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Tight supply ahead for US cranberries

Domestic cranberries look to be tighter on supply for the 2017 Wisconsin season thanks to a combination of efforts from the Cranberry Marketing Committee (CMC) and the projected harvest of its current crop.

“The forecast for cranberries is that the crop will be down from last year’s record,” says Bob Wilson with the Wisconsin Rapids, WI-based The Cranberry Network LLC. “Additionally, the industry is trying to correct the long-term low pricing and resulting depressed returns to US cranberry growers that has prevailed in the last number of years.”

Short-term hit for long-term strategy 
This volume regulation initiative approved by the CMC is designed to curtail production—Wilson notes that proposed federally mandated marketing order overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture will require cranberry handlers who receive 125,000 barrels (100 lbs. each) or more to throw away 15 per cent of their crop in 2017. The following year, growers will be required to deliver 25 per cent less based upon a complex formula that involves averaging historical production. (Certified organic cranberries are exempt from this order.)

The current crop, on top of experiencing a slow start to the season thanks to the summer’s rainy conditions, also felt a lack of degree-growing days. “This year in Wisconsin cranberry vines seem to have generally produced a smaller crop. In 2016 where you might have counted a range of 3-4 berries per upright, this year it’s more of a 2-3 berry-count crop. And I understand that because of the lack of degree growing days, the berries we will harvest may be smaller in size.”

Pricing effect?
Altogether though, Wilson believes an immediate effect on pricing may be gradual at best, particularly on the produce side of the business which accounts for an estimated 3 per cent of total use. “I believe prices are going to be generally at or slightly below last year’s levels because of the lag time. The market has to catch up with the dynamics in play,” he says. “At the outset of this season, I think it’s going to be aggressive. Let’s see if supplies tighten and prices have a chance to move up as we get into peak demand in late-October through mid-December.”

For more information:
Bob Wilson
The Cranberry Network LLC
Tel: +1 715 422 0410

Publication date: 9/14/2017
Author: Astrid van den Broek
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


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