Strawberry virus shortens season
A virus has ended the strawberry season early for some Island growers.
The virus is a hybrid, a combination of two previously known diseases, and is spread by aphids. It has caused serious problems in Nova Scotia, and struck eastern P.E.I. this year.
The virus doesn't harm the fruit that is produced, but infected plants are stressed and provide very low yields. Some farmers had to destroy plants to prevent further contamination.
Arny Nabuurs, president of the Strawberry Growers Association of P.E.I., said his yield was only 10 per cent of what it should have been. Nabuurs said the situation does not look like it will improve much in the near future.
"We're going to have to do some extra spraying to keep these aphids at bay, and these products are expensive," he said.
"I don't like using them any more than I have to. It's always going to add cost to your bottom line. So if costs go up then at some point it has to be transferred to the consumer."
Nabuurs said most of the infected fields were in eastern P.E.I., but growers in the west will have to vigilant next year.