Thursday, September 14, 2023

                                         BLUE FOCUS NEWSLETTER- Fall Edition, 2023

(Perennia’s Wild Blueberry Newsletter)



Hello everyone,


Harvesting season is pretty much over for Nova Scotia wild blueberry growers. This newsletter’s cover photo is to acknowledge all the hard work and extra hours that growers put into harvesting. It has been a challenging year and challenges never stop.

As most of you are wrapping up the harvesting season, you are probably also thinking ahead of fall field management and inputs for next year. We will talk about some fall management recommendations in this newsletter. It is a hard year to guess and confidently say the rough number on yield in different regions and I will share things I know. We are running into the fall season and it means meetings and workshops will start to pick up. Please keep your eyes on the Perennia wild blueberry blog, blog calendar, Perennia event page, WBPANS newsletter and other agricultural-related organizations' event pages.

Have a great fall season and hope to see you in the coming meetings.

Stay safe!

Hugh Lyu

Wild Blueberry Specialist, Perennia; 902-890-0472.

September 14, 2023


Table of Contents: 


Wild Blueberry Industry Production Updates- 2023

Weather Tools

2023 Season GDD Update

Upcoming Management Recommendations (FALL)




Wild Blueberry Industry Production Updates- 2023


As an industry, we are looking at a lower total yield, compared to 2022 (351 million lbs), but we are likely to reach the 300 million lbs line.  


Nova Scotia:

The yield expectation for NS is around 40-45 million lbs in 2023. This is down from last year's 57 million lbs. Our recent 5-year average is 40 million lbs so I think we will be around our average but down from 2021 and 2022.

Our challenge this year is the weather, especially excessive moisture that started the first day of June and continued to be wet most of the summer.

 For more information about why NS has lower yield this year, go to my last blog post: 

Prince Edward Island:

-          PEI had below than average snowfall last Winter and a bad cold snap in early February which caused some winter damage

-          The early bloom weather (late May/ early June) was not ideal for pollination as it was cold and wet

-          The weather cleared up for the latter half of June

-          The rainy pre-bloom and bloom season increased fungal disease pressures

-          There was adequate heat and rain throughout the remainder of the season resulting in good fruit set and plump berries

-          It was rainy throughout the harvest season which caused issues but there were enough pockets of sunshine to get the crop harvested

-          Overall, the expecting an average yield (20-25 million lbs).


New Brunswick:

-          There was little winter damage, some localized damage. Very little incidence of blight.

-          Early bloom weather was decent for early fields, but late May into the first 10 days of June, cool with periods of rain, although, fruit set was decent.

-          The rain through July and August helps size up fruit but creates harvesting challenges with wet fields.

-          Overall, growers are commenting that the crop is average or slightly below, not as good as last year. The Provincial average is roughly 65 M lbs and would be estimated that the crop is likely between 60 and 65 M lbs.



-          Quebec observed localized winter damages in some fields in the spring.

-          Mid-May, frost occurred during the bud break. It created localized damage, especially in the lower parts of the fields. There were cold nights in June but, the temperature did not drop below -2 Celsius and only for a short period at once.  

-          Weather during pollination was good and hives were strong.

-          Quebec growers noticed significant but localized hail episodes. Some fields had lost 100% of their fruits.

-          In July and August, they had a lot of rain so drought wasn’t a problem.

-          The crop will be higher than average with an estimate of 110 M lbs.


Maine is looking close to 2022 yield (80 million lbs) and Maine's 5-year average (74 million lbs).

Maine also faced some weather event challenges as well, like frosts. The rain arrived after pollination and the rain also helped to size up berries, in a perfect time and a good amount.

During harvesting, it was wet in Maine but Maine's soil typically is more well-drained so harvesting continued.


Table 1 Wild Blueberry Yield Across Regions (in million lbs)

*It is a hard year to guess and I don’t have enough time to get back from all other regions. Once I know, I will update this table immediately.








