Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:25 pm
Despite the summer drought that hammered much of Wisconsin’s agriculture industry this year, the state’s cranberry farmers are expected to harvest 4.5 million barrels of cranberries during the fall harvest, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture projections.
That would be a two percent increase compared with the 2011 crop, according to the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association (WSCGA). Nationwide, the cranberry harvest is expected to be down less than one percent.
Wisconsin is expected to be the nation’s top cranberry-producing state for the 18th consecutive year, the association said. Massachusetts is expected to be the second biggest cranberry producing state with 2.1 million barrels. New Jersey is expected to be third with 542,500 barrels.
Cranberry growers in Wisconsin have been able to irrigate to compensate for the lack of rain during this summer’s drought, said Tom Lochner, executive director of the 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,” he said.
Wisconsin’s cranberry industry has an annual economic impact on the state of $300 million and supports 3,400 jobs from its 21,000 acres of cranberries grown in 20 counties in central and northern Wisconsin, according to a University of Wisconsin report. Last year, 33 percent of the total U.S. cranberry production volume was exported, with growing interest in cranberries especially in the Baltic States, Turkey and Russia.