Drought reduces grape production for region’s vineyards | Agricultural news

Given the situation, Verbitsky turned his attention to the development of fruit meads or honey wine. However, he noted that even his bees were struggling to produce this year.

Rodney Hogan, Buffalo, president of the North Dakota Grape and Wine Association, agreed that wineries in the eastern part of the state that managed to escape the early spring frost were doing better.

“We have the best harvest ever,” Hogan said of his Red Trail wineries. “I can’t believe how big a harvest we have. “

He attributed the struggles of Western growers not only to the drought, but to a previous winter that started out mild before turning terribly cold. Even with his vineyards, winter bud destruction was significant, prompting him to reduce bud size in the spring, he said.

The North Central Research Extension Center, which experimented with a vineyard, has a drip irrigation system that has saved many plants. Unfortunately, there were too many other factors that many vines couldn’t overcome, said Chris Amundson, agricultural research technician.

“Winter has been very hard for everything. And then we had herbicide damage, and we had these high temperatures all summer. So even with the irrigation they still had a rough year, ”she said.

Amundson said the lack of snow cover and dry ground allowed the winter cold to sink deeper into the ground. Without insulation from underground moisture or snow, some plants did not survive.

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