Lakehead researchers study blueberry crop

A team of researchers from Lakehead University is spending the summer studying where blueberry crops grow best and the impact of climate and soil conditions.

Team spending summer researching blueberry growth

Lakehead University researchers collecting blueberries. (Lakehead University)

 A team from Lakehead University is spending the summer studying one of northwestern Ontario`s natural crops.  Researchers will be trying to discover where blueberries grow best.

Saiful Khan is a Ph.D student at Lakehead working on the study .He said the team will look at the natural habitat for the berries and analyze how long a patch will produce for. "We have developed a model to see where blueberries grow in terms of yield while maintaining quality," he said, "so we are actually testing that model by going into areas we haven`t been in."

Besides predicting where crops will flourish, the research will also focus on the impact of climate on blueberry growth, Khan explained. "We are looking very detailed into the relationship between cold and precipitation," adding that researchers already know that soil drainage and shade are key factors.

As part of the project, the Lakehead team will share their work with the public, setting up booths at fairs and special events. Khan said they hope the research will be able to answer the questions every blueberry picker has. "They obviously ask about where to go and.when to go."

Khan will be on hand to talk about his blueberry findings at the Nipigon Blueberry Blast festival on the August long weekend.

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