Frutas y HortalizasJun. 10, 2011
Estiman producción récord en Washington y Oregon
Washington and Oregon pear growers are looking for a near record fall crop and still have almost double the amount of old crop to sell as they did a year ago.
The fall crop was estimated at 19.2 million, 44-pound boxes at the June 2-3 annual meeting of The Pear Bureau Northwest in Milwaukie, Ore., near Portland.
That’s 5 percent above the average of the last five years, 8 percent above the 17.7 million-box 2010 crop and just shy of the record 20.1 million boxes in 2009, said Kevin Moffitt, bureau president.
Of the total estimate, 15.2 million are winter pears and 4 million are summer-fall pears.
But the crop is expected to shrink from June fruit drop, which may keep prices strong, said Dan Kelly, assistant manager of the Washington Growers Clearing House Association in Wenatchee.
The season-to-date average wholesale price of all varieties in Washington was $21.56 a box on May 29 compared with $17.25 a year ago and $19.89 two years ago, he said. Prices are not similarly compiled in Oregon.
The crop size estimate will not be updated until September. It is used by warehouses to set marketing strategies and prices and some advance contracts.
Crop size is slowly increasing as newer and more dense plantings enter production, Moffitt said.
The estimate pegs Medford production at 1.2 million boxes, which is more than double last year. It is slightly heavier than normal after a poor year from frost damage, said Mike Naumes, president of Naumes Inc. in Medford.
More imported pears, particularly from Argentina, this year led to 1.57 million boxes of old crop left to sell as of May 28, compared with 822,000 boxes a year ago, Moffitt said.
Winter storms also slowed shipments from the Northwest to the East, he said. A 20 percent Mexican tariff continues to hamper sales there but hopefully will be lifted for most of the 2011 crop, he said.
“No one is moving the volume they would have liked at the pace they wanted, but I think we will be just fine,” said Bruce Grim, manager of the Washington and Hood River pear marketing associations.
Quality is good and the fruit will hold so it will be sold into August. It usually is sold out in July, Moffitt said. The overage is predominately Green d’Anjou and a little Red d’Anjou, he said.
The old crop will overlap slightly with the fresh California crop and early Northwest Bartlett crop but “it will get sold,” Moffitt said.
This year’s Northwest crop will be 10 days to two weeks later than normal due to cool, wet weather, Moffitt said. Picking is expected to start with Starkrimson in Medford probably the second week of August and will conclude with d’Anjou in Wenatchee and Yakima in late September.
Pear trees are more winter-hardy than apple and cherry trees, so crop loss from last winter’s freezes is not expected to be large. June fruit drop will tell that tale.
California harvested at 3.4 million, 36-pound box crop last year, selling out in October. This year’s crop estimate is expected June 23, said Chris Zanobini, executive director of the California Pear Advisory Board in Sacramento.