Northwest pear growers have released their latest crop estimate for the 2019-20 season. The estimate is based on data reported from Washington's Wenatchee and Yakima districts and Oregon's Mid-Columbia and Medford districts. While the initial season estimate - reported in May - came in at 17.3 million standard box equivalents, the current estimate is around 18.6 million standard box equivalents, or 408,800 US tons. This marks an 8% increase from the initial crop estimate, coming in 1% higher than the 5-year average and 1% less than the 2018 harvest.
"The increase from the initial estimate is due to the fruit sizing up very well in the last two months. Growers are reporting large, beautiful fruit on the trees with sizes that are in demand from retailers in the U.S. and Canada. With ample larger sized pears, there will also be plenty of smaller fruit to fill the demand for bagged pears and for the export markets that prefer smaller fruit," stated Kevin Moffitt, President and CEO of Pear Bureau Northwest (PBNW).
Picking is just about to begin throughout the four growing regions of the Northwest and will continue throughout August and September. Pick dates for the 2019-20 season are later than last season, but close to the historical average. Starkrimson harvest is beginning this week in most districts, with the Bartlett picking starting this week in Mid-Columbia and next week in the other districts. Later in the month, harvest of Comice, Bosc, Forelle and Seckel will begin along with Anjou harvest, with harvest completed by late September.
Based on the current estimates for this season, Green Anjou will be the leading variety with 9.5 million standard boxes (about 51% of total Northwest fresh pear crop), with Green Bartlett following at 4.8 million standard boxes (about 26% of the total crop), and Bosc with 2.5 million (about 13% of the total crop). There will be 1.1 million standard boxes of Red Anjou, representing about 6% of the crop.
Organic pear numbers are included in the overall estimate and their numbers continue to grow with more acres in transition. This year's organic estimate is 1.9 million standard boxes (42,000 tons), making up 11% of the total Northwest crop. Looking at the entire organic crop, growers project 705,350 standard boxes of Green Anjou, with the Green Bartlett and Bosc crops sizes projected at 700,550 and 273,400 standard boxes, respectively.