Update from NS Crop and Livestock Commission

Monday, June 18, 2018

A note from NS Crop & Livestock Insurance regarding frost damage:
Any blueberry growers participating in crop insurance who believe their crops were impacted or may be impacted by recent frost events (or damage from any other insured perils) must provide a notice of damage to the Nova Scotia Crop and Livestock Insurance Commission. Notices can be mailed (P.O. Box 1092, Truro, N.S. B2N 5G9), faxed (902-895-4622) phoned (902-893-6370 or 1 800 565 6371) or emailed (nsclic@novascotia.ca) to the Commission offices.

Bill MacLeod, P.Ag.
Nova Scotia Crop and Livestock Insurance Commission
P.O. Box 1092, Truro, N.S. B2N 2P2

Crop Development and Damage

Thursday, June 14, 2018

It has been an eye opening week and a half.  We are seeing unprecedented damage across the province, with small pockets that appear to have had less impacts from the freeze.  Over the next week or so it will start to become evident the full impact of the damage. What was thought to be pollinated fruit will start to fall or turn purple and it won't swell, if it was damaged.

Some flowers haven't moved since the freeze and will not develop further.

David Percival and I pulled together a factsheet yesterday outlining some potential strategies that are being discussed.  If you are considering any of these strategies, read this document carefully and understand the risks and implications.


Frost update

Thursday, June 7, 2018

We had freezing temperatures again last night into this morning.  It wasn't as wide spread and we did not reach the duration or temperature minimums we saw on Monday morning.  If there is additional damage it should show up by mid morning and into the early afternoon today.

I looked at a good chunk of central Cumberland County yesterday and we are seeing significant damage throughout the region.

I did see some fields with open white flower, with pollinators active in the field. I also smelled blueberry bloom in a couple of fields which was encouraging.  However, some damage was still evident in these fields.

It is very difficult to determine the full extent of the damage at this point. I am still unsure if flowers that were pollinated before the frost event are still viable, in many of the fields I have looked at.  We should begin to see much of the impact over the next two weeks.

A decision to protect the crop against further disease, needs to be made on a field by field basis.  Growers need to be confident there is still a good yield potential before considering a treatment, to justify the cost of treatment and application.  I wish I could be more definitive but we are in uncharted territory. 

Frost Damage and Botrytis Risk?

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Many areas are still in what would be mid bloom.  With the tissue damage caused by the frost on Sunday night and the wet weather over the last 24 hrs, it is likely that Botrytis risk is building, particularly in Botrytis prone fields.  Obviously the severity of damage that occurred on Sunday night and Monday morning is critical to determining whether a Botrytis treatment is cost effective.

WBPANS circulated a factsheet via e-mail from Dr. David Percival yesterday which can help ID frost damage. Dr. Percival also circulated this factsheet at the twilight meetings last week. Here are some screen shots of that factsheet.  I will try and get the full factsheet posted later today.

If you are still seeing significant amount of white flowers in your field and bees are still active in the field, that is a good sign.  Protecting against further disease may be prudent in these fields.

Note: the weather forecast is for another frost event across the Maritimes tonight!

For many fields that have severe damage, it may not make sense to treat for Botrytis as too much of the crop has been lost.

For fields that have moderate damage, it would be worth your time to look closely at those fields, determine pollinator activity. Also cut open some flowers to see if the base of the flower (ovaries) are black. If the temperature was cold enough for long enough, the pollinated flowers could have been damaged as well.  This is what happened in 1996 when we had a major frost event near the end of bloom.

I will be looking at fields today and will report tomorrow.

If you have crop insurance and you think you have damage, please call the Nova Scotia Crop and Livestock Insurance Commission ASAP to report damage to your fields!!


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

I haven't been to a large number of fields yet, but from what I have seen and the reports I have been getting from growers we are seeing very significant damage due to frost across the province.  Here is a picture from the Musquodoboit area yesterday.

There will be variability in the level of damage depending on the temperatures, duration of the cold, location and orientation of the field and the stage of bloom. However, we saw temperatures well below minus 2 degrees for several hours throughout the province.  It has been many years since we have seen this kind of frost across the province this late into June.

The wild blueberry is an incredibly durable plant and there will be some fields that will still yield well despite the damage we are seeing now.  There is no doubt, many fields in NS have taken a yield hit over the last 36 hrs.

Botrytis Update

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Development is still variable across the province but we are moving into full bloom in many areas. 

Long, warm, wet periods are ideal for Botrytis infection.  Dense canopies that stay wet or have continual wet periods (daily fog) are very prone to this disease.  Over the last week or so we have had several frost or near frost events across the province.  If tissue is damaged by frost or another disease, like Monilinia, this can encourage Botrytis infection.

If you have a history of Botrytis infections, a control should be considered in early bloom (10-20% open flower) to protect the open flower and bloom that is not quite open but in the late pink bud stage.

Also but putting a control on at this time, the canopy is not fully closed and it is easier to get more of the product deeper into the canopy and protect more of the bloom further down the stem.

As always check with your buyer to see what products are allowable for their markets, and review the pest management guide to see what products are registered. 



10th Monilinia Update for Nova Scotia

Friday, May 25, 2018

With the exception of late ground in Cape Breton, the risk for new primary Monilinia infections has passed. If an infection has occurred over the last three weeks and the timing of the blight spray was off, you should be starting to see symptoms on the plants.

This is a picture from last year where you can see Monilinia infection on the flowers and the leaves.

We are rapidly moving into bloom, with many areas in central Nova Scotia at or above 20% open flower.  This is an ideal time to consider a first Botrytis spray, particularly if wet conditions are in the forecast. Not all fields in Nova Scotia have a history of significant Botrytis blight or other secondary crop year diseases like Septoria. However, you can find low levels of Botrytis in just about every field in Nova Scotia.  If weather conditions are wet and warm, it can lead to significant infections in any area of the province.

This will be the last Monilinia update for 2018, but I will continue to make updates for Botrytis Tuesday and Friday of next week and other updates throughout the summer.