Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook - September 2011

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At 175 (1990-92=100), the index of prices received by fruit and tree nuts growers in August was the highest so far this year and a record high compared with previous August indices. August grower prices for major noncitrus fruit (apples, pears, grapes, peaches, and strawberries) as well as for fresh oranges and grapefruit were up significantly from the same time last year, boosting the August index up 16 percent from the August 2010 index. Harvest delays due to colder-than-normal and wet weather this spring resulted in generally tight early 2011/12 fruit supplies, strengthening their prices.
USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) initial forecast in August for the 2011 U.S. apple crop was 9.51 billion pounds, up 2 percent from last year’s crop and about the same as the previous 5-year average. Production growth will come mainly from higher production in the central United States, led by Michigan. Fresh-market production will likely be down in 2011/12, mainly reflecting reduced production in Washington and in various other States. The anticipated smaller fresh-market crop, harvest delays, and dwindling supplies from the previous crop boosted early 2011/12 fresh apple prices.

Agnes Perez
Kristy Plattner
Katherine Baldwin