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much worse for some than others, mainly due to the vagaries of weather. At the same time, the misfortunes

Markets — the year in review A

By Judie Steeves

lthough this has not been a stellar year for any of the berry commodity groups, it’s been


of growers on the eastern side of the continent meant blueberry growers in the west went to market with less competition than in most years. Berry specialist with the provincial

agriculture ministry,Mark Sweeney, notes there was early bud break for blueberries this spring in the east and then a late frost, so growers from Florida toMichigan sustained substantial crop losses.

Since the strawberry industry is a

fresh-fruit industry now, it’s smaller and needs to focus on getting fresh market share by encouraging people in B.C. to buy local instead of buying California fruit, Sweeney says. As well, growers will need to

concentrate on berries with a longer season in order to continue to keep a fresh fruit industry alive, he adds.

tunnels, he notes. New varieties with resistance to

such diseases as root rot, higher yield and good quality and the attributes needed to machine harvest are needed, he adds.

rot and SpottedWing Drosophila, a depressed market and poor prices. Many fields came out and there is a

trend to replanting to blueberries, which isn’t surprising when you consider the costs and risks with raspberries, while blueberries get double the production, there are lower operating costs and higher processing returns. In Europe, raspberries are grown in

Cranberries Cranberries saw a more-normal Raspberries Raspberries had a very difficult Blueberries That stimulated demand forWest

Coast blueberries, and weather-wise there was a decent growing season, even though June was pretty wet. July’s weather was pretty good for

blueberries, and there was a bumper crop of Dukes, but growers got behind in harvesting so much was diverted to processing, which meant prices were lower than they could have been. The fresh market prices were good. However, a high volume of the

Pacific northwest crop has gone into storage, which could impact prices down the road. Fresh and frozen prices have a lot

of impact on each other with blueberries, Sweeney notes. Chile also has a large crop and

freezes some, which means even more in storage globally. Markets to Asia need to be opened

up and demand in North America increased, he comments.

12 British Columbia Berry Grower • Winter 2012-13 MCHALE WRAPPERS: WELGER BALERS:

PHONE: 604.826.3281 FAX: 604.826.0705 Dave Kruk

 

year, beginning with a wet June, late bloom and early fruit. There were major problems with mould and then, just as the crop was ready to harvest, there were three steady days of rain the second week in July which was a disaster, Sweeney recalls. It was very discouraging for

growers who faced issues with root

year this year than the past couple of harvests, reports BrianMauza, agriculture scientist for the Ocean Spray co-operative in this region. Colour and size were good due to

sunnier days and cooler nights this growing season. A lot of smaller new plantings of

newer varieties are now coming on- stream—he estimates 1,200 to 1,500 acres. These should be heavier producing

varieties, so volumes will increase in the coming years, he predicts.

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