Monday, 31 July 2017 13:15

Officials estimate blueberry crop to be down 25% Featured

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ORONO - Maine's blueberry harvest is about to get underway and this year could be a little different.

"The crop is looking pretty good." said David Yarborough, blueberry specialist at University of Maine.


That's how experts are describing this years blueberry crop but they caution it may not live up to past years.


Yarborough stated "The last three years we've had over a 100 million pounds a year so we're estimating perhaps a 25 percent reduction, maybe 75 million pounds this year."


Officials said spring weather was a big factor in the reduction of berries.


Yarborough added "We had cold, wet, windy weather and with those conditions the honey bees don't like to work so we expect to have poor pollination. We also had issue with mummy berry disease where we were unable to protect plants with the windy, wet weather."


While the reduction may seem bad on the surface officials say 75 million pounds is still a lot of berries and it isn't all bad news.


Yarborough said "There's been an over supply now with the cultivated and Canadian production so actually a smaller crop is a good thing. The harvest is just getting started in the Union area.


Officials said it may actually start later than it usually does in other areas.


Yarborough concluded "We suspect maybe a little later than it usually does because with a smaller crop they can afford to go a little later in the season."


They want to make sure those berries are ripe.