Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook September 2010
Smaller Crops This Year Boost Fresh-Market Apple, Pear, and Grape Grower Prices
The index of prices received by fruit and tree nut growers in August, reported at 158 (1990- 92=100), was 12 percent above the 2009 August index. Strength in the August index stemmed from grower price gains realized mostly for fresh-market grapes, apples, pears, strawberries, and lemons. The price increases for these commodities in August more than offset significant price declines for fresh-market peaches, grapefruit, and oranges.
USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) initial forecast for the 2010 U.S. apple crop was set at 9.5 billion pounds, down 4 percent from last year and fractionally smaller than the average crop size during 2004-08. Several apple-producing States in the eastern and central portion of the country experienced poor weather conditions, driving down their production this year. Overall production declines in both regions will offset the anticipated output increase in the western region, led by Washington State, the Nation’s largest apple producer. In light of the anticipated smaller 2010 crop, fewer supplies remaining from last year’s crop have combined with continued strong product movement to markets, providing strength to U.S. fresh-market apple grower prices.