Smaller crop, higher prices?
The 2010 Northwest fresh pear crop is estimated at just below the five-year average.
As growers gear up to harvest the 2010 pear crop, the Pacific Northwest pear industry issued an August crop estimate of 17.9 million packed boxes, down from a record 20 million boxes lasts year. The initial estimate in May was for 18.5 million boxes this season. The most recent estimate puts the crop just under the five-year average.
Dan Kelly, assistant manager at the Washington Growers Clearing House Association, said he expects pear f.o.b. prices to rebound because of the lower volume in the coming season. The average f.o.b. price for winter pears during the 2009 season was around $2 a box lower than the previous year when it averaged close to $20 a box.
Production of all varieties is expected to be down this season from a year ago. Washington’s Wenatchee and Yakima districts expect to harvest 10.7 million boxes of fresh pears, down from 12.1 last year. Oregon and Washington’s Mid-Columbia regions are forecasting a crop of 7.2 million boxes, down from 8.0 million boxes last year.
Fresh organic pear production should be about the same as a year ago at 800,000 boxes, according to the estimate.