Fruit and tree nuts outlook - September 2023

USDA forecasts almond, apple, apricot, grape, pear, sweet cherry and walnut production up

The 2023/24 season has begun for many fruit and tree nuts. USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) forecast almond, apple, apricot, grape, pear, sweet cherry, and walnut production up while peach, tart cherry, and cranberry production are expected to decrease. Good spring weather in 2023 in the Pacific Northwest was a major reason for the increased production of apples and sweet cherries. While winter and spring rainfall in California helped drought conditions, a cool spring lowered yield for some earlier blooming crops. At the same time, inadequate chill hours and spring freeze events also negatively affected production in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast, leading to declines in peaches, tart cherries, and cranberries in several States.

Organic pear exports on the rise: On average over the last 3 years, fresh market pears accounted for approximately 76 percent of utilized production with one-quarter of that production destined for the export market. During the 2022/23 pear marketing year (July–June), export volume fell to its lowest level since the 1989/90 season. USDA, FAS, noted that high prices and inflation dampened demand for U.S. pears in top market Mexico.

While export volumes for fresh, conventionally produced pears were down 20 percent in 2022/23 compared to last season, organic fresh pear volume was up 42 percent. The share of organic export volume for fresh pears has increased in recent years, accounting for 26 percent in 2022/23 up from 11 percent a decade ago.

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