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New Brunswick blueberry yields drop after driest season in 20 years

New Brunswick blueberry growers faced the driest season of the last two decades this year, with lower yields across the province as a consequence.

"It's an emotional difficulty," said Russ Weir, who owns McKay's Wild Blueberries in Pennfield, west of Saint John.

Thanks to the unusually dry season, farmers are only expecting between 40 and 50 million pounds of wild blueberries across the province, about 30 million pounds less than in 2016.

It's not just dry weather that's being blamed for the shortage of blueberries this year, but also the unusually bountiful harvest in 2016. Last year, New Brunswick's blueberry production grew to 82 million pounds from about 20 to 30 million pounds per year a decade ago, creating an oversupply of inventory.

"It's almost hopeless in trying to make a profit, because the oversupply has been so large, the demand drops when that's the case. Berries are frozen in the freezer from the last year or so and they haven't moved."

As a result, the price of wild blueberries is at an all-time low. This summer, some of those farmers are only making 20 cents per pound when they usually see around 30 to 50 cents.

Read more at cbc.ca

Publication date: 9/6/2017


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