In recent years, demand for blueberries has bloomed as consumers have become increasingly aware of the fruit’s oh-so-sweet health perks. Increasing consumer demand has called for an expansion of blueberry production – an expansion that doesn’t come without a challenge. Growing conditions have to be just right to cultivate blueberries. Wintertime freeze damage is the biggest growth-stunting culprit.
A popular technology is gaining ground to protect Florida’s $80 million blueberry crop, shield the plants against hard freezes, and promote earlier fruit ripening: High Tunnel Technology.
Both farmers and researchers claim that, if introduced early to the market, this technology will bear fruit (literally!) by delivering enhanced berry quality, greater early yields, and higher prices. What’s more, high tunnels may increase air and soil temperatures and protect plants against wind and rain damage, leading to improved flowering and better fruit yields. Lastly, high tunnels reduce the need for other freeze protection methods.
In Florida, high tunnels and other protective structures make up about 250 acres of production, mostly for high-value crops including blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes, and bell peppers. One Florida blueberry grower has planted 80 acres of blueberries under high tunnels on his farm and has found, with the right varieties, he can double his yields, harvest earlier, and utilize water more efficiently for freeze protection. Sounds promising!
Whether you want to revitalize your current blueberry plantings, increase your blueberry acreage, expand blueberry production and diversification efforts, lower risk and significantly increase profit potential, or implement protective structures and techniques such as high tunnels, we have a farm loan for you! Our AgAmerica farm loans include interest rates that often trump all other agriculture loan programs.
To learn more about these ag loan types, contact us!