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WI crop update

United Cranberry Blog - Fri, 10/25/2019 - 11:33

Here we are on October 25th and the old saying “big crops get bigger and small crops get smaller” seem to be coming true in WI. There are stories about the northern marshes being down 40-50%. In the Warrens area I know of one grower that went from a 400 bbl average to 300. And another that went from 300 bbl average to 210bbl. The receiving stations are looking for fruit. I’ve only heard of two growers whose crops that are even or up from last year.

Obviously we won’t know for a couple more weeks.

The CMC estimate from last August was a WI crop estimate of 5,200,000 bbls. If we are off 20% that is a solid 1,040,000 bbls of fruit. That is the equivalent of 52,000,000 lbs or 1300 container loads of dried cranberries. And a lot of concentrate. (My estimates. Take it for what it is worth)

I haven’t heard much from other regions, but due to the sheer size of the WI crop, they would all have to be up 30-40% to make up for WI.

This is going to get very interesting.

2019 harvest photos WI

United Cranberry Blog - Thu, 10/17/2019 - 15:01

A couple more

More 2019 WI harvest photos

United Cranberry Blog - Thu, 10/17/2019 - 14:58

This is not an average crop in WI. Pretty disappointing.

2019 Wisconsin crop may be down 20% over last year

United Cranberry Blog - Wed, 10/16/2019 - 14:47

It has been a long time since I’ve been compelled to post. But this WI crop is a major disappointment.

With flower preferences, bees have a big gap between the sexes - Phys.Org

Oregon Cranberry News via Google - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 00:00
With flower preferences, bees have a big gap between the sexes  Phys.Org

For scores of wild bee species, females and males visit very different flowers for food—a discovery that could be important for conservation efforts, according to ...

World's biggest bee found: Wallace's giant bee has been rediscovered in Indonesia - Science Daily

Oregon Cranberry News via Google - Fri, 02/22/2019 - 00:00
World's biggest bee found: Wallace's giant bee has been rediscovered in Indonesia  Science Daily

Lost to science for decades and thought perhaps extinct, Wallace's giant bee (Megachile pluto) has been rediscovered in an Indonesian rainforest.

Oregon hazelnut production has doubled in last decade, expected to double again by 2025 - Statesman Journal

Oregon Cranberry News via Google - Sun, 12/16/2018 - 06:00
Oregon hazelnut production has doubled in last decade, expected to double again by 2025  Statesman Journal

There are more acres of hazelnuts in Oregon than wine grapes, and production is expected to double by 2025 as the industry tries to reach consumers.

Oregon hazelnut production has doubled in last decade, expected to double again by 2025 - Statesman Journal

Oregon Cranberry News via Google - Sun, 12/16/2018 - 00:00
Oregon hazelnut production has doubled in last decade, expected to double again by 2025  Statesman Journal

There are more acres of hazelnuts in Oregon than wine grapes, and production is expected to double by 2025 as the industry tries to reach consumers.

Oregon hazelnut production has doubled in last decade, expected to double again by 2025 - Statesman Journal

Oregon Cranberry News via Google - Sun, 12/16/2018 - 00:00
Oregon hazelnut production has doubled in last decade, expected to double again by 2025  Statesman Journal

There are more acres of hazelnuts in Oregon than wine grapes, and production is expected to double by 2025 as the industry tries to reach consumers.

Report: Climate Change Is Already Bringing Problems To Northwest — And It Will Get Worse

Capital Press Agriculture News Oregon - Wed, 11/28/2018 - 11:52

The Northwest is already seeing the effects of climate change, according to a new national climate assessment. The 1,600-page report outlines dire consequences across the country as global temperatures continue to rise. In the Northwest, the changes threaten much of what our region holds dear — from ski seasons to salmon runs.

Who put the assessment together? It was assembled by 13 federal agencies. It’s a report that’s put together for Congress every four years. This edition contains the most comprehensive evaluation to date on climate impacts to economy, health, agriculture and the environment.

The 2018 assessment includes a whole chapter on the Pacific Northwest, providing a vivid picture of what’s in store. The findings aren’t just about future predictions but impacts we’re already seeing in the region. What are some of the key findings for the Pacific Northwest? They add up to bad news for Oregon, Washington and Idaho: More extreme weather creating more landslides, flooding, drought and wildfires. The report notes that the region’s way of life is connected to the environment and natural resources and that the impacts are profound. The Northwest’s economy depends in large part on natural resources in sectors like forestry, fisheries, agriculture and outdoor recreation. Climate change threatens all of them.

