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Northwest Cherry Growers have issued their Round One estimate for this year’s cherry crop, and it’s bullish: up 39 percent from last year.

The Northwest Cherry Crop Estimate: Round #1 calls for 19.96 million 20-pound equivalent boxes, up from the previous year’s disappointing 14.3 million boxes. The group cautions that the first round estimates has the most potential for variance from the actual crop.

If the crop actually hits that prediction, the 2014 crop will be exceeded only by 23 million boxes in 2012 and 20.5 million boxes in 2009.

Here’s what the group says:

The Northwest (NW) Cherries Field Estimate team has compiled a Round #1 estimate for the 2014 Northwest Cherry crop.  Over a series of 4 rounds of projections during the crop’s early development, the 17-person estimation team looks at crop potential across all growing districts with each member submitting data specific to their active growing districts.  This data is built into an estimation model that uses fieldmen assessments of current crop load, historical data, degree days, crop expansion and average processing tonnage data to formulate an estimate.

The Northwest (NW) Cherries Field Estimate team has compiled a Round #1 estimate for the 2014 Northwest Cherry crop.  Over a series of 4 rounds of projections during the crop’s early development, the 17-person estimation team looks at crop potential across all growing districts with each member submitting data specific to their active growing districts.  This data is built into an estimation model that uses fieldmen assessments of current crop load, historical data, degree days, crop expansion and average processing tonnage data to formulate an estimate.

This year, that data has produced a 2014 Round #1 estimate of 199,566 metric tons or 19.96 million 20-pound equivalent boxes.   As always, it is important to note that this First Round estimate has the most potential for variance from the eventual actual size of the crop; not all of our orchards are far enough along to determine what will actually stay on the tree.  However, as of today the estimation team is predicting a crop that will be up 39% from last year’s 14.3 million box crop.

Relative to crop progression, many districts are showing the largest accumulation of Degree Day Units in the past 8 years. We’ve included today’s Growing Degree Day Unit chart to illustrate where the timing of this crop is relative to other production years.  The warmer weather this spring indicates that this year’s harvest will begin in early June; leading to ample volume available for the U.S. 4th of July holiday.

As illustrated by the GDD chart within the report, there remains a very nice spread between production districts.  This year Yakima (Harrah) and Brewster (BF) districts are over 218 degree days apart.  A greater spread is more time to progress through harvest.  If the spread continues, the NW industry should get between 80 and 90 days to sell the entire crop.