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blueberries planted where none had ever been planted before too, he notes.


The wet spring made it difficult for growers to get onto the fields to apply sprays too.


On the other hand, the colder winter should ease pressure from Spotted Wing Drosophila during this growing season, as it impacts their over-wintering numbers. “A lot of snow should have made it difficult for (as many of) them to survive,” he comments.


Cranberries, on the other hand, aren’t susceptible to damage from either pest, reports Brian Mauza, scientist with Ocean Spray of Canada in Richmond.


Although he says cranberries don’t depend on weather for spring growth, they were a bit late getting started this year and the wet spring weather made it difficult for growers to get out on the fields to get renovations done.


Only about 10 per cent of B.C.’s cranberry production is in new varieties at this point, he figures, but there’s a lot of renovation and replanting being done this year. He estimated 18-20,000 acres might be replanted this year, and it’s an expensive business at an estimated $12,000 U.S. an acre for vines, plus the labour involved in pulling out old ones, renovating irrigation and drainage. Then it’s two years before harvest of the first crop and longer before there’s a significant crop from the new vines. Last year there was a record crop, which puts downward pressure on prices. Global inventory is also significant, he notes, with heavy production in Quebec and in Wisconsin.


In B.C., about 95 per cent of production is for the Ocean Spray co-operative, but it isn’t accepting new members, so new growers need to sell independently, and face lower prices.


He says he can’t see much winter damage in cranberries. Snow cover helped insulate plants from the extended cold weather, as well as packing the vines down, which is good.


10 British Columbia Berry Grower • Summer 2017


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