Winter recreation, for example, would be hit hard; the report predicts a lack of snow from climate change could cut all snow-based recreation revenue by 70 percent. And with spring starting earlier, crops could start blooming before insects come around to pollinate them. Then there are the things we might not think about as related to climate change, like our health. Warmer temperatures bring more mosquitoes, and as a result we’re going to see more mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus. That means more people getting infected and even dying from that virus. The report says we’re already seeing some of these effects in the Northwest. What kinds of climate change impacts are we seeing? The report zeroes in on a recent year when we saw a lot of them: 2015, a year of severe drought for the Northwest. The report presents that year as a preview of our future with climate change. Temperatures were several degrees above normal with record low snowpack, rampant wildfires and smoky skies, and huge agricultural losses.

Toxins from harmful algal blooms closed fisheries along the coast in 2015 and we saw salmon die-offs because of the warm water temperatures in rivers and streams. Does the report include recommendations for how we should prepare?

Yes. And one of the big themes for those recommendations is reducing risk from extreme weather. It says we should prepare our infrastructure for more stress in the future from stronger storms, hotter heat waves and bigger wildfires. It will be important to develop back-up plans for when things go wrong because of global warming. So, if a landslide or drought takes out a key source of groundwater, we need a second source to turn to.

Farmers can start planting crops that are better suited to hotter summers and wetter winters and springs. The Northwest can develop water markets so that people who have water could sell it to people who need it. And we can start growing more of our own seafood using aquaculture instead of catching wild species in the ocean to help offset the threat of extinction for fish and other species that will struggle to survive with warmer water and ocean acidification.

The report acknowledges that much remains unknown about how the risk of climate change can be offset. But anything that reduces carbon emissions that trap heat — contributing to the greenhouse effect — will reduce the severity of that risk over time.

Oregon seeing red in its dispute with California winery

Capital Press Agriculture News Oregon - Wed, 11/28/2018 - 11:43

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Pinot noir is one of the finickiest grapes, but with proper nurturing it produces an amazing wine. Officials in Oregon and at a U.S. government agency are similarly finicky, and are stomping on a California winery’s claims that it makes an Oregon pinot.

Copper Cane, a Napa Valley, California, winery sells more pinot noir made from Oregon grapes than anyone else, and often at a lower price. That has some Oregon winemakers, who call the California version a less elevated product, seeing red.

Now, both the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau and Oregon’s liquor agency have ruled that Copper Cane’s labels have been improperly referencing Oregon wine regions. The case recalls France’s mostly successful efforts to have only sparkling wine produced in its Champagne region called by that name.

At stake is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and Oregon’s reputation for producing a delicate pinot noir in its cool, rainy climate, according to state Rep. David Gomberg and winemaker Jim Bernau, who have been sharply critical of Copper Cane.

“Part of this is prestige and marketing,” Gomberg said.

Grapes for Copper Cane’s pinot noirs are grown in three Oregon wine regions and trucked in dry ice to California. Jim Blumling, Copper Cane’s vice president of operations, acknowledged that the winery’s top-selling Elouan Pinot Noir is more pronounced than the typical Oregon version because the grapes are picked later, with higher sugar content.

“It helps deliver a more concentrated juice in the fruit,” Blumling said.

Bernau, founder of Willamette Valley Vineyards of Turner, Oregon, said Copper Cane’s labels deceptively indicate its wines came from Oregon’s officially designated wine regions, or AVAs.

“Copper Cane takes something valuable that isn’t theirs and deeply discounts it,” Bernau said. “They can’t use Oregon AVAs if the wine is not made in the AVA.”

In their rulings this month, the federal and state regulatory bodies agreed there was a problem because Copper Cane’s labels refer to Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Rogue Valley and Umpqua Valley wine regions. If a wine label claims or implies it’s from a particular AVA, 95 percent of the grapes must be from there, according to the Oregon Wine Board.

The federal TTB told Copper Cane that it has to ditch seven of its labels, agency spokesman Tom Hogue said.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission found last week that Copper Cane has committed seven violations and is seeking to revoke its ability to sell in Oregon, said commission spokesman Matthew VanSickle. The violations focus on Copper Cane’s improper use of AVA designations and “misleading statements on labeling.”

One major grocery store chain in Oregon, Fred Meyer, is already taking Copper Cane’s Elouan Pinot Noir and Willametter Journal wines off its shelves.

Gomberg wants the federal government to stop Copper Cane from selling Elouan wine in the other 49 states.

“Copper Cane claims they were simply engaged in ‘fanciful’ marketing,” Gomberg said. “But the state of Oregon has determined that they crossed the line from fanciful to fraudulent.”

