03 May 2020

HOW MUCH DOES AN OUT OF SOIL BLUEBERRY PLANT COST

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#4: FEBRUARY 2023

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#3: AUGUST 2022

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#2: FEBRUARY 2022

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DearFli

Sergio Panini works actively in the berries sector as producer, agro-technician, consultant, experimenter and salesman. In this exclusive interview, he tells Italian Berry about the path to investing in a new blueberries plant.

How did your passion for blueberries and berries come about?

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In 2011 I decided to start producing giant blueberries right in the heart of Italian wild blueberries production, namely in Fanano in the Modenese Apennines at 700 m above sea level. We now also produce other berries and have customers in the provinces of Modena and Bologna. But my favourite part is hosting anyone who wants to experience picking blueberries and raspberries directly in the field, enjoying them freshly picked on our farm in the middle of the mountains.

How does your consultancy work?

In recent years there has been growing interest among farmers in the cultivation of berries. As an agro-technician I have specialised in particular in blueberries. In collaboration with Martino Vivai di Pinerolo, I am following various farms in Abruzzi, Liguria, Piedmont and Campania, for a total of over 30 hectares of new plantings of blueberries

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How do you assist a manufacturer who wants to invest in a new plant?

The consulting service starts from advising the best agronomic practices, the business plan, the choice of the best varieties, to arrive at a product sales program in Italy and abroad.

What are the most interesting varieties of blueberries for a producer who is interested in starting this crop?

Currently we can suggest varieties such as Duke, always interesting for the precocity, but also Draper, well received in the UK as a premium variety, and Fall Creek innovations such as Top Shelf, Cargo, Blue Ribbon. We are also looking closely at varieties like Legacy, New Hannover, Ozark Blue.

What are the ideal soil and climate conditions for successfully growing blueberries?

While blueberry requires loose soil with good acidity, above-ground cultivation systems with potted plants are now also commonly adopted. This allows cultivation even when the soil does not have the necessary acidic pH characteristics and low active lime.

How much does a new installation at blueberry cost?


Planting blueberry in soil requires an initial investment of about €30-35,000 per hectare.

In one hectare we can normally plant 3,000 plants, in bayed and mulched rows, 3 meters apart, with plants one meter apart on the row.

Costs, between pruning, maintenance, technical assistance, mowing, harvesting, logistics, are around €3.20-€3.50/kg. So €38,400- 42,000 per hectare. The production of a plant starts from the second year of planting, reaching full production in the 4th-5th year.


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And where are the conditions for growing in soil?

An above ground installation costs about 10/15% more.

Are there any other expenses to consider?

It is also necessary to evaluate the investment in an anti-hail plant, which is increasingly necessary in many areas of Italy. This can be installed for both ground and above ground production and costs about € 20,000 per hectare.

We also consider € 1,000.00/year for advice and to be followed in all phases of cultivation. We also consider € 1.000,00 per lump sum for planning and business plan.

What are the expected yields per plant?

One plant yields about 4 kg per plant (even 5 kg depending on the case) at regime.

Are the sales prices profitable?

The price for direct sales on the local market is 6,00€/Kg per 12.000 Kg. So about 72.000€ per hectare in case of an above ground installation.

What is your harvest like this year at blueberries?

On the Antica Via Romea farm, where I work with my wife Anna, this year's harvest is expected to be very good, judging by the flowering that is currently taking place. The first variety on the calendar (Duke) will be ready from June and we expect to have blueberries up to September.

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Az. Agr. Antica Via Romea in Fanano (MO)

We anticipate that this year consumers will particularly appreciate the healthy properties and excellent shelf life of our blueberries, which can be eaten fresh on the farm or for more than a week at home, if properly stored in the fridge.

So we're waiting until we can get back on the road and come to the mountains to collect the blueberries?

Certainly, blueberries is a good aid to strengthen the immune system and overcome the Covid-19 emergency early. In particular, our blueberries, all of which are certified organic, are a perfect response to new consumer demands for healthy and environmentally friendly products.

But above all they are a sweet, tasty and aromatic fruit, ideal to be consumed on any occasion and throughout the day.

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#1: AUGUST 2021

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