>> Fall 2015
>> Spring 2015
>> Fall 2014
>> Spring 2014
>> Fall 2013
>> Spring 2012
>> Fall 2011
>> Spring 2011

field day

Yields, Quality Vary Widely in the 2015 Crop

From 15 to 20 percent down to better than average, Oregon growers reported blueberry yields across the board in 2015. One thing was consistent though -as Tualatin Valley grower Jay Hoffman put it, “You’re not going to buy any farms on the blueberry crop this year.”

Hoffman said he was “just trying to maintain” in a harvest season that saw his yields down 15 to 20 percent.

“Quality was good,” Hoffman said. “We haven’t had any issues with quality. But we didn’t get the size or the yield we should have because of the heat.”

Will Unger of Unger Farms in Hillsboro, conversely, said his yields and fruit quality were good.

“Our crop came off really well,” Unger said. “We were short on pickers, so we got behind on picking. But as far as the volume of fruit and the quality, I’d say this year was good.

“We had some problems last year, so compared to last year, it went really well,” he said.

Doug Krahmer of Berries Northwest, also reported yields up slightly from a year ago, but said the heat hurt his quality.

“The heat definitely hurt the quality,” Krahmer said. “I had softer fruit, more wrinkled fruit. We fought quality issues all season long.”

Hardest hit among his varieties was Reka.

“It over-fruited,” he said. “It set such a heavy load that it had a hard time supporting that volume on the plant. We had smaller fruit, and then they’d ripen about half way and just hang out there, half ripe. And we’d wait and we’d wait and it would never change. And we’d finally pick the fruit and then we’d have thirty percent redbacks.”

Also, Krahmer said, in addition to pushing forward the start of harvest by about two weeks, the heat tended to shrink the interval between varieties.

“Usually you have some time between Draper and Liberty, for example. This year we had none,” he said.

Growers reported heavy spotted wing drosophila pressure early in the season, but said pressure eased when temperatures rose.

“The heat did make a dent in it,” Krahmer said. “Early in the year, we thought it was going to be really bad, but because of the heat, there were a lot of flies around, but they weren’t as difficult to keep at bay.”

Because pressure was high early, however, growers said they ramped up treatments earlier than usual.

“Typically, early season we spread our treatments out ten to fourteen days,” Krahmer said. “This year we were already at seven to ten days in early season, and during the peak, we were basically in there every seven days.

“Every week, we were going through treating everything,” he said.

“It was a challenging season,” Krahmer said. “But you never have two seasons that are very similar. You just don’t know what it will be until you get there.”

Hoffman summarized the year as “decent,” with a caveat.

“As a whole, it has been a decent year, other than the yields are off a bit,” he said.

As for prices, growers said that they dropped considerably when Canada came into the market, but rose in late season.

“For a while there, it was marginal, at best,” Hoffman said. “But late season, we’ve seen a little rebound. Will it make up for the twenty percent loss in yield? Probably not.”

“I’d say overall we had higher prices this year than last year,” Krahmer said. “Not significantly higher, but a little stronger, both for fresh, and, of course they haven’t set the freezer price yet, but they’re talking like it might be a little bit stronger.

“We didn’t hit the low-low (price), but it kind of came out just above break even and stayed there maybe a week longer than I thought it would have,” Krahmer said.

Yields, Quality Vary Widely in the 2015 Crop >>>

Outside of Korea, Oregon Blueberry Exports Down Substantially >>>

Weed Control Research in Blueberries a Good News, Bad News Scenario >>>

New Commissioner Has History of Industry Involvement >>>

Busy Year of Promotions >>>

Small Fruits Center Looking at Blueberry Breeder Position >>>

2015 Legislature Results a Mixed Bag >>>

Oregon Blueberry Conference >>>

Sponsorships for the Annual Blueberry Conference Available >>>