Cold weather boosts US blueberry crops

This winter, subfreezing weather bodes well for fruit crops in Mississippi, according to Dr. Eric Thomas Staphne from Mississippi State University. The subfreezing weather isn’t all bad; just ask blueberry farmers. Last year, an unusually warm winter cut into the state’s fruit crops, including the state’s largest crop: blueberries.

That is because this fruit needs a certain amount of “chilling hours,” when temperatures are between 32 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit (0 – 7 degrees Celsius), to support its dormancy stage before blooming and producing. Blueberries, for example, need 400 to 600 chilling hours. learned that in the past decade, the production ranged from a high of 10.5 million pounds in 2011 to 4 million pounds in 2008.

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