Wisconsin to lead in cranberry production
The Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association (WSCGA) today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) projects that Wisconsin will yield 4.3 million barrels of cranberries during the 2011 fall harvest – an increase of 8.5 percent from 2010.
Based on the projections and with cooperation from Mother Nature during the next four to six weeks, Wisconsin will be the country’s top cranberry-producing state for the 17th consecutive year.
“Wisconsin continues to lead the nation in cranberry crop production, and this year growers expect another strong harvest,” said Tom Lochner, executive director of WSCGA. “We had a warm growing season with adequate rain as then a dry period when pollination was taking place, so that contributed to an especially bountiful crop. We’re now hoping for warm weather through August and cooling temperatures heading into fall to help the berries ripen and turn red for harvest.”
According to Lochner, the good crop is also due to growers’ continued investment in their marshes, including adding new acreage and implementing more efficient growing practices such as renovating existing marshes, planting higher-yielding, new varieties of cranberries and more.
“The industry as a whole is very focused on good growing practices that are sustainable along with stepping up marketing efforts to grow demand for cranberries,” Lochner added.
NASS, which bases its crop estimates on grower surveys, also made crop projections for other top cranberry producing states. Those projections are: Massachusetts at 2.1 million barrels, New Jersey at 540,000 barrels, Oregon at 385,000 barrels and Washington at 173,000 barrels.
According to a University of Wisconsin report released in 2010, Wisconsin’s cranberry industry has an annual economic impact of $300 million and supports 3,400 jobs from its 21,000 acres of cranberries grown in 20 counties in central and northern Wisconsin.
Wisconsin’s annual cranberry harvest will begin in late September or early October. Cranberries have been harvested in Wisconsin since the 1830s, even before Wisconsin was a state. More information about seeing the cranberry harvest in Wisconsin and harvest festival dates can be found at www.wiscran.org.