US: Northwest Cherry Crop Update Estimates 205,032 Tons for the Season


Here is a crop update for the Northwest cherries.

First, the Northwest Cherry Growers’ Field Estimate team has compiled an initial projection for the 2020 Northwest crop. This year that estimate is 205,032 tons. However, as always it is important to note that this Round One estimate has the most potential for variance from the eventual and actual size of the crop. A generally warm January and February gave the crop one of the earliest starts on record. Since then, however, relatively cool weather has tempered progression. This was especially true during pollination. As always, it will take a few weeks to determine how much of this year’s crop will remain on the tree. These “drops” are natural and taken into account in the subsequent estimates.

The generally warm months of late winter and early spring got the ball rolling in the early districts while the more northern and higher elevation districts were still seeing lower temperatures. So while a strong start to the crop is expected in the last few days of May, it is also expected to have one of our largest spreads between early and late districts. That’s illustrated in the Accumulated GDD Chart above.  Tri-Cities and Mattawa, both early districts, show a typical spread. 

Harrah, the sample station for the mid-season Yakima Valley district, is showing one of the widest spreads to date with the late season Chelan district. In a year where many retailers are experiencing reduced store trips and customers looking for a taste of summer, a strong June start and a longer crop is about as best as can be hoped for at this stage. Historically, this type of separation in degree days across the districts points to a full season where the industry will have 95 plus days of sales to move the crop. 

Northwest Cherry Growers are anticipating the ability to maintain extended Rainier retail promotions this season, as the estimate is projecting a strong Rainier crop of over 2 million boxes (15-pound).  If the Round 1 estimate and the weather patterns hold, then it is shaping up to be a great year for Rainier exposure, with promotable volume easily stretching past National Rainier Cherry Day on the 11th of July. 

By Fresh Plaza