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Vol. 104 No.5


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The agricultural news source in British Columbia since 1915 MAY 2018 | Vol. 104 No. 5 Fraser Valley bee shortage overstated

Farmers, apiarists respond to claim of hive shortage and poor health


DELTA – BC blueberry farmers and some apiarists were left scratching their heads after it was reported that there would be a sizable bee shortage in the Fraser Valley this spring. In April, the Vancouver Sun reported that beekeepers, including “major operators from Alberta,” were refusing to send their colonies to the Fraser Valley this year due to health and honey yield concerns. The article said the high- alkaline levels of blueberry pollen, a lack of variety in forage to make a balanced diet and possible contamination from fungicides used in blueberry fields were to blame. When the bees returned to Alberta, they underperformed. While the concerns may have some

BC Blueberry Council chair Jack Bates says he’s had no problem sourcing hives this year to pollinate the 90 acres of blueberries he grows in Delta. The bees are essential to ensuring good yields. SEAN HITREC PHOTO

validity, blueberry farmers say the correlation between healthy bees and healthy crop yields is what makes their operations work. “Bee health is important to every [blueberry] grower that I've talked to

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FREE PTO PUMP Still waiting: ag waste regs

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the province are eagerly awaiting release of the final text of a new agricultural waste control regulation (AWCR), removing uncertainties around practices from manure handling to how certain materials are stored. The latest push to overhaul

the AWCR is set to complete by May 31, the day the current sitting of the legislature adjourns for the summer.

Review of the regulation,

originally adopted in 1992 and last amended in 2008, began in October 2009. Three intentions papers have been released to date, with the latest published last November alongside a review of the province’s handling of nitrate contamination in the Hullcar aquifer. Deadline for comment was

January 15 and the province expected to wrap up the review and announce changes to the regulation by spring 2018. BC Ministry of Environment staff anticipate

publishing a summary report in early May.

The latest intentions paper

attracted “approximately 75 responses,” the ministry said. Staff told Country Life in BC that feedback was “generally supportive of the proposed direction.” Conservation-minded

groups such as the Islands Trust urged consistency between various provincial regulations regarding stream setbacks to protect fish. Meanwhile, farm groups

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