How to make a serious profit on blueberries

When the production is cleverly designed, you can make a lot of money from blueberries, as shown by the example from Šemšin near Mladenovac.

Ten years ago, Aleksandar Milić received numerous recognitions for his innovations in blueberry cultivation. Today, this host from Šemšin near Mladenovac is not “just an innovator” but also a successful planter who reaps profits instead of a plaque.

That the blueberry in Serbia is gaining more and more admirers among producers is no longer news. The trend has been around for a while and it doesn’t seem like it’s just a short-lived “hype”. First of all, there is an excellent purchase price, without much fluctuation from season to season that is present in some other agricultural crops, which whets the appetite of “new” fruit growers.

However, nature, i.e. man, made sure that everything was not dark, with climate changes that no one can ignore anymore. Unfavorable weather conditions, from hail to strong solar radiation that occurs already in May, can decimate the crop. Indoor cultivation is imposed as a logical solution.

Radmila Koprivica, fruit growing advisor of the Agricultural Expert Advisory Service of Belgrade, says that cultivation in a protected area is a relatively new method when it comes to blueberry cultivation.

– The advantages are not only protection from storms, but also that we get the goods out of season, so by the nature of things it is much more expensive than when everyone has it. Of course, this requires a much longer approach, and it is almost unthinkable without pots – explains Koprivica.

Aleksandar Milić has been aware of this for some time, and today he grows blueberries in greenhouses with an area of 1,000 square meters. His blueberries are in special pots with a volume of 25 liters, with a special Dutch substrate and installation for fertilization and irrigation. It has a classic greenhouse made of double foil that is inflated and has both frontal and side ventilation, but also a trial, double (Veronese), where the foil rises and falls.

– Constant temperature, the ratio of the sum of day and night temperatures, is achieved already in February and the plant has ideal conditions to “start”, much earlier than those outside – explains Aleksandar Milić, one of the pioneers of blueberry growing in the Mladenovac area.

Growing blueberries outdoors seems easier, “plant-water-pick”, but even there there are many limiting factors. The biggest problem is to find soil with the right acidity, plant the plants, and then protect them from hail and radiation.

Of course, pot production is not easy either.

– As for watering, you can water outside a couple of times a day, and when the temperatures are high, more often, but not as often as indoors. The pots are small, you have to constantly control the humidity, lighting, temperature and amount of food, everything happens quickly – notes Milić.

An experienced expert warns that many growers make a mistake when they first water the plant.

– After abundant watering, it doesn’t do anything for four hours, that is, it works only a small part of the roots until it drains. And that is not good for fertility, he has to work “all day”. Biljka is a top athlete who we have to keep constantly in training and in top condition – points out Milić.

With this kind of care, Milić obtains from his greenhouse the harvest of his Duke, Huron and Draper varieties, in the extra and premium class and in “early ripening”, seven to 20 days before the competition on the market. – The yield is, for example, 3.8 kilograms per bush on plants of the Draper variety, which are not yet fully mature and which, in terms of caliber and dry matter, belong to the extra and premium class.

– The yield is, for example, 3.8 kilograms per bush on plants of the Draper variety, which are not yet fully mature and which, in terms of caliber and dry matter, belong to the extra and premium class. In the case of huron, the yield is slightly lower, around three kilograms, but that is also a varietal characteristic – says Koprivica.

And finally, what interests growers and potential fruit growers is “mathematics”. When you do everything as the profession dictates, and plant 100 plants on one are, with real yields of four kilograms per bush, you get 4,000 kilograms of fruit. And the first class already costs five to six euros per kilogram.

– This area is enough for the decent income of an average family. Of course with family work and hiring workers only for harvesting or for some larger works – concludes Aleksandar Milić in the program “We have a solution” on the AgroTV channel.

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