Economic Comparison of Initial Vine Density, Nitrogen Rate, and Weed Management Strategy in Commercial Cranberry

in HortTechnology
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  • 1 Cranberry Station, University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
  • | 2 Dept. of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Bowditch Hall, Amherst, MA 01003.
  • | 3 Cranberry Station, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, P.O. Box 569, East Wareham, MA 02538.

A 2-year field trial examined the interaction of nitrogen rate, vine density, and weed management options for establishing new cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) plantings. Utilizing the vigorous hybrid, `Stevens', the cost-efficiency of the treatment combinations was evaluated by combining cranberry and weed biomass data with various economic estimates. The most cost-effective production scheme for establishing new cranberry beds is to plant vines at a low density, use moderate rates of nitrogen, and apply an annual application of a preemergence herbicide. This combination produced substantial vine coverage at very low cost, reduced weed biomass by 85% compared to untreated plots, and gave the best weed control per dollar spent. Growers may opt for other reasonably successful combinations that involve higher labor costs if they can produce their own cuttings (reducing initial costs) or if they are farming with the intent to reduce overall synthetic inputs.

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