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up front By Bryden Winsby


Ah, summer — better late than never A


lright, quick now — can you remember the last time three days of hot (or even nicely warm) and dry weather were strung together in your part of the province? If you can, your brain cells are in much better shape than mine —which wouldn’t be unusual — but that sunny stretch surely couldn’t have occurred this year.


We all know that weather is among the most popular conversation topics for Canadians, and as this is written just about everybody is grumbling about the sluggish start to spring. “Nice March we’re having,” could be heard from a typical grumbler as April drew to a close.


But there’s no use complaining, because as the old saw goes, we can’t do anything about it. Hold on, not so fast.


What’s the difference between weather and climate? By definition (you can look it up) weather is what conditions of the atmosphere — temperature, precipitation, humidity,


wind, etc. — are over a short period of time, while climate is what happens in the atmosphere over long periods of time.


When we talk about climate change, we’re talking about changes in long-term averages


of daily weather.


So, back to the assumption that we can’t do anything about the weather. Human activity, you might have heard, is being held responsible for damaging the atmosphere and thus creating climate change ...


One result of such change in our part of the world, as this issue’s cover story explains, is the prospect of increased flood risk in the Fraser Valley. Associate Editor Judie Steeves explains why the lousy weather we’ve experienced for months could just be a blip, according to a report by the Climate Action Initiative of B.C., and much must be done to mitigate the risk.


Elsewhere on the weather front, we’ve got stories about the upside of winter and early spring for this year’s crop prospects and pest management. On the research side, there’s lots to read about breeding berries that are better suited for machine harvesting, how to deal with premature drop of Draper blueberries, and how DNA ‘fingerprinting’ has revealed that cranberry varieties grown today bear little resemblance to what was originally planted.


Contributor Gary Strachan muses about what the future could hold for growers looking for ways to diversify their products and cope with vagaries of the marketplace.


And we provide details on the most recent farmland values report by Farm Credit Canada, showed a ‘cooling off’ in values across most of the country, but not in B.C. Enjoy!


4


British Columbia Berry Grower • Summer 2017


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