OSU Extension helps Oregon’s $13 million cranberry industry float to the top

Cranberries sit in a burlap bag after being harvested at a farm near Bandon, OR.
Cranberries sit in a burlap bag after being harvested at a farm near Bandon. Photo by Lynn Ketchum.
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Research helps reduce frost damage and monitor root growth

Native to North America, cranberries were first planted in Oregon in 1885. Now the state ranks fourth in the nation in cranberry production. Perched on the southwestern edge of the state, cranberries are a $13 million industry and an important part of the coastal Oregon economy.    

But fickle frosts can damage tender buds and wipe out an entire crop in a matter of hours. To allow growers better protection against killing frosts, OSU Extension horticulturists have developed in-field sensors to determine at what temperature and at what bud stage to take action against damage from frost. Such an early warning system will save growers electricity, water, and time.

In related studies, OSU researchers have developed tools for monitoring cranberry root growth in relation to fertilization. Tiny cameras lowered through tubes in the ground capture evidence of the cranberry plant’s longevity (some vines can live up to 100 years) and the response to additions of herbicides and fertilizer. Such information will save growers the cost of unnecessary inputs.

Source: National Agricultural Statistics Service

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