NSDA Program- 2023 Season Response Program Application open from Feb 21 to March 13, 2024

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

 Hi, everyone

 

NSDA just launched a new program to help farmers recover from crop production and financial losses due to extreme weather conditions experienced in the 2023 production season. The program is called 2023 Season Response Program, and here is the program link: https://novascotia.ca/programs/2023-season-response/. Under this link, you can find the program guidelines and application form. 

Deadline or important dates

Program opening: 21 February 2024
Application deadline: 13 March 2024

For more information or assistance please reach out to staff at your Regional Agriculture office, below.

 

Gary Koziel, P.Ag.

Senior Agriculture Representative

(902) 565-8132

Gary.Koziel@novascotia.ca

Sydney

Eastern Region

Daniel Muir, P.Ag.

Agriculture Representative

(902) 890-1787

Daniel.Muir@novascotia.ca

176 College Road

Bible Hill, NS B2N 5G6

Marina Gillis, P.Ag.

Agriculture Representative

(902) 578-0786

Marina.Gillis@novascotia.ca

360 Prince St. Suite 32 Sydney, NS B1P 5L1

Rhonda MacDougall, P.Ag.

Agriculture Representative

(902) 631-2264

Rhonda.MacDougall@novascotia.ca

190 Beech Hill Rd

Antigonish, NS B2G 0B4

Zoshia Fraser, M.Sc., P.Ag.

Agriculture Representative

(782) 370-2278

Zoshia.Fraser@novascotia.ca

4016 Highway 302 Nappan

Cumberland, NS B0L 1C0

Jeff Hennessey

Business Development Officer

(902) 574-2032

Jeff.Hennessey@novascotia.ca

360 Prince St. Suite 32 Sydney, NS B1P 5L1

Erin Sears

Business Development Officer

(902) 324-8784

Erin.Sears@novascotia.ca

176 College Road

Bible Hill, NS B2N 5G6

Emily Clegg

Business Development Officer

(902) 870-5183

emily.clegg@novascotia.ca

190 Beech Hill Road

Antigonish, NS B2G0B4

 

Kim Kelly

Administrative Assistant

(902) 563-2000

Kim.Kelly2@novascotia.ca

360 Prince St. Suite 32 Sydney, NS B1P 5L1

Victoria Simpson

Administrative Assistant

(902) 863-4705

Victoria.Simpson@novascotia.ca 190 Beech Hill Rd

Antigonish, NS B2G 0B4

Nikki Moore

Administrative Assistant

(902) 893-6575

Nikki.Moore@novascotia.ca 176 College Rd

Bible Hill, NS B2N 5G6

 

Thanks.

Hugh

Perennia’s Winter Virtual Webinars- registrations open.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

 Hello, everyone

Perennia’s winter webinar series is back! This February, the Agri-Services team will offer four virtual webinars. Topics and dates are shown in the following picture.

Please note, that those webinars are for all agricultural sectors. If you have friends and neighbours who might benefit from those sessions, please share this information with them.

I encourage you to attend all sessions if time allows, but I strongly encourage you to attend the Feb 15 session, where the guest speaker, Dr. Jason Deveau, will talk about pesticide tank mix. How to get it right and how to avoid tank mixing mistakes. In wild blueberry spraying, we use tank mixing in almost every application and it is important to get it right to be effective and efficient. This session is worth 1 pesticide point. There will be time for questions at the end.

To register for those sessions, please go to  Perennia’s Agricultural Learning Opportunities page: https://www.perennia.ca/learning/agriculture-learning-opportunities/.

While you are on this page, I also encourage you to register for this production season’s wild blueberry meetings. The first meeting is on March 27, 2024, Wednesday, from 9-10 AM.

Take care!

Hugh



Wild Blueberry Equipment Efficiency Program (NSDA)- Application Deadline: January 31, 2024!

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Wild Blueberry Equipment Efficiency Program (NSDA)- Application Deadline: January 31, 2024!

 



 

Happy New Year, everyone!

 

NSDA launched a new wild blueberry-specific program to help producers invest in equipment.

I encourage you to look at the program information page and the program guidelines. Good luck with the application!

 

 

Program information page: https://novascotia.ca/programs/wild-blueberry-equipment-efficiency/.

Application deadline: January 31, 2024!

When you go into the program information page, be mindful of the deadline or important dates, as well as the “Downloads” which contain program guidelines and program application).   


 


 

Program guidelines: https://novascotia.ca/programs/wild-blueberry-equipment-efficiency/wbee-program-guidelines.pdf.

