Cranberries and climate change

On the heels of my recent post about Wisconsin farmers—including cranberry growers—confronting climate change, yesterday the public radio program Marketplace ran a story considering what a warming planet means for cranberry crops, focusing on Massachusetts farmers. As Sarah Gardner reports,

Michael Hogan, CEO of A.D. Makepeace, a large cranberry grower based in Wareham, says for now cranberries are still a viable crop in Massachusetts. But climate change is making it much tougher to grow there.

“We’re having warmer springs, we’re having higher incidences of pests and fungus and we’re having warmer falls when we need to have cooler nights,” Hogan says.

Those changing conditions are costing growers like Makepeace money. The company has to use more water to irrigate in the hotter summers, and to cover the berries in spring and fall to protect them from frosts.

They’re also spending more on fuel to run irrigation pumps, and have invested heavily in technology to monitor the bogs more closely. It’s also meant more fungicides and fruit rot.

Head here for the full print and audio versions of the story, as well as photos.

Cranberry bog, Duxbury MA. Photo by Chris Devers via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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