Tart cherry growers are used to large production swings. Large crops tend to lead to smaller crops. This was the basis for the Federal Marketing Order when it was put in place in 1996. Taking the production from a large crop and creating a “hold back” enables the industry the chance to keep customers in short crop years. This year, 2010, is no exception. Last year, the industry produced a record crop of over 350 million pounds. The inventory went up as a result of a high quality crop, grown under ideal weather conditions, with exceptional yields. In 2009, we had an average production of 10,000 pounds of red tart cherries per acre. The 2010 tart cherry crop will be substantially less. This smaller crop will work well to stabilize supplies and price, two important components for the manufacturers who are our customers. The “tools of the trade,” while never perfect, are ideal in managing crops that have large production swings.
Tools of the trade