Cranberry Fruit Rot Working Group

Cranberry fruit rot is a key yield-limiting factor threatening the cranberry industry in North America. Fruit rot is caused by a complex of at least fifteen different fungal pathogens, and its management requires multiple fungicide applications per growing season. There are currently five effective fungicides labeled for fruit rot control. In August 2014, the European Union, a primary market destination for U.S.-grown cranberries, severely reduced the allowable maximum residue level for chlorothalonil, a broad-spectrum fungicide that has been the foundation for managing cranberry fruit rot and fungicide resistance for over 30 years. With over 30% of U.S. cranberries exported to European markets, severely limited cranberry fruit rot management alternatives, and increasing fungicide restrictions, growers now face an unprecedented crisis. Nevertheless, this emergency presents an opportunity to advance cranberry fruit rot research toward ecologically based disease management.

This working group proposes to: 1) create a multistate, multidisciplinary, industry-wide network to help the cranberry industry navigate changes in the cranberry disease management toolbox; 2) identify research needs and priorities that can reduce fungicide reliance; and 3) promote research collaborations between stakeholder groups. The main outcome of this project will be the development of a coordinated effort to support ecologically based cranberry fruit rot management research and promote development and implementation of IPM practices.