.2 inches but August had over five inches so moisture was adequate to fill the berries later in the month.
Total crop was 256.8 wild + 578.4 cultivated = 835.2 million pounds
The wild blueberry crop in Canada was 165.7 million pounds, which is considerably higher than last year’s crop of 132 million pounds and well above the five-year average of 125 million pounds. Although frosts reduced yields on some of the managed fields, Quebec’s crop was above the previous 5 year average of 53 million pounds at 62 million pounds. In Nova Scotia there were also some frost events but bloom was exceptional and with good pollination weather the province produced a large crop of 45 million pounds well above the 28 million pounds in 2011. The increase in the number of pollinators paid off in New Brunswick which had a record crop of 44 million pounds well above their average of 30.8 million pounds. The lack of winter kill, good pollination weather, and an increase in the supply of bees also produced a record crop of 14.1 million pounds in Prince Edward Island, which exceeded their five-year average of 10.2 million pounds. This crop increase is also attributed to the growing 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 for 2012 was 280.8 million pounds fresh and 181 million pounds processed for a total crop of 461.8 million pounds. In addition, British Columbia, Canada had a bumper cultivated crop of 105 million pounds, 50 million fresh and 55 million processed, reflecting the increase in the acreage. Michigan/Indiana had a small crop at 78.5 because of frost and drought. In New Jersey’s the crop was 54 million pounds, which was also less than last year’s crop of 60.2 million pounds. There was a larger crop on the Pacific Coast (CA, OR, WA) at 182 million pounds, which exceeded last year’s record crop of 159.5 million pounds with both Washington and Oregon at 70 and 72 million pounds respectively. In the Southern States (AL, AR, FL, GA, MS, NC) the crop was 127.9 million pounds, which is slightly below the 137.1 million pounds of 2011. The total North American crop (wild and cultivated) is 835.2 million pounds, which is above last year’s crop of 738.5 million pounds.
Wild blueberry fact sheets, past newsletters, contacts, resource links, calendar of events, and more can be found at the wild blueberry website www.wildblueberries.maine.edu.
Information in this publication is provided purely for educational purposes. No responsibility is assumed for any problems associated with the use of products or services mentioned. No endorsement of products or companies is intended, nor is criticism of unnamed products or companies implied.
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Image Description: pie chart showing cultivated = 68%; Maine-wild = 12%; Canada-wild = 20%
Image Description: Chart showing 2012 crop (millions of pounds) and total acres (thousands) for ME (90+; 65); QU (60+; 80+); NS (40+; 40); NB (40+; 20+); NF (>10; >10); PEI (10+; 10+)
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