Pacific Northwest pear growers are expecting to harvest a large, but not record winter pear crop this fall.

The industry’s first official crop estimate, compiled in late May, is for 14.75 million boxes of fresh winter pears, of which 10.4 million boxes should be d’Anjou pears. That’s an 11 percent increase from last year, but the estimate is well below the record 15.8 million boxes harvested in 1995.

The summer/fall pear crop (mainly Green and Red Bartlett) is estimated at 4.4 million boxes, up 6 percent from last year, and similar to two years ago. The estimate of the Red Bartlett crop is up 26 percent from last year.

California is forecasting a total fresh pear crop of 3.6 million 36-pound boxes, down from 4.4 million last year.

Kevin Moffitt, president of the Pear Bureau Northwest, reported during the annual pear meetings in Portland, Oregon, that the California industry expected to harvest a clean crop of 2.9 million cartons of Bartletts and 100,000 cartons of Starkrimson pears. Pear acreage has come out of production, and the fresh Barlett estimate is 24 percent less than last year. Comice production is expected to drop by about 40 percent to 25,000 cartons.

Mike Naumes of Medford, Oregon, thought that California’s Comice crop might be even smaller than estimated—perhaps as low as 10,000 cartons.

Pear Bureau directors approved a budget for 2009–2010 of $11.3 million, which was based on an expected 14.5-million-box winter pear crop and 4.4 million-summer/fall pear crop. The budget may be adjusted in the fall in line with the volumes harvested. The bureau’s income includes $3.4 million in federal Market Access Program funds for export promotions. The assessment rate for promotions remains at 44 cents per box for winter pears and 30 cents a box for fall pears. The Fresh Pear Committee, which administers the marketing order for fresh pears, also collects 3.1 cents per box for pear research.