Despite cool conditions, Saskatchewan commercial fruit production positive in 2019

2019 was a mixed bag for Saskatchewan’s commercial fruit and berry growers.

Some endured weather challengers, while others did very well.

“Saskatoon berries had one of the best years that I’ve ever seen,” said Forrest Scharf, provincial specialist, fruits crops at Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture. “There were really large fruit, even the native wild stands did very well.”

The plants can handle the cold for long periods, which can reduce both insect and disease pressure.

It was a different story for domestic fruit varieties.

“It was one of the coldest Februaries in over 100 years. That was challenging for things like the dwarf sour cherries and apples. Even raspberries had tip kill. They kind of recovered and did okay by the end of year, but initially they were set back a bit.”

Strawberries usually last into September, but colder temperatures impacted those yields as well.

Scharf says areas with additional heat units did better, such as the southwest and around Outlook. There was also an area south of Prince Albert that didn’t get as many rains later in the growing season.

There are more than 200 active fruit and berry growers in our province. Some operate U-Pick operations, while others grow to make jams and jellies or sell at farmers’ markets.


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