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Expectations surge for cranberry harvest

Jeff Caldwell 08/15/2012 @ 3:26pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

The drought's been tough on a lot of crops this year. But despite it all, the cranberry crop's going to be a big one in WIsconsin this fall. That state looks to lead the nation in cranberry production for the 18th year in a row, according to a report this week from the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association (WSCGA).

Harvest for the crop looks to begin around mid-September or soon after, says WSCGA director Tom Lochner.

"Wisconsin continues to lead the nation in cranberry crop production, and this year growers expect another good crop," said Tom Lochner, executive director of WSCGA. "The warm and early spring kept growers on their toes identifying and managing pests, but the overall warm weather and a dry period when pollination was taking place contributed to a nice berry set and a good crop this year. We still have about six weeks to go until harvest begins, and a lot of things can happen in that time."

Though a large crop is expected this fall, the cranberries of Wisconsin haven't been immune to the drought's effects; some have used new technology to use less irrigation water, for example. A new system for cranberry growers closely measures tension and pressure in the soil to determine how much irrigation water is needed, according to a WSCGA report.

The U.S. cranberry industry, which alone has a $300 million impact on the state of Wisconsin's economy, typically sells 1/3 of its output on the export market, with most buyers coming in Russia and surrounding nations.

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