Highlights from the program guidelines:

 

Applicants can apply for a maximum of 50% assistance to a maximum of $15,000 per year in the Wild Blueberry Equipment Efficiency Program.  Note 1: All program funding is subject to funding availability.   Note 2: No more than 100% of non-repayable funding can be received for any eligible project cost incurred and paid for by the applicant. This applies to all Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture Programs.  Note 3: Applicants who applied for auto steer or GPS equipment and installation under the On-Farm Technology Adoption Program cannot apply for the same items under this program.

 

Eligible Expenses:

• Auto steer equipment

• High precision GPS, including upgrades

• Efficient sprayer technology

• Individual nozzle control

• Pulse-width modulation upgrade

• Systems that allow for precision map input

• Boom width increase with automated boom height and leveling upgrades or retro-fitting booms with automated boom height and leveling upgrades.

• Contractor installation fees

 

Ineligible Expenses These include but are not limited to:

• administrative / general overhead

• buildings / building modifications

• small construction tools • in-kind labour

• multiple pieces of equipment with the same function (e.g. two specialized sprayers)

• ongoing software licensing costs or fees

• computers, tablets

• operating expenses / existing staff salaries

• HST

• travel

Information on Managing Wild Blueberry Fields when Farm Gate Prices are Low

Thursday, November 30, 2023


Hi, everyone

This production season is a very challenging year for the wild blueberry industry. Due to many significant weather events, Nova Scotia’s wild blueberry yield was down (Est. 38 million lbs, about a 33% reduction from last year) in 2023 and on top of that, we are seeing low farm gate prices.

A low farm gate price impacts the farm's financial situation in the current season and brings up challenges for future seasons’ management. Many of you already started thinking about next season’s management input, but are unsure what the blueberry market and price might look like next year, which can be stressful and challenging.  

In this post, I want to share some information to help with your planning and your personal wellness.

Yes, farming is full of uncertainties and challenges, but there are hopes. After mowing your fields, a new production cycle will start, that’s hope; When you start to see new sprouts in the spring, that’s hope; When you observe bees working hard around blueberry blooms, that’s hope. There will be good years ahead of us, let’s keep our hopes up!

 

Supporting the Mental Health of Nova Scotia Farmers

We Talk, We Grow. https://wetalkwegrow.ca/.

I hope you take care of your wellbeing and if you need support to get through this challenging time, there is a good resource developed by Farm Safety Nova Scotia. Please go to their website, and find the information or contacts for your needs.

 

Two Useful Wild Blueberry Factsheets

 

In 2017, Perennia published two factsheets related to managing wild blueberry fields when farm gate prices are low.

Managing Good Wild Blueberry Fields when Farm Gate Prices are Low: this factsheet focuses on how to manage good wild blueberry fields. https://www.perennia.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/managing-good-wild-blueberry-fields-when-field-prices-are-low.pdf.

 

Integrating Rest Periods into a Wild Blueberry Production Cycle: many of you might want to rest fields or cut inputs. This factsheet introduces some great points and things to consider while resting fields, especially on weed management. https://www.perennia.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/integrating-resting-wbb-fields.pdf. Resting fields doesn’t mean you should forget about the weed management program as by the time you want to bring those fields back to production, the recovery cost could be high. A minimum weed management input is recommended if you want to continue production in the near future.

A minimum weed management input can be mowing, cutting above-canoy weeds and repeated cutting throughout the growing season, spot treatment (spreading dogbane, goldenrods etc.) and selecting low-price herbicides for major weeds (sheep sorrels, hair fescues, goldenrods, annual grasses etc.).



This 2022 herbicide price table can be found under the wild blueberry management tool, and you will also find other chemical and fertilizer prices. I strongly recommend you use this tool and plan your input based on your comfort level.

Management Tool: Go to: https://nswildblueberries.com/., Click on Grower Resources, then click on “Management Tool”. The Excel sheet will be downloaded automatically.

 

Please feel free to reach out to me if you need to get a second opinion on your input planning.

 

Thank you!

 

Hugh Lyu, Wild Blueberry Specialist, Perennia

hlyu@perennia.ca

902-890-0472.

November Wild Blueberry Management Reminder

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Hi,

It is November! Temperatures are cooling off and a cool environment offers great opportunities for some fall wild blueberry management, including Kerb application for hair fescue control.

Kerb Application- Hair fescue management

Some of you might be thinking of applying Kerb in the whole field or just spot spray. We are in a good timing for the Kerb application across the NS. The optimum timing to apply Kerb is when the soil temperature is between 0-10 °C and a forecasted rain event in a few days after the application. Moisture is helpful to move Kerb into the soil. This fall’s weather conditions offer a great opportunity to control hair fescue with Kerb, because of a cool fall and enough moisture under the ground to move Kerb into soil. Please refer to Table 1 for the closest weather station near the fields of interest.

