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US: Most agricultural commodities neutral to profitable

Northwest Farm Credit Services, the Northwest’s leading agricultural lending cooperative, has released its quarterly Market Snapshot reports, looking at the state of major agricultural commodities in the region. Industry teams working throughout Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington monitor conditions and report outlooks for commodities financed by the co-op.

The 12-month outlook for agricultural commodities is summarized by category here:

Apple growers should look ahead to slightly profitable returns. Growers indicate the crop will be below the Aug. 1 estimate of 131 million boxes as many varieties are picking lighter than anticipated. Good quality and shorter supplies should result in high packouts and good returns to growers. Tariffs are a headwind. Even as tensions have cooled with the proposed trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, tariffs remain on the table for Washington’s third-largest export market, India.

Northwest cherry growers should anticipate break-even to slightly profitable margins, depending on harvest timing. After last year’s record crop, the smaller supplies were welcomed by growers. Good quality and strong consumer demand resulted in optimism for strong returns. However, tariffs complicated export markets and sales desks delayed finalizing pricing. As returns to growers are being finalized, many are below expectations.

Pear growers should be slightly profitable. After four years of reduced tonnage, growers are warmly welcoming a large crop. The increased supply is pressuring prices. However, good quality should lead to high packouts and boost growers’ returns. Fruit size varies across varieties. Large-sized fruit will capture favorable prices, while smaller fruit is hard to market and prices will be pressured.

The nursery/greenhouse industry should be profitable. Strong economic factors continue to boost consumer confidence and their willingness to pay more for plants. Sales and prices have increased. However, the industry continues to struggle with labor and is looking behind every bush for solutions.

Onion producers may see break-even returns. Favorable weather conditions allowed harvest to begin at least one week earlier than normal in many areas. Prices remain subdued for yellow onions due to lower-quality onions from California in the supply chain. Red and white onions remain profitable.

Northwest FCS’ 12-month outlook suggests grower returns will remain slightly profitable for uncontracted potatoes and profitable for contracted potatoes. Fresh market (uncontracted) potatoes may slip toward breakeven during harvest. However, uncontracted prices will likely improve for the remainder of the marketing season depending on crop quality and pack-out.


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