Welcome to the first berry bulletin of the 2021 season!


Strawberries: It has already been an interesting season with warm temperatures in March moving strawberries 7-10 days early followed by snow and freezing temperatures this week. June-bearing strawberries under row covers have buds extending from the crown and even bloom in some areas. Over-wintered day-neutrals are in bloom. Planting is beginning for day-neutral strawberries.

Growers were using row covers and irrigation for frost protection this week. Right now it looks like Sunday night could see more cool temperatures (-1 to -2C) so keep an eye on the forecast. For a quick review of frost protection options and critical temperatures see this blog post:  Frost Protection for Strawberries.

Aphids: We are starting to see aphids in strawberry fields- prepare to apply an aphid spray once row covers are off or once you see aphids in your field. Check for strawberry aphids on the underside of young, folded leaves.  Cygon, Lagon, Exirel, Beleaf and group 4s can be applied at this timing to control aphids. Aphid control is very important to manage viruses. Viruses are still an issue and maintaining regular aphid management is critical. Monitor aphid populations and plan to spray regularly for aphids this season.

Cyclamen mite: Keep an eye on your plants as they start to grow more quickly, especially when you take row covers off. Any cyclamen mite damage will become more apparent with variation in growth, as damaged plants will be stunted with crinkled, toughened leaves. Agri-mek and Vegol Crop Oil can be applied to control these mites. Agri-mek works best on cyclamen mite when plants are succulent and actively growing. Agri-mek needs to be applied with a non-ionic surfactant so be careful about using Captan, Maestro or Bravo in close timing to an Agri-mek spray.  Beneficial mites may also provide some control. Avoid using group 3 products if you have a history of cyclamen mite problems, as group 3s are hard on natural predators.

Disease: Bravo or Echo can be applied at this time for botrytis control to reduce disease inoculum and help with disease management later in the season. Make sure to get these applications on before bloom with the 30-day PHI.


Blueberries: are looking good coming through the winter. Blueberries are at bud swell to bud burst.

Mummy berry: Blueberries can be infected with mummy berry shoot blight at the bud burst stage. Control for mummy berry beginning at bud swell through early bloom if there is a history of mummy berry on your farm. Mummy berry infections occur after 6 hours of rain or more depending on temperature.  See the fungicide options in Publication 360B-Berries on page 39.

Use fungicides from different groups to control cane diseases such as phomopsis and anthracnose twig blight. Once bloom arrives, use fungicides that control both anthracnose and botrytis.           


Raspberries: Are also looking good at this point, and are at bud break. Ferbam and Tanos can be used for early season disease control. For raspberry crown borer control Diazinon can be used when new growth is 10cm above the gound. Only 1 application per year is permitted.


2021 Publication 75B: Guide to Weed Control Hort Crops is available free online on the OMAFRA website: Publication 75B, Guide to Weed Control: Hort Crops. (URL: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/pub75/pub75B/pub75Btoc.htm ).

Funding Opportunities

Enhanced Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program (EAWPP) Intake opened on April 22, 2021 for the new $10 million EAWPP to help farmers and agri-food operators purchase personal protective equipment, enhance cleaning and disinfection and redesign workstations to better protect workers.  The funding will help farmers who experience unexpected costs as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak among on-farm employees.

  • Farms and agri-food businesses that hire three or more employees will be eligible for funding.
  • Additional businesses and workers are eligible including corn detasselers, transporters, hatcheries, and primary processing.

Funding is available through the following categories:

  1. The Workplace COVID-19 Prevention category will support the adoption of prevention and mitigation measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 among agri-food workers/employees.
  2. The Responsive COVID-19 Outbreak Management category will reimburse eligible applicants who have been impacted by outbreaks of COVID-19 and faced with extraordinary costs related to employee wage supports and worker/employee isolation.

Eligible expenses include PPE, physical distancing measures, medical equipment, accomodations, transportation, translation services and more. Click here for more information.

The Agri-tech Innovation Program is a new $22-million cost-share program that will help farming operations and processor businesses adopt innovative and new technologies. This intake will support implementation of sector-specific, unique and innovative technologies in the workplace that enhance protection of workers against COVID-19, lead to increased business efficiencies and productivity, and help build the sector’s resilience. The first intake will run from May 17 to June 21, 2021. Watch for detailed program information and application forms.   

Berry & Apple Pick-Your-Own 2021 Round Table

Join us for a round table discussion on operating pick-your-own this season. This Zoom meeting will include an overview of the guidelines as well as a round table discussion with growers and staff. After changing the way growers operate pick-your-own in 2020, this meeting is a chance to talk about what worked and what didn’t, ask questions, and share your experiences to prepare growers for a successful and safe 2021 season. This round table is open for growers and staff of pick-your-own operations. Please feel free to send questions before the round table to Erica Pate (erica.pate@ontario.ca) regarding berry operations or Erika DeBrouwer (erika.debrouwer@ontario.ca) regarding apple operations for them to be addressed during the call.

When: May 18, 2021, 7:00 PM. Registration is required. Please register in advance here:  https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYrd–urTkvEt3j3kfBZ313efx5gQZX1zi1

Strawberry and Raspberry IPM workshop webinar

May 11th, 9:00-11:00am, via Zoom.  This workshop will cover strawberry and raspberry pests, including spotted wing drosophila, thrips, cyclamen mites, and aphids. Check out the pre-recorded videos which provide an introduction to berry production systems, strawberry diseases and viruses, and root pests: ONhortcrops YouTube Channel (URL: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJr20gvrwcOzO-Xr20OAu3A). These videos are available now. Videos from other OMAFRA specialists are also available on this channel. Pre-registration is required for the Webinar: Click here to register

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Check the ONfruit blog (URL: onfruit.ca) or the ONvegetables blog (URL: onvegetables.com) for other workshops, including Intro to IPM, Apple, Tender Fruit, Grape, Tomatoes & Peppers, Sweet Corn and Cucurbit IPM workshops.

New Products

New Products have been registered for berry growers since last season. For a list of new products see the attached pdf:

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