Yarborough speaks with media about modest blueberry crop

David Yarborough, a professor in the School of Food and Agriculture and wild blueberry specialist with Cooperative Extension, spoke with the Associated Press, Maine Public and Ellsworth American about Maine’s wild blueberry crop. The AP reported the crop is likely to be much smaller this year than in recent summers because the industry is contending with troubles such as disease and a lack of pollination.  Yarborough said “mummy berry” disease and other factors could cut the crop as much as 36 percent this summer, according to the AP. “I do expect to see significant reduction in harvest compared to the last few years,” Yarborough said. “And it’s probably going to end a little earlier than typical.” One contributing factor is that many farmers brought fewer bees in the spring to pollinate their fields, Yarborough told the Ellsworth American. He said bees can be one of the largest operating costs, so farmers cut back to help ensure they would make money this season. Yarborough said overall, the number of hives ordered by farmers has decreased from 77,000 two years ago to 22,000 this year. ABC NewsBoston HeraldWABI (Channel 5) and Observer-Reporter carried the AP report.