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Cranberry Harvest Down But Still Strong

jkb via http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Harvesting_cranberries_2.jpg

Cranberry growers are reporting lower yields than last year but say the quality of fruit has been exceptional. 

Michael O’Brien, manager of the 320-acre Lake Nokomis Cranberries in Eagle River, says yields may have been down because of cool temperatures.   

“Basically weather, we’re dealing with two short seasons in a row. This summer was quite cool compared to previous years. That affects blossom, and how the bees respond to the blossom. Just less heat units in general, we just had less heat to work with.”

The Wisconsin Cranberry Growers Association is predicting the state’s crop will fall short of last year’s record 5.8 million barrels.

But the group’s Executive Director Tom Lochner says with expected yields of at least 5.2 million barrels of fruit, it’s still an excellent crop.  And he says fall weather conditions have resulted in very high quality fruit.    

“The color has been just wonderful. With the cold nights that we’ve had, they brought a lot of color onto the berries and we’re seeing a real good-quality crop that’s coming in.”

Most northern growers have already wrapped up their harvests that started in September, while those in the central part of the state should finish up next week. 

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