OSU helps state's $16 million cranberry industry float to the top

Cranberries sit in a burlap bag.
Cranberries sit in a burlap bag after being harvested at a farm near Bandon. (Photo: Lynn Ketchum)

Research helps reduce frost damage and monitor root growth

Oregon ranks fourth in the nation in cranberry production. More than 150 growers along the state's southwestern coast sold $10.4 million of cranberries in 2016. But these growers have to tend with fickle frosts that can damage tender buds and wipe out an entire crop in a matter of hours. In fact, growers lose more than 20 percent of their crop to frost damage each year.

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.

Watch cranberries being harvested in this video.

Source: USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service; David Bryla, berry researcher with a courtesy appointment in OSU's Department of Horticulture

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