Cranberry industry., Cranberry Station (University of Massachusetts at Amherst), Best Management Practices
Cranberry growers manage water on bogs to ensure sufficient moisture and adequate drainage for optimum plant growth. Water management practices on cranberry bogs differ from those used for other forms of agriculture because of the variety of ways that water is used in cranberry culture. Water is used for disease and insect control, frost and heat protection, sanding, harvesting, and protection from winter desiccation and cold injury. Because of the periodic need for sizable amounts of water, impoundment of water adjacent to the bogs is a normal farming practice in cranberry production. In addition to storage ponds and sumps, components of a typical water management system for a cranberry bog include irrigation systems, wells, flood gates and flumes, lift pumps, and drainage ditches and pipes.
Water can be used and re-used within a cranberry bog because its irrigation system and water storage reservoir are often interconnected. In some instances, water can also be recycled among growers. Therefore, water uses on cranberry bogs are not always consumptive. Newly established bogs, however, do require more irrigation to satisfy the needs of growing vines. Because cranberry culture typically is carried out in moist areas such as wetlands and marshes, irrigation needs are limited and comparatively small (averaging between 0.4 and 1.5 inches per week from rainfall and irrigation combined, during the growing season).
Important environmental considerations directly related to water management include: 1) conservation of fresh water supplies; 2) prevention of contamination of surface and groundwater by pesticides, fertilizers, or sediments; 3) optimizing plant growth, yield, and resistance to pests and diseases.