Birds devour 1,400 kg of blueberries at an Asturian farm
This year, producers Jose Luis, Samuel, and Rodrigo Moran, who have been cultivating blueberries in Tellego, Asturias, since 2013, have faced challenges they never imagined they would face. Apart from the complications deriving from the coronavirus crisis, birds have reduced the harvest of one of their plantations from 2,100 to 700 kilos. "We've had birds cause damages in other years, but nothing like this," Moran stated.
These producers were already coming off another difficult year. In 2019, the Asian wasp ravaged nearly 1,000 kilos of blueberries from their Moran Berries company. "We were controlling them with traps," Samuel said. At first, they tried controlling the birds with a system that reproduced hawk songs. That didn't work. Neither did a hawk-shaped kite. They had better results with the installation of a cylinder that reproduced loud noises, similar to a gunshot. However, it was very annoying for the neighbors so the company removed it from the fields.
"Most of the blueberries that the birds ate were of the Duke variety. Those are our most valuable blueberries, the most appreciated by buyers," he said. Moran Berries also grows Centra Blue, Aurora, Ochockonee, Chandler, Liberty, and Legacy blueberries. All varieties are organic and have licenses. Until now, the Principality's intervention has been limited to a technical visit to the area in which technicians determined that the birds that ate the fruits were specimens of the thrush and common thrush. "If they do not want the rural world to disappear, they will have to help those of us who are fighting to preserve it," Moran said.
The attack of the birds will have a strong toll on the company's balance at the end of a year in which production has also been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and can also be affected by other unforeseen events. The company lost 1,400 kilos of blueberries that had a retail price of 8 euro per kilo. In addition, the workers lost several paydays, as they could not harvest the fields which were full of birds. Source: lne.es