Saskatoons - Diversifying

Horticultural Crops


Saskatoons - Diversifying

Feb 18, 2002 | 16:50 1 We have a sheltered one acre piece on the farm and have been thinking about Saskatoons. We are not looking for commercial production off the piece but thought it may be good use of a small piece that is otherwise sitting idle.

The literature suggests very productive yields by year 4. Anyone have direct experience here? We want to make sure we plan accordingly as to when the crop production really does take off.

Thanks! Reply With Quote
Feb 19, 2002 | 12:07 2 Saskatoons represent a great potential and a great tool for farm diversification. Full production potential is reached in year 4 or 5.
I am curious to know what province you are from.
Good luck!!! Reply With Quote
Feb 20, 2002 | 12:59 3 We are farming in Manitoba. I've been checking out websites and government information. However, nothing states about the quantity of the early years production. We used to have an apple orchard in Ontario and the trees started producing 2 years ahead of when "production" was stated to start - I realize they are quoting substantial production. However, the early years provide an excellent opportunity to plan and try some early marketing.

We like the look of Saskatoons and we have a local bee farmer interested in having his bees in our orchard. Anyway, I would love to find out about the early years. Reply With Quote
Feb 21, 2002 | 10:14 4 Although Saskatoons are a relatively minor crop here in Nova Scotia we have had some experience that I think is of value, if you expect to achieve productive yields by year 4. We have had growers achieve good production as early as year 3 and we have growers that still have not achieved acceptable levels ten years after transplanting. The key factor seems to be whether or not good weed control was maintained, particularly in the establishment years. Keep in mind that the transplants are quite small and are quickly suppressed and out-competed by weeds if the latter are not controlled. The next thing you know you have missing plants and the ones that remain never seem to achieve the vigour and growth they would have had if they had gotten off to a better start.

So, how do you ensure good weed control? I would encourage you to properly prepare the site by using a non-residual herbicide like glyphosate (Round-up, etc) prior to tillage to eliminate perennial weeds such as quackgrass. Following transplanting you should be vigilant in maintaining good weed control. As residual herbicides are not generally recommended until the orchard is well-established this means manual weed control is required, or alternatives such as plastic mulch, or use of organic mulches like sawdust. If first and second year growth is good you may be able to use a low rate of Casoron in the fall of the second year.

Other factors you should pay careful attention to are soil moisture and fertility. I would encourage you to soil test your site and obtain suitable recommendations for fertility amendments both prior to and subsequent to transplanting. Also, Saskatoons are quite susceptible to transplant shock and although some root growth should be expected in the first season, significant shoot growth normally does not occur until the second season. Finally, well-drained soils are required for good Saskatoon production but it is equally important that adequate soil moisture is maintained during the growing season. With adequate fertility, soil moisture and weed control in place you will be well on your way to excellent production as early as year 4.

I hope this is helpful. Reply With Quote
Feb 23, 2002 | 19:20 5 Yes, this helps - thanks!

The land is well drained and we have a water source nearby if we need to irrigate (especially in the beginning). I plan on getting the soil tested this spring.

Our big concern at this point is protecting the seedlings from the deer in the area. Any deterents that anyone knows of? Reply With Quote
Feb 24, 2002 | 23:53 6 I suggest you find a local grower and talk about blight and how to capitalize on the growing season. The nasty blight can turn a crop of berries into rock hard little walnuts in no time at all. Mb. is great for skatoons but also as a result great for skatoon diseases! Reply With Quote
Feb 25, 2002 | 07:16 7 Our growers tend to use a single wire electric fence baited with peanut butter wrapped in tin foil and attached to the wire so that when the deer ginderly stick its tongue out for a lick - zapp! This obviously isn't the most humane deterent although apparently there is no long-term negative effects on the deer. I have also heard of placing soap bars around the periphery of the field. The odor tends to repel the deer. Other commercial deterents can be reviewed at Reply With Quote
Feb 25, 2002 | 13:48 8 a shotgun works well! Reply With Quote
Feb 25, 2002 | 16:12 9 Thanks everyone!

There are two local producers but both small operations as well. Both are spraying when necessary and the local Ag office has provided me with some good info here.

The peanut butter in tinfoil sounds like a good one. No long term effects to the deer and less trouble than other baits. One to keep in mind. Ssshhh cowman, we wouldn't want the environmentalists knowing about that one! LOL! Reply With Quote
Mar 28, 2002 | 22:52 10 I have heard that hanging orange peels on the trees or spraying them with one of these new "orange" cleaning products is a very effective deterent for deer. Reply With Quote
Apr 6, 2002 | 23:27 11 Jensco, I've dug up some saskatoon sites for you that I hope may be of some use.

Saskatoon Production in Manitoba - Manitoba Agriculture

Commercial Saskatoon Berry Production

Saskatoons (scientific name)

Canadian Journal Plant Science Reply With Quote
Apr 11, 2002 | 18:37 12 The following article came from the Functional Food net out of Guelph University.

April 11, 2002
The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon)
A1 / Front
Joanne Paulson
According to this story, a recent study performed by Dr. David Kitts at the
University of British Columbia showed that Saskatoon berries contains
antioxidants, known to protect against certain diseases.
The story says that studies have already proved that the colour components
in many fruits and vegetables have antioxidants. Now, you can add saskatoons
-- specifically, the Smokey and Thiessen varieties -- to that list.
The three-year study by Kitts shows saskatoons are comparable in antioxidant
activity to blueberries, blackberries and grape seed extract. Saskatchewan's
Agriculture Development Fund and Riverbend Plantation Inc. supported the
Kelley Fitzpatrick, president of the Saskatchewan Nutraceutical Network, was
cited as saying she sees the study as a potential springboard for further
developing a value-added saskatoon berry industry, adding, "I've always
believed, since the first day I walked into this network, we're not
capitalizing enough on the berry industry, and especially on saskatoons. We
figured that there would probably be something equivalent to blueberries or
raspberries or cranberries, but we didn't know the extent. Now we do. Now
the next step is how do we process these saskatoons to get them into
nutraceuticals, get them into other functional food ingredients. It's an
area of real interest to the industry."
Fitzpatrick was further cited as saying that to take these findings to the
next step, which is essentially processing, there must be funding from both
industry and government, adding, "The most feasible process, which would be
the easiest to implement at this time, is drying of the berry to be able to
incorporate it into energy bars. It's something different. You're adding
colour component, you can play upon the whole nutrition aspect, they're
flavourful, and the industry is looking for new ingredients."
Creating extracts from saskatoons to go into food supplements, would be a
second step, she said. Reply With Quote
May 17, 2002 | 13:53 13 Thanks for all the great info everyone. We've been checking it all out when we get a chance around all the other farming chores.

Looks like we will be spending a good portion of this year prepping for a new crop. Reply With Quote