Swinging spring temperatures and summer storms wreaked havoc on Saskatchewan’s fruit crop season.

“In some instances, like black currant and haskap berries, they lost 50 per cent of their crop,” said Forrest Scharf, a provincial fruit crop specialist.

According to Scharf, the problems began even before the fluctuating Spring weather. Mild temperatures last winter brought a new disease to the area: brownrot. Traditionally, brownrot is more of a problem in Ontario and Michigan than the prairies.

“Over the last few years with the added moisture we’ve had our conditions here more like Michigan and Ontario so we are starting to see those diseases here,” Scharf said.

Despite the setbacks, the Saskatchewan Fruit Growers Association was able to strengthen the position of the province’s fruit growers. Through negotiations with the provincial government, they were able to set up crop insurance for some fruit crops.

The new insurance covers haskap, sour cherries, and Saskatoon berries.

In the future, the organization hopes the insurance will cover all fruit crops grown in Saskatchewan.

“We’re getting a lot of young people who are coming from different sectors who are really excited about it,” said Wayne Pearson, president of the Saskatchewan Fruit Growers Association.

As long as producers take the appropriate precautions against disease, the province said there should be good yields next season.