The preliminary forecast is FAIR to GOOD for keeping quality.
As of April 1, there are 4 of 10 possible points that favor keeping quality for the 2017 cranberry growing season. There were two points awarded for total March sunshine hours and two additional points for average March temperature (below 34° F). The final keeping quality forecast (available after June 1) may improve if temperature and rainfall conditions during April and May are cool and dry.
This preliminary forecast suggests that you could consider reducing the number of fungicide applications in beds where fruit rot has not been a problem every year and bogs where canopy management practices that help reduce fruit rot disease pressure (e.g., sanding, pruning, proper fertilization and irrigation programs) are practiced routinely.
Holding late water can help improve fungicide efficacy and fruit quality, but with last year’s drought conditions, late water should only be considered for beds or varieties with no evident plant stress symptoms such as leaf drop or yellow vine. Late water should be in place before buds break dormancy (white bud or bud swell first stages). As of April 6, cranberry buds in the Wareham area appear to be dormant.
Follow me on Twitter @esaalau for weekly updates and pictures on bud dormancy starting next week, or call me (Extension 18) with any questions about fungicide programs for this year. Erika Saalau Rojas (Extension Plant Pathologist)