Working with the weather

Careful water management is the key to cranberries, but weather is always the most unpredictable factor. Rain can be a blessing, but a heavy downpour can lead to bog flooding and have an adverse effect on fruit quality; the longer the flood, the greater the possibility that newly formed fruit can suffocate.

Heavy storms earlier in the week were certainly less intense than the Labor Day storm back in 2012, but Pine Island nonetheless had to spring into action on Wednesday to handle the three inches that came down in a relatively brief amount of time! “It came fast, so we had to react fast,” says COO Bryan vonHahmann. “But everyone pulled together and we got out there quickly.” It was, however, a learning moment for a couple of things. “We sent out a lot of people for whom this was a newer task,” he says. “So we know now to have tools set aside so we can issue them and get everyone on location as fast as possible. But we pulled together and got everything adjusted! The team really did a great job.”

Management is also making some plans for moving forward. One of the problems the team had to deal with was washouts. These can often be an issue with the newest bogs. Fixing dams is routine maintenance that a team (Jorge, Joel, and Waldy) had been working on prior to the storm, and while some of it held up, some of it didn’t. Bog Renovations Manager Steve Manning is considering several routes for erosion control, among them adopting the use of erosion control mats, similar to what highway departments use for roadwork. This may hopefully save us both time and money going forward by fixing the cause rather than repairing damages.