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Wisconsin apple growers hoping closer to normal winter leads to better crop

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MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - This winter is closer to normal than last winter – and Wisconsin apple growers hope it stays that way.

Ann Maenner of the Wisconsin Apple Growers Association says trees need to stay dormant until the frost is gone.

That didn’t happen in 2012 – and the result was the state’s smallest apple production in 67 years.

It was first reported last week that Wisconsin produced only 23.6 million pounds of apples last year, down 54 percent from the year before. And yields plunged by more than three tons per acre.

Wisconsin had summer-like weather last March, and the apple trees were spooked into blossoming – only to die in April when it got cold and snowy again. 

Maenner said the Drought of 2012 didn’t help matters, either.

The USDA also said Wisconsin’s cherry production dropped by 75 percent for the same reason. But cranberry growers used the weather to their advantage, and produced a record crop. 

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