The leaves of the cranberry plant form a dense mat over the surface. There are no paths through a cranberry bog. Weeds are particularly troublesome in cranberry bogs, since mechanical equipment (such as cultivators) cannot be used. The first synthetic chemical herbicide to receive widespread use in cranberries was registered in 1965 followed by two more in the 1970s. The use of these three herbicides is credited as the most important factor in the doubling of cranberry yields from 1960-1978. The introduction of glyphosate is credited with a steep increase in cranberry yields in the early 1980s.
“Without chemical pesticides fruit quality would be drastically reduced and it would be virtually impossible to economically produce a cranberry crop.
Without some selected herbicides or any herbicide, up to half of the growers would eventually go out of business because it would no longer be profitable to farm when their beds become overwhelmed by weeds in 5 to 10 years.
Without insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides, fruit quality would be drastically reduced. It would be virtually impossible to economically produce a cranberry crop. Ultimately, many growers would go out of business.”
Authors: Mahr, S. E. and Moffitt, L. J.
Affiliation: University of Wisconsin and University of Massachusetts.
Title: Biologic & Economic Assessment of Pesticide Usage on Cranberry.
Source: NAPIAP Report Number 2-CA-94-1994.