Mosses Control

This year’s wet conditions have created many challenges and one of them is more wet grounds in wild blueberry fields. Wet grounds are ideal for moss to spread.

Large water-sitting areas in a wild blueberry field

 

After mowing crop fields, growers can apply Chateau to manage mosses. Chateau WDG is used as a dormant post-harvest application.

Unacceptable crop injury and yield loss may occur if the product comes into contact with non-dormant structures. Make sure the spray tank is cleaned according to label recommendations before applying a foliar pesticide. Do not make more than two applications in a growing season. Use a low rate in coarse-textured soils, and a high rate in medium-textured soils.

When growers are able to get into fields and start spring spraying activities, it is in April. Wild blueberry plant emergence could start early and a spring application of Cheatuae could damage newly emerged plants. Springtime is a more risky time to apply Chetaue also due to a higher chance of more water sitting in the blueberry ground when snow starts melting. Herbicides could end up sitting in the water.

Sprout fields’ yield potential

 

A visit to your sprout fields is recommended this time of the year. You should assess if this spring and summer’s weed management is successful. Weed species observed at this time of the year should be your next spring’s crop fields' weed management priority. You can also assess if this summer’s fungicide program is good. Because of a wet summer, most growers applied at least one fungicide but commonly two applications were observed. Fields treated with two applications are generally healthy and fields maintain leaves.

Please pick a few stems and check their fruit buds (those large buds). Generally speaking, an average of 5-6 buds per stem would be considered good. In some well-managed fields, 10 fruit buds per stem are common to see. This information is useful to determine next year’s input, such as pollination needs.

 

Crop fields weed management

 

The only weed species I want to mention is sheep/red sorrel. It appears in every field I visited, sprout and crop fields. Due to the excessive moisture, they have a great year to grow. The management of sheep sorrel will become an important activity on your weed management list. Here are a few points to help you.

·         According to some new research data, it is suggested that fall is not an ideal time of the year to control sheep sorrel with Spartan. Plants recovered from seed in the following year. We suggest grower apply Spartan in the spring  before plant emergence starts.

·         If you observe large sheep sorrel plants, Spartan is the only effective herbicide that controls mature and established plants.

·         In the spring, before you apply Spartan, check if there are many small seedlings next to mature sheep sorrel, if that’s the case, you can consider a tank mix of Spartan and Authority which controls both seedlings (newly emerged sheep sorrel) and mature plants.

·         We recommend growers apply Spartan according to spring sprout fields’ plant emergence situation- apply before plant emergence or up to 10% emergence. The GDD tool suggests to apply it in between 150-200 GDD.

Table 1. Soil temperatures across the 44 wild blueberry weather stations, as of November 1, 2023

Weather Stations

Soil Temperatures as of November 1, 2023, °C.

Colchester

Glenholme (NSW001)

5.6

Murray Siding (NSW002)

6.8

Keble (NSW020)

6.4

Upper Kemptown (NSW022)

6.1

Kavanaugh Mills (NSW023)

6.2

Debert (NSW036)

4.8

Belmont (NSW037)

6.3

Staples Brook (NSW038)

7.2

Eastville (NSW067)

6.6

Benvie Hill (NSW068)

8.9

Belmont (NSW087)

5.7

Earltown (NSW089)

5.9

Camden (NSW090)

3.2

 

 

Cumberland

Halfway River (NSW039)

5.4

Wentwoth (NSW076)

7.1

Salt Springs (NSW077)

4.3

East Mapleton (NSW078)

4.9

Gilbert Mountain (NSW79)

5.7

Yorke Settlement (NSW080)

6.0

North Greville (NSW081)

5.7

Kirkhill (NSW082)

5.9

West Advocate (NSW091)

8.4

Westchester Station (NSW094)

6.9

 

 

Pictou

Blue Mountain (NSW017)

7.0

Sunny Brae (NSW018)

5.0

New Gairloch (NSW019)

6.3

Four Mile Brook (NSW021)

6.6

Glencoe (NSW057)

6.3

Sunny Brae (NSW058)

6.4

Blanchard Road (Nsw059)

6.5

Blue Mountain (NSW060)

6.2

Moose River (NSW061)

7.4

Hazel Glen (NSW086)

7.3

 

 

Antigonish

New France (NSW075)

5.4

 

 

South Shore Counties

New Tusket (NSW024)

7.0

East Kemptville (NSW025)

6.6

West Caledonia (NSW026)

7.5

Milford (NSW027)

7.8

 

 

Cape Breton

Skye Mountain (NSW028)

4.3

Keppoch (NSW029)

5.9

 

 

Hants and HRM

Dean (NSW069)

6.8

Woodside (NSW070)

7.8

Chaplin (NSW071)

6.2

Upper Rawdon

7.0