5-year average





















2023- prediction









**Source: Wild Blueberry Market Info Bulletin- Maritime edition- August 2023.


Weather Tools


When it comes to fall, there is one thing that wild blueberry growers care about more than others and that’s the field soil temperatures. Of course, only if you need to apply Kerb. We will start reporting soil temperatures from 44 out of a total of 55 weather stations. We will never stop talking about the weather, so this weather tool summary section is to show you the weather tool that wild blueberry growers need in the fall.


Field soil temperature:

Soil temperature is one of the key factors for a successful Kerb application and hair fescue control. We recommend growers wait until the soil condition is cool enough but before frozen to apply Kerb. The optimum soil temperature is between 0 to 10 degrees Celsius.

To check soil temperatures from 44 weather stations located in wild blueberry fields across NS, go to the weather page of the wild blueberry blog:


Click on the weather stations you want to check and continue to click on the Live Data Link. Once you are on a different page, scroll down to the bottom and find this information “Temperature Probe”.



Perennia’s Farm Data Tools Platform:

The “Farm Weather” page is still a good site to quickly look at live weather data, and calculate GDD and there is an option to download weather data.


Cape Breton Mesonet: If you need to look up more weather information in PEI and NS, this site covers a lot of locations.



2023 Season GDD Update

Now is not an exciting time to check GDDs, but I want to show you quickly how many growing degree days have been accumulated since April 1.

On September 13, 2022, the average accumulated GDD from wild blueberry weather stations was 2400, and V.S. 2337 in 2023. Because of lower and cooler temperatures in the last little while, things are moving slower. We are in a similar trend as last fall. It is a concern on if blueberry ground will be dry enough for fall mowing and herbicide application.




Upcoming Management Recommendations (FALL)


In the fall, mowing harvested crop fields and applying herbicides are two important jobs in wild blueberry production.


Pruning wild blueberry fields: we don’t talk about this often, but over the last two seasons, I have noticed some field problems related to mowing. Here is a very good factsheet on everything you want to know about pruning wild blueberry fields, produced by the University of Maine.

Fall weed management in wild blueberry fields:

Because of the excessive rain we got over the summer, weeds grow even more, especially in your crop fields. Some of you probably already documented what you saw when you were in the harvesters, I encourage you all to see what weeds you need to control and start to make a plan.


Here is an article about fall weed management. In this article, control times are broken down into post-harvest in September (right now), post-harvest before mowing (September and October), and post-harvest after mowing (November and beyond if weather conditions cooperate). I also mentioned weed species to target in the fall and herbicides you can use but please follow guidelines closely as fall herbicides are also sensitive to temperatures, both in the air and soil.

Link to the article, Fall weed management in wild blueberry production:




Some important announcements and updates that you might have heard already, but things to do in the fall and winter when you looking for things to do.

1.       A good time to share this document just in case you didn’t receive NSDA’s newsletter. How to prepare for a storm: Storm Preparedness Checklist- by NSDA:


2.       AgriStability Update


Nova Scotia farmers affected by this year’s extreme weather events can still receive assistance under the AgriStability program, even if they did not previously enrol. AgriStability supports farmers experiencing a large decline in farm income by providing protection for income losses of more than 30 per cent.

Farmers who did not previously enrol in AgriStability for 2023 can now participate in the program as late participants until December 31, 2024. For more information, please visit



3.       NSDA Programs: Again, there are still programs available through NSDA.


4.       NSFA- Nova Scotia Farm Discovery Tool. I recently found out about this useful tool from NSFA. It will automatically generate a resource list based on your areas of interest and problems to solve. Check it out:





Meetings and workshops are starting to pick up. Please check regularly on the blog event calendar page ( where I update regularly on events related to you.

Here are a few things coming up in the next few months:

1.      NSFA: Efficiency Symposium, October 2nd from 9:30 am- 2 pm at the Inn on Price in Truro. Event details and registration information can be found in this link:

2.      WBPANS Annual General Meeting, November 16 and 17, details to follow.