Wild Blueberry Newsletter, September 2019

Wild Blueberry Newsletter header graphic, text and a photo of blueberries and leaves

September 2019

Fresh Pack Quality Management

There is a need for more research-based education on fresh pack post-harvest quality so we are Blueberriescompiling a factsheet on the topic. Forced air cooling is one easy way to cool down your berries which reduces moisture on the berries, extending shelf-life. Setting up air flow vertically across container stacks is much more effective than horizontal air movement. Learn more about how to set up forced air cooling from my colleague Chris Callahan at the University of Vermont here, Forced Air Cooling:Field Trial Results.

Crop Insurance Deadline: November 20, 2019

The deadline to enroll, cancel, or modify an existing blueberry crop insurance policy is November 20, 2019 for the 2020 crop year. Blueberry crop insurance protects a producer’s average crop yields from weather-related issues causing yield loss such as excessive moisture resulting in bad pollination, cold springs, drought, etc. Producers can choose to insure their blueberry crop at a catastrophic level (CAT) which protects 50% of their average crop yield and pays at 55% of the price election at a loss; or, at higher coverage levels called “buy-up” which protects 50 to 75% of their average yield at 100% of the price election. The 2020 price elections are $0.50 per lb. ($0.28 for CAT) and $1.43 per lb. ($0.79 for CAT) for conventional and organic blueberries, respectively. Price elections are set by the USDA Risk Management Agency and are based on National Agricultural Service Statistic (NASS) prices from prior years.

Important Change to Catastrophic Level Coverage

One big change that occurred through the 2018 Farm Bill is that the administrative fee for CAT level coverage increased from $300 to $655 per crop per county.  This price increase means that producers should speak with their crop insurance agent prior to November 20th about an updated premium quote because under some circumstances it may be more cost effective to purchase buy-up coverage than CAT.

A Perspective From the Field

Visit the UMaine Crop Insurance Education website to view a short video about crop insurance on Sunkhaze Wild Blueberry Farm.

More Details

Crop Insurance Agents serving Maine can be found by using the Agent Locator tool. For questions contact Crop Insurance Education Program Manager, Erin Roche, 207.949.2490 or erin.roche@maine.edu.

Upcoming Events

Western Maine Wild Blueberry Growers Meeting
Tuesday, September 24, 2019
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Brad LaRoche’s Farm, 47 Cook Road, Otisfield, ME
Pesticide Credit: 1 Pesticide Credit

Downeast Natural Heritage Area (NHA) Summit
Wednesday, October 9th, 1-5 pm
Schoodic Institute, Winter Harbor, ME- Moore Auditorium
Registration: Interested participants should RSVP to Catherine Lookabaugh: clookabaugh@sunrisecounty.org

Recipe to Market: Is it for ME?
Tuesday, October 29, 2019
9:00 am – 12:00 pm
63 Boggy Brook Road, Ellsworth, ME
Recipe to Market: Is it for ME?

Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine Meeting
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
8:15 am
Hancock County Extension Office
63 Boggy Brook Road
Ellsworth, ME

UMaine Wild Blueberry Conference
Saturday, February 22, 2020 (snow date February 29)
Hollywood Slots Casino Hotel, Bangor, ME
Pre-registration will be required.


Lily Calderwood signature

Extension Wild Blueberry Specialist
University of Maine, Orono