Dried Fruit

Dried cranberries: mixed conditions in North America

October 2, 2023 at 4:48 PM , Der AUDITOR
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MADISON/QUÉBEC. Adverse weather conditions, water shortages and pest infestations are the issues causing headaches for US and Canadian cranberry growers this year. Still, the outlook is not too bad.

Wisconsin expects best crop in five years

As the experts at Chelmer Foods report with reference to Fruit D'Or, cranberry growers in Massachusetts have had to struggle more with frost problems this year, which in some cases has had a significant impact on yields. In the course of the year, numerous rainfalls were added, which, however, led to fewer problems. Market experts therefore still expect a normal-sized crop in the region, even if it is likely to be smaller than last year.

Things are looking better in Wisconsin, the world's largest growing region for cranberries. Farmers there are expecting the best season in five years, according to Chelmer Foods, which is especially good news because the crops of the last four years were below average. Nevertheless, 2023 will not be a new record year due to volatile weather conditions in the spring. A thaw and relatively high temperatures quickly woke the plants from their winter dormancy, but this was followed by another severe frost, which caused damage. Since then, however, the weather has been more stable and the dry and sunny conditions are favourable for the cranberry plants. Some farmers are concerned about the drought, however, as large amounts of water are needed to harvest the berries.

Pests in Canadian fields

In Canada, too, the unstable weather conditions this year have led to yield losses. Despite the relatively mild winter, a persistent snow cover caused damage to the fields, and July was the rainiest month in the last 20 years, along with very high temperatures. Chelmer Foods is therefore expecting declines in both conventional and organic cranberry production. And the weather was not the only problem this year. From the Centre-du-Québec region, growers report new pests in their fields, which are now being monitored and investigated, but have also led to crop damage. Since the New Brunswick region was largely spared the spring frosts, the experts here expect better crop results, which should nevertheless be lower than last year.

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