Tweedie is the owner of M&S Blueberries in Kouchibouguac, in the Canadian province of New Brunswick in the eastern part of the country. Murray cultivates wild blueberries on an area covering more than 200 hectares. In 2016, the production area for this crop will be expanded by an additional 40 hectares.
The harvested product is sold fresh, frozen, or in the form of juices, jams, cakes, etc. The pollination takes place from mid-May to mid-June. The average daytime temperature is then 19°C. Up until 2005, Tweedie worked with honeybees. However, the deliveries were unreliable, and the quality was variable. Tweedie started using bumblebees supplied by Koppert, in addition to leafcutter bees and honeybees supplied by local beekeepers. In 2009, he stopped using leafcutter bees and continued with an increased amount of Quads in combination with honeybees.
Also active in bad weatherInitially there were problems with transporting the bumblebees. As the Quads were also frequently destroyed by black bears, higher production levels were not immediately possible. These problems were resolved in cooperation with Koppert. The entrepreneur states that the Quads are simple to install and easy to move. 'In contrast with other pollinators, the bumblebees also do their work in wet, cold, and windy conditions. With the damp, continental climate that reigns here, that is a major advantage.'
Production greatly increasedMurray Tweedie has seen production levels rise strongly since 2005. The two-year average then amounted to 1,730 kg per hectare. In 2009, this had risen to 2,825 kg per hectare, and in 2013 the two-year average was 5,060 kg per hectare, with an average yield in 2013 itself of 5,900 kg per hectare. For him, it is clear that the Koppert bumblebees are an important factor in this production success. Moreover, his buyers regularly praise the quality of his blueberries. 'High-quality pollination results in high-quality blueberries,' he says. Bumblebees are always available 'Bumblebees were a new thing for me; and bumblebees in a field of blueberries were something new for Koppert too,' says Tweedie. 'It meant a learning process for both parties, but the investment in that process is certainly paying for itself.'
The Canadian grower is very satisfied with the efforts and guidance provided by Koppert Canada. 'Absolutely!' he says. 'Great progress has been made in the yields and the quality of the fruit. I always end up with a high-quality product. If you order in good time, Koppert always has bumblebees available. They always deliver on time. Moreover, the bumblebees set to work straight away once the hives have been put in position, and they also work during inclement weather, while other pollinators do not. In a less than ideal pollination season, that is a major advantage. Koppert's bumblebees are, therefore, the best that the market has to offer.'
For more information
Koppert B.V. The Netherlands
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