PEI

Frosty forecast worries P.E.I. strawberry farmers

P.E.I. strawberry growers are keeping a close eye on the weather, wondering if a frost warning for Monday night will hurt this year's crop.

P.E.I. strawberry growers are keeping a close eye on the weather, wondering if a frost warning for Monday night will hurt this year’s crop.

The crops have developed early this year. Chris Jordan, the berry crop development officer for the P.E.I. Department of Agriculture, estimates the berries could be a week to 10 days ahead of schedule.

He said the strawberries look strong this year, but some of that could be erased if the frost moves in.

"People are concerned for sure," he said. "If we have a late frost, that means the crop is at a stage where the blossoms are out. And those blossoms are very susceptible to frost injury. So if we have a late frost like we expect tonight, that has potentially a big impact on the yield going forward."

Jordan said growers are taking measures to try to protect the crops from the late frost, such as using irrigation systems or frost guard, which increases the temperature around the crop.

Jordan said if there is frost damage Monday night, it likely won’t appear on the crops for another week.

He said if the berries are unharmed, they should be ready to pick by the end of the second week of June.

Jordan said blueberries are also about two weeks early this year.

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