US blueberry farmers are adapting to changing climate and weather patterns in order to yield the best produce.
“This is the time of year our plants go to sleep,” said Byne, owner of Byne’s Organic Blueberry Farm in Waynesboro. “Cold hours are extremely important for the plants to rest and get a good night's sleep for three or four months and be ready to go. For the last 10 years, we’ve gone into January concerned about our cold hours. We haven't received as many cold hours as we need.”
These changes in temperatures and timing haven’t necessarily been good for farmers.
“We’ve lost our crop in 2007, in 2017, 2019 we probably lost 70% of the crop due to cold weather. It’s like somebody is going to lose their crop every year as the temperatures are starting to change and starting to move up from Florida all the way to Michigan,” Byne told wtvr.com. “Sometimes you’ll have warm weather, maybe for about five or six days,” he explained. “It generates the energy to start producing blueberries and then all of a sudden you have a cold snap.”
Cold snaps can devastate the year’s produce. “In 2007 we went down to 23 degrees and I knew then it was gone. And I kept thinking I worked so hard, and I’m not getting anything out of this.”
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