Helping Michigan Concord grape growers compete in a shrinking market

New research from MSU is identifying strategies to help growers adjust to high production costs and falling prices for Michigan’s Concord grape growers.

May 8, 2018 - Author:

Michigan grape growers need to be able to ripe heavy crop of Concord grapes to stay competitive in a global juice market. Photo by: Mark Longstroth
Michigan grape growers need to be able to ripe heavy crop of Concord grapes to stay competitive in a global juice market. Photo by: Mark Longstroth

Shifting consumer behaviors and an increase in the supply of low-cost, juice concentrate from other parts of the world have contributed to the declining market for Concord grape juice, while productions costs continue to rise. As the price per ton falls, growers need to cut costs and increase production. Doing both at once is extremely hard.

Growers who attend Michigan State University’s Agriculture Innovation Day: Focus on Fruit and Vegetable Technologies on June 28 at MSU’s Southwest Research and Extension Center in Benton Harbor, Michigan, will have the opportunity to hear the findings of a recent MSU study, Vineyard of the Future, which examines how different vine training systems, using rootstock and mechanization can improve yields and reduce costs in Concord and Niagara grapes.

During the afternoon grape-focused session called Vineyard of the Future, MSU Extension fruit educator Mark Longstroth will discuss production changes that Concord grape growers can implement to stay competitive and profitable in a shrinking market.

“This is a huge problem we’re seeing for Michigan growers. Their market has been trending down since the mid-90s,” Longstroth explained. “We want growers to understand the options they have for reducing costs and the decisions they should consider if they want to stay in this business.

In addition to the Vineyard of the Future session, grape growers can also attend sessions covering other vineyard management strategies including high tunnels, mechanical leaf removal and vineyard mechanization.

MSU Agriculture Innovation Day: Focus on Fruit and Vegetable Technologies, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. June 28 at the MSU Southwest Research and Extension Center in Benton Harbor, Michigan, offers a variety of fruit, vegetable and grape growing technologies, including the latest information on pollinators and equipment. The event has been approved for Restricted Use Pesticide Credits (6 credits) and Certified Crop Advisor CEUs in Integrated Pest Management, Crop Management, Soil and Water Management and Sustainability. For detailed session descriptions, visit http://www.canr.msu.edu/msu_agriculture_innovation_day/ or contact Ron Bates at batesr@msu.edu.

Tags: agriculture innovation day


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