Heavy frost damage reported in vineyards, blueberry industries

Reports of frost damage continue to roll in from different industries in Nova Scotia, this time from the Wild Blueberry Producers Association of Nova Scotia.

Executive Director Peter Rideout says heavy frost Sunday night and early Monday caused major damage to this year's crop; just as fields in northern Nova Scotia were approaching the critical full bloom stage.

Nearly two-thirds of the province's wild blueberry land is located in Cumberland and Colchester counties.

Rideout says an immediate concern is the potential for a serious infection of botrytis blight on the frost-damaged plant tissues, which could wipe out any viable blossoms that might remain.

Making matter worse, he says this damage comes as the industry was seeing reasons for optimism in the market outlook this year following two years of low prices and financial hardship for producers.

A severe spring frost in Nova Scotia has many vineyards reporting various levels of damage, from minimal to complete devastation.

Temperatures in the Annapolis Valley fell to below zero Celsius on Sunday night and early Monday from the high 20s on Friday, leading to a potentially devastating loss of grape crops.

Benjamin Bridge vineyards founder Gerry McConnell, who is also vice-chairman of the Winery Association of Nova Scotia, says many of the province's roughly 15 vineyards have been affected.

He says it will be several weeks before a proper estimate of the damage can be made.

(With files from The Canadian Press)