Blumling and Copper Cane’s owner, Joe Wagner, will meet with Oregon Liquor Control Commission Executive Director Steven Marks on Wednesday to try to resolve the issue, Blumling said.

The company has already submitted new labels to the TTB that don’t mention Oregon winemaking regions and say only that the grapes come from prime Oregon vineyards, Blumling said. Those labels have been approved by the TTB, he said.

Copper Cane hopes the new labels also satisfy the Oregon liquor commission.

The previous labels had been in use for years until Gomberg and Bernau complained, the California winemakers said. They believe it was to edge out the competition. Last year, 120,000 cases of Elouan wine — over 1.4 million bottles — were sold nationwide, Blumling said.

“We’re being blatantly attacked,” Wagner said. “What’s disappointing is it’s for financial gain.”

In a Nov. 19 statement, Gomberg said that Elouan Pinot Noir and The Willametter Journal “look and taste like they have an additive” called Mega Purple, often used in California to make wines darker and thicker. Blumling called that “slanderous” and denied any such additive has been used.

He said Elouan’s growing national popularity, with sales up 50 percent in a year, will raise consumers’ consciousness and boost overall demand for Oregon pinot noir.

“We’re expecting that all boats rise with the tide,” Blumling said.

Christmas tree supplies remain tight

Capital Press Agriculture News Oregon - Wed, 11/28/2018 - 06:30

A lingering shortage from Oregon growers means Americans will once again pay more for Christmas trees this holiday season.

Chal Landgren, a Christmas tree specialist at Oregon State University, said tight supplies are the result of overproduction during the late 2000s that deflated prices and forced roughly one-third of farms to drop out of the business.

Oregon is still the top producer of Christmas trees in the U.S., though Landgren said there are about 400 fewer growers now compared to just three years ago, turning what was a glut of cheap trees into a deficit.

“It’s this sort of boom and bust (cycle) of agriculture,” Landgren said. “When people weren’t making any money, they just got out of the business.”

While the USDA did not conduct a survey for Christmas trees in 2018, Landgren said Oregon growers will likely ship around 5.2 million trees to retailers nationwide — or about the same as 2017. Past years’ harvests had been as high as 7 million to 9 million trees, he said.

It could take another six to 10 years for supply and demand to balance, Landgren added, based on the time it takes to grow popular species such as Douglas fir and Noble fir from seedling to holiday height.

“It takes a long time to go through the cycle of a Christmas tree,” he said.

According to the National Christmas Tree Association, consumers reported spending an average of $75 per tree in 2017. Gary Snyder, president of the Kirk Co., a large tree grower with offices in Oregon City, Ore., said prices have risen 10-15 percent each year for the last three or four years.

Snyder said prices will be up a little bit again this year, but there should still be plenty of trees available.

“I don’t think there should be any issue with people finding a real tree,” Snyder said.

Bob Schaefer, general manager of Noble Mountain Tree Farm in Salem, Ore., said quality this year is “exceptional,” despite a record-setting drought and heat over the summer. Dry conditions actual helped production during harvest, Schaefer said, while timely rains in October provided some much-needed relief.

“The only thing that really impacted us was the hot, dry summer, but that didn’t impact our crop trees. It impacted our seedlings,” Schaefer said.

The weather-related impacts to seedlings is a concern for Landgren at OSU, since most of the region’s Christmas trees are grown without irrigation. Anecdotally, some farms reported up to 70 percent seedling mortality this summer, Landgren said, which is much higher than the average of 10-15 percent.

Landgren said the university is experimenting with ways to reduce seedling mortality, such as shading and chemical sprays to reduce water transpiration. If young trees continue to die at a rapid rate, he said it could result in another shortage five years down the road.

“Trying to get these trees to survive has been a bit of a challenge,” Landgren said.

McKenzie “Ken” Cook, of McKenzie Farms based in Estacada, Ore., said the industry has dealt with a long, hard struggle to rebound from this latest shortage. He said the number of trees grown in Oregon has fallen from 90 million to fewer than 40 million.

His company, which grows around 8 million trees in the Willamette Valley, faced nearly closing, with Cook having to go out of pocket to stay afloat, he said. Fortunately, he said the business was able to survive and is working to stabilize supply and demand.

Once that happens, Cook said he believes farmers are growing smarter now in order to avoid a similar situation in the future.

“I don’t see them jumping back in this category as a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow,” Cook said. “After four miserable cycles over a 40-year period, I don’t think this will be repeated again.”

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