Blueberries

blueberries-industryThe Australian Blueberry Growers’ Association represents the biosecurity interests of blueberry growers and the industry.  They are members of Plant Health Australia and are involved in:

  • biosecurity planning and implementation at the national and farm levels
  • liaising with federal and state governments on trade issues
  • funding and supporting biosecurity initiatives.

Industry overview

In 2018–19, blueberry production was valued at approximately $271 million (LVP), with fresh exports valued at $4.8 million.

The industry is expanding, with an average 19,008 tonnes of blueberries being produced per annum. Most blueberries are consumed domestically, with less than five per cent exported to markets including Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand. Around 300 growers produce blueberries on more than 2,500 hectares in all states.

The major production area is on the New South Wales north coast. New South Wales produced around 85 per cent of the Australian crop in 2019. Other regions have increased plantings to take advantage of late and early season fruit, with the aim of having Australian blueberries available all year-round.

The crop is grown on the New South Wales north coast and Tumbarumba in southern New South Wales; the Atherton Tablelands, Bundaberg and Mundubbera in Queensland; the Tamar Valley, Meander Valley, Bernie, Devonport and the Huon Valley in Tasmania; the Grampians, Silvan and Strathbogie in Victoria; Margaret River and Geraldton in Western Australia; and the Mount Lofty ranges in South Australia.

There are three varieties of blueberries grown in Australia: northern highbush, southern highbush and rabbiteye. Northern highbush are grown in the cooler climate areas such as Victoria, Tasmania and the southern highlands of New South Wales, whereas southern highbush and rabbiteye varieties are grown in New South Wales and Queensland.

Annual value of blueberry production, 2011–19

Distribution of blueberry production by state and territory, 2018–19 (based on LVP)

 

blueberry-ibp-coverBiosecurity planning provides a mechanism for the blueberry industry, government and other relevant stakeholders to assess current biosecurity practices and future biosecurity needs. Planning identifies procedures that can be put in place to reduce the chance of pests reaching our borders or minimise the impact if a pest incursion occurs.

The Biosecurity Plan for the Blueberry Industry outlines key threats to the industry, risk mitigation plans, identification and categorisation of exotic pests and contingency plans. For a copy, please contact PHA on 02 6215 7700 or email [email protected]

The Maximise your blueberry crop with better pollination brochure, produced by PHA working with Plant and Food Research NZ and Hort Innovation, brings together the science on best-practice for pollination in one place and provides clear steps for growers to assess their pollination during flowering to reduce the risk of pollination failure.

Many growers in Australia rely heavily on the free pollination services offered by wild or unmanaged European honey bees. But honey bees are not always the best pollinator for a crop.


Additional pollination information

Additional fact sheets and web links about the pollination of this crop are listed below. Please be aware that some of the information was developed overseas, and environmental and seasonal variations may occur.

Blueberry pollination fact sheet, The Pollination Program (AgriFutures Australia and Hort Innovation)

Honey bees and blueberry pollination, University of Maine

Invest in pollination for success with highbush blueberries, Michigan State University

Bee pollination benefits for blueberries, Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia

Reproductive growth and development of blueberry, University of Florida

Blueberry pollinators, North Carolina State University

Exotic pests (not in Australia)

The following is a list of high priority exotic pests of blueberries. These pests were identified during the development of the Biosecurity Plan for the Blueberry Industry in consultation with industry, government and scientists. They have been assessed as high priority pests based on their potential to enter, establish, and spread in Australia (eg environmental factors, host range, vectors) and the cost to industry of control measures.

PHA has a range of fact sheets, contingency plans and diagnostic protocols relevant to these pests. Pest risk review documents are also available for some pests. Please contact PHA on 02 6215 7700 or email [email protected] for more information.

Endorsed National Diagnostic Protocols are available from the National Plant Biosecurity Diagnostic Network webpage.

Common name Scientific name EPPRD Category Fact sheet Contingency plan Diagnostic protocol
Blueberry aphid Ericaphis fimbriata
Blueberry leaftier Croesia curvalana
Brown rot Monilinia fructigena 3 FS FS FS DP
Glassy-winged sharpshooter Homalodisca vitripennis FS FS FS FS FS FS FS CP CP DP
Mummy berry Monilinia vaccinii-corymbosi FS
Spotted wing drosophila Drosophila suzukii FS FS FS FS
Sudden oak death Phytophthora ramorum 1 FS FS FS CP DP
Xylella fastidiosa Xylella fastidiosa including X. fastidiosa subsp. multiplex and pauca 2 FS FS FS FS FS FS CP CPDP

Other pests

The following is a list of documents for other exotic and endemic pests of the blueberry industry. Please note that this is not a complete list of pests: rather it includes pests for which documents exist in the Pest Information Document Database.

Some of the documents presented here are not tailored to the blueberry industry and are included for information only.

Common name Scientific name EPPRD Category Fact sheet Contingency plan Diagnostic protocol
Blackline (Cherry leaf roll virus) Cherry leaf roll virus (Nepovirus) (exotic strains) 3
Brown-marmorated stink bug Halyomorpha halys FS FS FS CP
Brown headed leaf roller Ctenopseustis obliquana and Ctenopseustis herang FS
Florida flower thrips Frankliniella bispinosa FS
Gypsy moths Lymantria dispar and Lymantria mathura FS FS FS CP
Plum curculio Conotrachelus nenuphar 2 FS FS
Tomato ringspot virus Tomato ringspot virus (Nepovirus) FS