Blueberry yield looks promising, say agriculture officials

Blueberry growers on the Island say they're looking forward to a great year, thanks to the survival of many plants over the winter.

Low winter die-off means more plants can produce more fruit

Blueberry pickers in the northeast are cashing in on the latest crop of blue gold, a moniker given to the lucrative, short-term industry. (Yvon Theriault/Radio Canada)

Blueberry growers on the Island say they're looking forward to a great year, thanks to the survival of many plants over the winter.

Chris Jordan, the berry crop development officer with the P.E.I. Department of Agriculture and Forestry, said a large number of plants survived the winter, a good indication it will be a good year for blueberries.

Jordan said now it’s up to the bees to pollinate this year’s crops.

"We just finished our blight forecasting and in that process we looked at a lot of fields and it appears that most of the blueberry fields have come through the winter really well, with very little winter damage, so we’re set up nicely for pollination in about a week or so," he said.

Many flowering plants require insects to transfer pollen — which contain sperm cells — to the female part of a flower in order to produce seeds, which are often enclosed in a fruit.

Blueberry harvesting is a growing industry on P.E.I. with more than 2,400 hectares devoted to blueberry production.

Jordan said it's too early to tell whether the strawberry plants fared as well.