January 30, 2019
Blueberry growers across North America face significant headwinds, according to a key speaker at the Pacific Agriculture Show in Abbotsford on January 26.
“I can’t make the numbers work to give you a bright future,” said John Shelford, an observer of industry trends and strategic advisor to Naturipe Farms LLC.
The comment reflected number-crunching that yielded some key figures BC growers who want to survive need to keep in mind.
First, while total fresh blueberry production in North America totalled 786 million pounds in 2016 before dropping in 2017 and 2018, it’s on track for 586 million pounds in 2019 and will continue to rise as new plantings come into production.
But growth in fresh consumption has come entirely from imported product, Shelford said.
With projections of 2% annual growth in total blueberry consumption in the coming years, and half of that claimed by imports, North America only needs to produce an extra 12 million pounds each year.
With several producers in BC under pressure and little room to raise prices with consumers, Shelford said growers have two options: cut costs, and boost quality.
“You want people to buy blueberries? Deliver them flavour,” he said.
Vol. 105 Issue 6
STORIES IN THIS EDITION
Hog farm won’t face charges
Okanagan drives land values
Where’s the beef?
Minister defends Bill 15 changes
Back Forty: Farmers, not just farmland, need revitalization
Editorial: No peace, no order
ALR restrictions make commuting a fact of life
Johnston’s Packers targeted by activists
Sidebar: When is a crime not a crime?
Berry growers get long-awaited funding boost
Proteobiotics reduce poultry, swine infections
Greenhouse growth stymied by gas prices
Increase farm productivity with cover crops
Ag Briefs: Water fees not evenly distributed among users
Ag Briefs: BC Tree Fruits prepares to relocate
Farmland trust explored for Island
New owner, same faces
Fruit growers cautiously optimistic on bloom set
Honeycrisp key to success for Golden Apple winners
Changes to slaughter rules taking too long
Going! Going! Gone
Local meat deamnd creating opportunities
Sidebar: Compost in 14 days
Ranch takes pasture to plate at face value
Market Musings: Technology has its challenges
Oliver veggie grower prefers wholesale
Grocer offers tips to get a foot in the door
Greenhouse veggie days a hit with school
Haskap research may help berry go mainstream
Research: Bee sensitivity linked to neonic pesticides
Fraser Valley orchardist calling it a day
Worming his way to the top of the heap
Mushrooms a viable crop for small growers
Island 4-H beef show celebrates 25 years
Woodshed: Deborah starts her vacation a golf widow
Brewery’s food program spawns farm project
Jude’s Kitchen: Celebrate dads!