Wisconsin cranberry growers are so good at what they do they might have to put limits on production.
The Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association said on Thursday the 2017 harvest is expected to reach 5.6 million barrels, more than half of all the cranberries harvested in the U.S., which is expected to be about 9 million barrels.
The bumper crop isn’t necessarily good news for growers, who are faced with low prices, well below the cost of production.
The industry approved asking the USDA to set volume regulations on both this year’s crop and the 2018 crop.
“This motion is intended to help stabilize marketing conditions and improve grower returns,” said association executive director Tom Lochner. “This short-term solution will help slow the excess supply being built, while the industry continues to focus its efforts on the long-term solution of increasing demand, both domestically and in international markets.”
Wisconsin’s cranberry growers produced about six million barrels in 2016.
Other leading states in cranberry production include Massachusetts at 2.2 million barrels, New Jersey at 590,000 barrels, Oregon at 480,000 barrels and Washington at 180,000 barrels.
Lochner said the industry is seeking to boost overseas demand, targeting China, India, Mexico, South Korea and countries in the European Union.
“Growing demand internationally is a big opportunity, and the industry is working hard to market cranberries to new audiences,” Lochner said. “At the same time, domestic consumers are still the largest purchasers of cranberries. We hope that Wisconsinites will show their cranberry pride and help move the needle by finding more ways to incorporate cranberries into their meals year-round.”