Northwest pear growers are estimating a fresh crop of nearly 18.9 million boxes for the 2018 season, larger than last year’s shorter crop but in line with the five-year average.

Industry representatives released their estimate during Northwest Pear Bureau meetings Wednesday and Thursday in Portland, Oregon.
Following lengthy discussion, the Fresh Pear Committee unanimously voted to increase assessments from 44.9 cents per box to 46.3 cents per box in order to increase the amount of money devoted to pear research. Of that, 38.5 cents will go to promotion, 3.3 cents will go to administrative costs, and research projects will receive 4.5 cents, up from 3.1 cents.

The increase is the first since 2012 and only the second in 20 years.

Meanwhile, the industry’s Processed Pear Committee estimated another crop on the small side for canning at about 100,000 tons, with more orchards being transitioned to organic and more fruit being sold for the fresh market. In the past six years alone, the processing side of the industry has lost more than 1,000 acres.

In business action, the committee approved a reduced assessment of $7.15 per ton, down from $8 per ton last year. The decision reduces the part of the assessment geared to promotion from $6.35 per ton to $5.50 per ton, while maintaining research at $1.15 per ton and administration at 50 cents per ton.

For more news from the pear industry meetings, stay tuned to and future issues of Good Fruit Grower.

—by Shannon Dininny