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Northwest Cherry Crop Estimate - Round 2

Round 2 Estimate down 1.5 Million Boxes from 2018 Crop
 
As the Northwest cherry industry proceeds into the "June Drop" period, it seems evident this summer's crop will be shorter than the Round 1 estimate that was released on the 14th of May.  The Round 2 estimate is down from the initial estimate by 600,000 boxes or 3 percent.  Most varieties are lighter on the tree than last season, especially the "Canadian" and yellow varieties.  While it is a decrease from the season's first look at the trees, there remains plenty of opportunity for promotional activity.  Weather, size and quality all point to a premium eating experience in 2019!  
Crop Size - First, the Northwest Cherry Growers' Field Estimate team compiled their secondary ("Round 2") projection for the 2019 Northwest crop of 243,027 tons.  That's built on data that streams in from points around the Northwest.  The field team comments are almost unanimous across the regions, and all say in general that this is a nice crop of promotable volume that's well spread throughout the trees.  It's all about the "set" this year.
Round 2 NWCG Estimate: 24.3 million 20-pound box equivalents
Crop Set - Earlier updates have discussed the crop's spread, and we've attempted to illustrate that in a variety of ways.  Below you'll find two images of the Sweetheart variety taken on May 30th in the Yakima area.  Sweetheart, along with Early Robins, appear to be the varieties down the most in projected tonnage compared to last season.  Regardless of the variety though, for the most part, the crops are spread throughout the trees in singles, pairs and loose groupings or clusters.  The top image is a great example of such a distribution along the branches.  That reduced density can equate to more energy sunk into fewer fruits over the course of a growing season, with favorable results come harvest.  
Crop Timing - Between Round 1 and Round 2, the field estimation team believed that the crop was relatively similar.  However they did note that their projected start date continued to move up.  Based on that information and projections from various packing facilities, we have adjusted the June projection from 7.8 to 9 million boxes, even though the overall crop decreased slightly.  July is expected to remain about the same, with only a 300,000 box decrease between the two rounds.  The remainder of the difference is expected to be made up in August, where projected shipments fell to just over 1.5 million boxes.  It's important to note here though that the final pick dates have remained relatively static.  The late, late orchards are still well behind the rest of the crop, as they traditionally are.
Growing Regions & Weather - This is perhaps is where we're most confident, which is hard when you're working with a cherry crop.  But it's easier to be confident when you're backed up by a rising tide of data from weather stations and field teams across the states.  There will be significant, promotable June volume this season, that's for sure.  On May 30th, temperatures across the 5-State growing region reached 88 degrees F, which is optimal for cell division and sugar build up.   In some spots, most notably our earliest, the orchards have made up almost two weeks of time compared to a grower's initial thoughts coming out of the mid-March snows. The GDD charts below show how far the crop has moved forward since early January.  But while these charts give us a good measure of the regions and their increasing velocity, it doesn't take into account variety differences, orchard site and architecture, elevation and other time-impacting factors. So while we are witnessing the front end of the crop moving forward, we still expect the back end to have promotable volume well into August.
Perennially one of our earliest sites, Mattawa has been catching up on heat and growing units since bloom.  This is great news for the early/June crop!  The black line recently crossed in the chart above is 2012, which saw the first day of shipping on June 6th that season.
The LeGrow station historically represents the Tri-Cities growing region, another early site in the Northwest.  They too have been experiencing a consistently warm spring, and have consistently been pacing ahead of typical for the region.  As many of our earliest varieties are planted here, that's great news for availability to the consumer.
Harrah has, historically, been used to represent the weather of the Upper & Lower Yakima Valley.  While the valley itself bends and presents a variety of elevation and exposure variations, this has generally been a good reference for the "middle" of the growing region in the "middle" of the northern and southern districts.
Wenatchee is a classic reference for our late season crop.  Pierced by a cold river, the valley offers two slopes with plenty of elevation variation to expand orchard timing.  Though the snow was slow to recede from the mountains and hills surrounding Wenatchee, the GDD units have been catching up lately and certainly have moved ahead of last season and several others.
High on the side of Mount Hood in Oregon, Parkdale represents one of the latest sites in Oregon.  Even there it's clear that Spring has been pushing forward relentlessly since bloom.
Crop of Rainiers- Even with the reduction in the Early Robin contribution to the yellow cherry/Rainier crop, we are anticipating the ability to maintain extended Rainier retail promotions this season.  The Round 2 estimate continues to project a strong Rainier crop, though it decreased from just over to just under 2 million boxes (15-pound).  That is taking the Early Robin impact more fully into account now, and including drop in the earlier regions.  If the Round 2 estimate and the weather patterns hold, promotable volume should easily stretch past National Rainier Cherry Day on the 11th of July.
Crop Promotion- If nothing else is certain, what's clear is that there is a worldwide opportunity fast approaching to make a success out of the summer with the Northwest cherry crop. When the pipeline opens, will your plans and programs be ready?  Our team of U.S. regional and international representatives are in the process of finalizing 2019 promotional programs and are armed with the latest materials and information from our offices.  They are always among the first to know about crop size and promotion timing, and are primed with research-supported promotion plans.   So in the meantime, please feel free to reach out with any questions or stone fruit-related topics you wish to discuss.  Together, we'll turn the 2019 Northwest crops into another success the retail trade, consumers and our over 2,100 growers.

