State cranberry crop projected at 5.3 million barrels

Colleen Kottke
Wisconsin State Farmer
Cranberries are harvested in Warrens, Wis., Monday, Sept. 20, 2010. This year's bountiful crop is expected to keep Wisconsin the nation's leader in cranberry production.

If nationwide projections stay on course, Wisconsin is expected to retain its title as the largest cranberry producing state, growing and harvesting more than 63 percent of the nation's supply.

And if that accolade wasn't heady enough, half of the world's supply of cranberries could well come from bogs right here in the Badger state.

While farmers and ranchers have been battling drought conditions west, east and south of Wisconsin,  cranberry growers have been blessed with ideal growing weather for the red fruits. According to the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association (WSCGA), state cranberry growers are expecting a solid 2022 crop at 5.2 million barrels based on the crop projections announced at the today’s U.S. Cranberry Marketing Committee (CMC) meeting last week in Galloway, NJ.

“We are pleased to hear from our growers that their crops look strong and healthy and are on track for a normal growing season,” said Tom Lochner, executive director of the WSCGA. “The state cranberry industry, and nationwide as a whole, is well positioned to bring in a solid crop and have the demand worldwide to fully utilize it.”

The U.S. CMC forecast marks the 28th year that Wisconsin has led the nation in cranberry production. The other largest cranberry growing states and their 2022 crop size projections are: Massachusetts at 1.89 million barrels; New Jersey at 550,000 barrels; Oregon at 510,000 barrels; and, Washington at 160,000 barrels. In total, the U.S. crop is expected to be 8.3 million barrels. Wisconsin’s final 2021 crop came in at 3.9 million barrels.

According to USDA National Ag Statistics Service, a barrel of cranberries is equivalent to 100 pounds.

“More than half the entire world’s supply of cranberries are grown on Wisconsin family farms, generating $1 billion in economic impact and providing thousands of local jobs across the Badger state, so it is always good news beyond our growers when the crop looks solid,” said Lochner. “We now hope Mother Nature continues to cooperate, and we get some cool fall nights for the berries to reach their dark red color, and then on to harvest, our favorite time of the year.”

The U.S. Cranberry Marketing Committee (CMC), administers the Federal Marketing Order charged with ensuring a stable supply of quality cranberry products, works to increase demand domestically and open new markets overseas.

Wisconsin cranberries are grown on 21,000 acres across 20 counties in central and northern regions of the state, creating the perfect growing conditions for the perennial plants that grow on low running vines in sandy bogs and marshes.

In Wisconsin, cranberry marshes are flooded with water to aid in harvesting. Because the tart, tiny berries contain a pocket of air, when the marsh is flooded, the berries float to the surface to be picked up by harvesting equipment. Cranberries are harvested each year from late September through October.

Approximately 3 percent of this year’s crop will be sold as fresh fruit, and the remaining cranberries will be frozen and stored for longer-term sales as frozen berries, dried cranberries, juices, sauces and more.