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Blueberry | Southern Highbush

NSW blueberry growing regions will remain very highly suitable for production under a warmer climate.Blueberry production in NSW is focused on the north coast, with other growing regions spread across most of the state.

Blueberries in NSW

NSW production of blueberries has increased 240% over the past 5 years. Most blueberries are grown on the northern NSW coast, from Macksville to the Queensland border, where southern highbush (low chill) varieties dominate. The map shows NSW berry growing regions. Darker colours represent a higher number of berry plants of fruit bearing age.

The key blueberry phenophases assessed in this project are vegetative growth, floral bud initiation, floral budswell and burst, flowering, fruit development and maturity.

What is the NSW DPIRD Climate Vulnerability Assessment? ⏷

Climate change is altering the growing conditions for many agricultural commodities across NSW. Primary producers need evidence-based information about the changing climate, and the risks and opportunities it may bring.

The NSW DPIRD Climate Vulnerability Assessments are enhancing the resilience of our primary industries by providing information and data to help the sector better plan for, and respond to, climate change. They have assessed climate change impacts for extensive livestock, broadacre and irrigated cropping, marine fisheries, forestry, horticulture and viticulture, and important biosecurity risks associated with these industries to inform sound planning, risk management and adaptation decisions.

Learn more about the Climate Vulnerability Assessment.

How we assessed climate suitability ⏷

Climate projections were sourced from Climate Change in Australia’s ‘Application Ready Data’. This dataset is comprised of projections from an ensemble of 8 global climate models, each presenting a plausible future climate. The models differ in their projections, giving rise to uncertainty which is reflected in the confidence statements given in brackets. Care should be taken when interpreting these results.

The Climate Vulnerability Assessment is intended to highlight potential industry- or regional-level changes. Intermediate and high emissions scenarios were used in the assessments (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5), but these are not the only future scenarios possible. The inclusion of climate variables important to the commodities production was based on published research, expert knowledge and data quality and availability.

Learn more in the Climate Vulnerability Assessment Project Framework.

Climate impacts: what to expect

All southern highbush blueberry growing regions in NSW are expected to continue to have very high climate suitability for growing blueberries by 2050 under both emissions scenarios.

Blueberry vulnerabilities

  • Irrigation water requirements are likely to increase for blueberry growing regions in the future (moderate to low confidence). The increase is likely to be greatest under the high emissions scenario.

Blueberry opportunities

  • The number of days with temperatures below –3°C is likely to decrease during the flowering and fruit development and maturity phenophases (high confidence). This is likely to moderately increase suitability west of Tabulam and Bucca (high confidence). A warmer climate during these phenophases is likely to benefit blueberry production through the reduced risk of frost.
  • All growing regions are likely to remain highly suitable for all blueberry phenophases (high-moderate confidence).

Adapting to the changing climate

Adapting to increased irrigation water requirements

  • The blueberry industry may need to improve water efficiency through changing irrigation practices, upgrading water infrastructure or adopting new technologies.

Where can I find the climate suitability maps?

Maps of historical and future climate suitability for horticultural commodities were produced to demonstrate where in the state a commodity is likely to thrive or else be limited by future climatic conditions. The maps are not provided on these webpages but can be found in the Climate Vulnerability Assessment Summary Report (PDF, 41425.92 KB).

Blueberry Factsheet

(PDF, 797.35 KB)

Summary Report

(PDF, 41425.92 KB)

Related Climate Vulnerability Assessments

Contact us

For more information please email: vulnerability.assessment@dpi.nsw.gov.au