Aussie growers can learn a lot from the Northwest Cherry Growers' crop forecasting program (in the USA). Below is a sample of the type of information they gather, how they present it and how they use it to estimate the new season's crop.
Northwest Cherry Growers crop forecasting
Northwest Cherry Growers 2018 Round 1 Crop Estimate
The Northwest Cherries' Field Estimate Team has compiled a first round (Round 1) projection for the 2018 Northwest fresh sweet cherry crop.
Over a series of four rounds of projections during the fruit’s early development, this 22-person estimation team looks at the volume dynamics across all Northwest growing regions, with each member submitting data specific to their active growing districts.
The data is built into an estimation model that uses field assessments, historical data, growing degree day patterns, crop expansion and average processing tonnage to formulate an estimate.
This year, that data has produced a Round 1 estimate of 226,605 metric tons or 22.6 million (20-pound equivalent) boxes.
Further details and insights about the crop to come are broken down below, including when we expect to see that volume.
However, as always it is important to note that this Round 1 estimate has the most potential for variance from the eventual and actual size of the crop.
Spring spread slowly this year and not all of our orchards are far enough along to determine how much of their crop will remain on the tree until harvest. These 'drops' are taken into account in our subsequent estimates.
Despite a few weeks of cool weather in the earlier regions, overall we’re expecting a strong start to the Northwest crop in June.
The Yakima Valley had an earlier start to the year, and have maintained that heat advantage.
Given that, we expect to see both regions begin picking along similar timelines which in turn should make more fruit available to retailers from the outset.
This should be welcome news to retailers, who are hungry to ramp up their cherry dollars for the summer.
Note that the later-producing districts like Parkdale, Brewster Flats and Wenatchee Heights are considerably lower than the earliest regions. In fact, the separation between early and late bloom is as large as we’ve seen in a decade.
This strengthens the likelihood that we’ll see a solid late season opportunity this year.
The 2018 crop on the trees gives every indication of a fantastic season to come for growers and retailers alike.
Make sure your departments are ready for the arrival of the Northwest crop to take advantage of the 'light' cherry shopper. While they may typically buy only 1 bag per season, their impact results in a 65% increase in cherry dollar sales when they begin to buy.
Unfortunately for most retailers, those light buyers are the impulse buyers who may or may not know Northwest cherries are available. So to expand that dollar boost back into June, make sure your cherry customers know that the Northwest crop has arrived!
If you'd like help promoting that message, contact your Northwest Cherries representative today.
See this article and graphs in Tree Fruit May 2018