In Pursuit of a Better Cranberry

In 2011, BC cranberry growers celebrated the groundbreaking of a new cranberry research farm that promised to help return a competitive edge to an industry.

The centre is one of four in North America, and the only one of its kind in Canada. “We have seen terrific response from producers, and a real excitement around the research facility,” says Todd May, research chair for the BC Cranberry Marketing Commission. “It has been challenging for our sector at times, economically as well with yield and pest pressures being felt in industry.”

Over the past three years, research plots and experiment designs have been developed and put into practice in the centre’s cranberry bogs. These plantings are assessing new varieties developed in other parts of North America, to see how they perform in BC’s unique growing environment. “The geography, growing mediums, weather patterns and cultural practices are different in our region,” May explains. “We are evaluating new varieties for our specific area and the West Coast in a broader sense, and looking at how we can relay that back to the grower about renovating and planting newer varieties. The funding we received through the Investment Agriculture Foundation has allowed us to establish, monitor and evaluate the research and variety trials, and demonstrate some of the cultural practices and management styles that could be used by our growers.”

Funding: $142,829 through the former federal Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program. (A0678.01)

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