Good year for USA’s Northwest cherry growers

Total Northwest cherry shipments to Australia this season reached 232,708 (20lb/9kg) cartons, and the pre-clearance inspection program has concluded. 

Northwest Cherry Growers president BJ Thurlby sent the following crop update:
“To August 5, shipments totalled just over 23 million 20-pound equivalent boxes through a brisk 67 days of shipping.
This is a new record for the Northwest cherry industry, exceeding the previous record set in 2012 of 22.96 million boxes.
A quick start and a hard run led to a quicker decline in volume at the end of the season.
Over the past week, daily shipments have dropped to less than 100,000 boxes per day for the first time since early June. Limited shipments are expected to continue for the next two weeks, and at that point the 2014 season should be near complete.
Key market destinations:
On the international front, 2014 represents the first time the Northwest Cherry Growers have seen three export markets exceed 1 million boxes: Canada (2.6 million), China (1.8 million) and Korea (1.1 million) have had astounding success as destinations in 2014.
Other key export markets include Taiwan (540,000 boxes), Japan (337,000), Australia/NZ (241,000), South-East Asia (227,000), Mexico (139,000), and the United Kingdom (124,000).”
It is interesting to note that following the lower production season experienced in California; the North-west states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Utah had sufficient chill and less rain damage.
The other factor experienced was that the Californian season finished earlier than usual, that meant there was not the traditional market overlap at the start of the North-west season.
The shortage of supply of cherries more than likely assisted with demand for product and improved pricing.
For us in Australia, after last season being a lower production year, it is hoped that the onset of chill hours—although a little late starting—will be sufficient to produce a healthy cherry crop.
Having had a rest last season, many varieties seem to be producing plenty of fruit buds therefore the possibility exists for a big production season this year. We just need to manage it well.

For more information, see Tree Fruit August 2014

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