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US: Smaller pear crop means higher prices

Lighter pear crops in Washington and California, the two states with the largest pear production in the United States, will result in national pear production this year that's lower than last year's. With fewer supplies, prices for fresh pears are expected to remain strong through next year.

Although Oregon is expected to have a 2012 Bartlett pear crop that's almost a quarter larger than last year's crop, reduced production from California and Washington means the nation's fresh pear supplies will be lighter this season. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's forecast for California's production this year is 13 percent lower than last year's while the forecast for Washington's production is down 8 percent. Those drops in production outweigh gains in Oregon's crop and will likely result in a 2012 national total that, at 1.76 million pounds, is 8 percent smaller than last year's crop.

With lower supplies, prices are expected to remain strong. If that continues into next season, according to the Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service, that will likely lead to a decline in domestic fresh pear use as well as limit exports through the 2012/2013 season.

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