Archive | September, 2012

United Cranberry is on the front page of Produce News

24 Sep

check out the front page of the Produce News here



Cranberry Marketing Committee meeting Milwaukee August 2012

23 Sep

Ok, so I admit that I was unable to attend the CMC meeting in Milwaukee, due to another meeting.  I have a love/hate with the CMC.

I love seeing everyone, talking to the growers and handlers. All really fine people and especially those folks who actually serve the industry by volunteering to actually be ON the CMC.  A big thanks goes out to them for the work they do.

I also like looking at the numbers…the summary reports of all the handlers who report in 4 times a year as to their supply and sales of cranberries.  This tells us how many cranberries we grow, how many are in inventory and how many we sell.  In aggregate (no one reveals a trade poslition). The USDA’s representative ususally does a presentation of his view of the numbers, and at this meeting an Ocean Spray representative made a presentation on how they see things.  While I wasn’t at the meeting, I have  recieved some of the data and the good news is, that we are really great growers and we grow a BIG crop!  The bad news is, the consumption of cranberries, especially in the juice aisle is falling off a bit.  As Ocean Spray said…we don’t have a supply problem, we have a demand problem.

What don’t I like about the CMC?  For starters OS has more info than the rest of us.  There are about 40 handlers that report to the CMC.  OS can take their  OS numbers, subtract from the whole and then have OS  AND our numbers. Then they come to the meeting and tell independents that WE have the problem.  Maybe, maybe not, but we will never really know, since we don’t have all the same info.  **I am not accusing OS of anything here, I am just making an observation**

I think the CMC serves a valuable purpose in that it collects industry numbers. I also think they may be able to generically promote our crop overseas.  I’m not sure it will ever manage the size ot the overall crop and keep supply and demand in balance.  Too many politics involved to figure that out (and you thought there is politics in the presidential race?)

My take from the CMC?  We produce too many cranberries and we will for the next couple of years.  (however, see my earlier post about water in WI, this could have a big effect, maybe not so for this year, but next year). We need new products and new markets to sell our production capacity.  And  finally I learned that no matter what anyone says…I’m not planting any time soon and that means 5-10 years, no matter what.

Wisconsin cranberry harvest update #1

23 Sep

Wow. I haven’t blogged since the Wisconsin Field days in August and for that I apologize.

Harvest has started early in Wisconsin. Yes, usually growers harvest a bed or two at this time to shake the rust off, try out the equipment, make sure everything is in working order. But this year, some growers are going early because of a lack of water. Most, if not all of Wisconsin has watched frost for the past week. Some growers in the central growing area are finding that their reservoirs are not recovering after a night of frost, and then when they went to flood a bed they couldn’t hold a flood for more than 8 hours…the water just soaked in. All efforts are being made to get those beds water and growers are harvesting to get the crop in, with a color of 15 to 20. Is this all growers? Certainly not. But some areas have had minimal rain in the past 4-6 weeks and the water just isn’t there. It is a combination of drought, sand and nightly frost watch. Keep tuned. This long growing season is throwing us a bit of a curve ball with harvest water.

And, what about winter flood? What are you seeing out there?