Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Wisconsin cranberry crop looks good
The cranberry crop looks good in Wisconsin. Tod Planer with the Wisconsin Cranberry Growers Association says the crop actually got a slow start due to the cold weather earlier this year but once it broke dormancy, it caught-up quickly. “We’re just coming out of bloom, the potential looks really good,” says Planer, “I think we’ve got a real good potential for a good crop this year.”Weeds are always a problem for cranberry growers but Planer says a couple of new herbicides have come on the market this year to help out. They did loose another product to help in the fight against insects but, “Our cold weather and our icing our plants tend to reduce insect problems compared to the East and West Coasts.” Cranberry growers have lost a number of pesticides over the past few years as companies did not sell enough of those products to justify the financial investment for recertification. Growers chipped-in to help pay for some of the recertification.The cranberry market has evolved substantially over the past few years. The industry was plagued by oversupply a few years ago but a combination of producer effort and government programs worked that surplus down. In fact, growers are now looking at pushing production a little higher in the next decade. “We may see some increase per acre in yield, we may see some additional acreage going in, probably not the massive push we saw in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but I think it’s an upward trend right now,” says Planer. Part of that production increase will come from newer, higher yielding varieties being put in beds.In fact, Planer is quite optimistic about the future of the Wisconsin cranberry industry. The Badger State is already the nation’s top producer and he sees that position solidifying as high land prices and development push more acres in Massachusetts out of production. Ocean Spray, the major player in the industry, is expanding the former Northland Cranberries juice processing facility in Wisconsin Rapids, Planer says that is a major “Shot-in-the-arm,” for the Wisconsin industry. He also predicts strong growth in the dried cranberry demand.Source: brownfieldnetwork.com

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