British Columbia’s hazelnut growers are kickstarting their industry once again, after eastern filbert blight (EFB) devastated orchards in the Fraser Valley in the last decade. Hopes have been rekindled after the BC ag minister Lana Popham announced $300,000 in replant funding over three years.
The July 16 announcement was welcomed by Walter Esau, a member of the board of directors for the BC Hazelnut Growers’ Association. The economic lifespan of a hazelnut tree is 50 years, however it takes three years to establish and reaches 50 per cent of potential production at five to six years of age. It takes a decade to reach full production. Fortunately, new EFB-resistant varieties such as Yamhill, Jefferson and Sacajawea are now available. The funding is contingent on using Oregon State University’s EFB-resistant varieties developed by professor Shawn Mehlenbacher.
The first application deadline is August 31 for removing diseased orchards or planting new ones before year’s end. It’s unlikely many growers will have reserved enough nursery stock from the province’s three propagators. They must have five acres to be eligible. That means the association will be providing lots of context at their fall field day in Chilliwack on September 22. Additional information and a new production guide are available at its new website: www.bchga.ca.