“Turfing” in renovation of cranberry bogs

Project Overview

FNE10-685
Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2010: $12,700.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2011
Region: Northeast
State: Massachusetts
Project Leader:
Jennifer Friedrich
The Edible Yard

Commodities

  • Fruits: berries (cranberries)

Practices

  • Crop Production: Turfing

    Proposal summary:

    Renovation of cranberry bogs is fast becoming a normal practice in Massachusetts. Renovation is the practices of stripping the existing vines and replanting. Benefits to renovation are: the opportunity to upgrade irrigation system and bog drainage, regrading the farm to increase water use efficiently,increase production, square edges, and reduce weed pressure. Some estimate that one acre can cost between $10,000-$25,000 to renovate(Sandler.) Current standard renovation practices eliminate a crop for the first three years after renovation. This is especially true for fresh fruit growers and organic growers, most of which grow native varieties such as Early Blacks and Howes. This project aims to shorten the time taken from renovation to crop in half by turfing the cranberry bog bed.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The method of turfing will be evaluated based on cost, harvestable yield, return
    on investment and ease of renovation. One method will be cutting four inch deep
    slices of the bog surface. Alternatively, we will set the slice depth to three inches.
    A traditional renovation plot will be established with stripping the bog then
    planting rooted and unrooted cuttings. This study will continue to be evaluated for
    establishment rate and eventually yield. The cost of turfing sections are slightly
    higher than renovating with stripping then planting rooted and unrooted cuttings,
    but preliminary work suggests better establishment. Higher earlier yields may
    more than make up the initial expense.

    • Map the bog to show the process of turfing set up a “control” to
    demonstrate current process of renovation.

    • Using commercial turfing equipment, strip from the turf area, roll up and
    load onto truck. 1 week-one commercial sod cutter, one loader, two
    trucks, two operators, four workers

    • Transport turf sections to prepared bed (stripped and leveled) Lay down
    turf strips and establish with growth runners going counter clockwise (for
    easier dry harvesting methods.) 1 Week- 6 workers

    • Apply 2” sand to fill in around turfed sections for uniform establishment.

    • All plots will get late water in the spring.

    • All plots will be treated the same for management of insects and diseases.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.