Cranberry yields look good

Cranberry growers are expecting a good crop this year.  Jenna Dempze with the Gaynor Cranberry Company near Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin tells Brownfield harvest is about half done and yields look good so far. “We’re sitting above average for the state. I think Wisconsin overall is going to have a slightly larger crop than it did last year. Last year, they produced about 4.8 million barrels and I think they’re projected to come in slightly above that for this year’s crop.”

Sisters Jenna Dempze and Heidi Slinkman at Gaynor Cranberry Company

Dempze says the berries did well this year, but the late-season warm weather did have one drawback. “The temperatures had been so warm. The cranberries need those cooler temps, especially at nighttime to turn their skin that pretty, bright red, so that was a little slow to come on.”

The cranberries are green for most of the growing season, and normally turn color beginning in August.

Dempze says even though it was a dry year, irrigation allowed growers like her to have almost 100% control on the crop’s inputs. 

Cranberries are a perennial crop, but Dempze says occasionally replanting with new varieties helps plant health and productivity. “Each year, we take out just a few acres and plant new, and we’re trying to just keep evolving but yeah, the new hybrids are doing well and producing as expected.”

Wisconsin is the world’s top cranberry producer, growing about 4.8 million barrels in 2022.  Massachusetts is the second-best U.S. producer with 1.2 million barrels a year.  The U.S. produces more than 53% of the world’s cranberries followed by Canada and Chile.

AUDIO: Jenna Dempze discusses the cranberry harvest with Brownfield’s Larry Lee

PHOTO: Jenna Dempze (L) and her sister Heidi Slinkman (R) during harvest at Gaynor Cranberry Company

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