Northwest Cherry Crop Update

Crop Size - First, the Northwest Cherry Growers' Field Estimate team compiled an initial ("Round 1") projection for the 2019 Northwest crop of 249,152 tons.  That's built on data that streams in from points around the Northwest.  Then last week, an annual meeting of growers from the 5 Northwest states convened in Richland, Washington.  While not a data-based as the official NWCG projections, an estimate is compiled from regional groups of attending growers who meet and discuss what they're seeing on the trees.  This year, their estimate was 236,400 tons.  Variance is to be expected, and doesn't mean anything in and of itself.  However, together it strengthens the impression that while this is a nice crop of promotable volume that's well spread throughout the trees.  It's all about the "set" this year.
Round 1 NWCG Estimate: 24.9 million 20-pound box equivalents
Crop Set - When we released Round 1, we discussed how the data sets had only just begun to account for "drop" in the orchards due to the late bloom.  We're progressing through that much more quickly now, and after several grower meetings this week, we feel ever more confident in two things.  One of them is how the crop is setting.

Buds were in the two flower range, with almost more "ones" than "threes" (3 flowers per bud), and that led to overall lower crop volume in most orchards.  With few exceptions, most notably in young orchards due to their vigor and growth, crop loads are down noticeably in orchards through out the Northwest.  That's especially true for the Sweetheart and Early Robin varieties, which seem to have been in critical growing points during the few cold drops over winter and the warming shift during bloom.  That's resulted into expectations of a significantly reduced Sweetheart and Early Robin crop from the Northwest this year.


Drop is still progressing, as is usual, and will be reflected in the upcoming Round Two and Round Three projections.
Crop Timing - This is perhaps where we're most confident, which is hard when you're working with a cherry crop.  But it's easier to be confident when you're backed up by a rising tide of data from weather stations and field teams across the states.  There will be significant, promotable June volume this season, that's for sure.  While we've seen some cooling over the past few days, bringing rains to boost soil moisture, we're overall well ahead of last year's GDD accumulation in all regions.  In some spots, most notably our earliest, the orchards have made up almost two weeks of time compared to a grower's initial thoughts coming out of the mid-March snows.  The consistent warmth has pushed the regions ahead together, so a combination of shipping originations will help boost promotable volumes.  But while these charts give us a good measure of the regions and their increasing velocity, it doesn't take into account variety differences, orchard site and architecture, elevation and other time-impacting factors. So while we are witnessing the front end of the crop moving forward, we still expect the back end to have promotable volume well into August.
Perennially one of our earliest sites, Mattawa has been catching up on heat and growing units since bloom.  This is great news for the early/June crop!  The black line recently crossed in the chart above is 2012, which saw the first day of shipping on June 6th that season.
The LeGrow station historically represents the Tri-Cities growing region, another early site in the Northwest.  They too have been experiencing a consistently warm spring, and have consistently been pacing ahead of typical for the region.  As many of our earliest varieties are planted here, that's great news for availability to the consumer.
Harrah has, historically, been used to represent the weather of the Upper & Lower Yakima Valley.  While the valley itself bends and presents a variety of elevation and exposure variations, this has generally been a good reference for the "middle" of the growing region in the "middle" of the northern and southern districts.
Wenatchee is a classic reference for our late season crop.  Pierced by a cold river, the valley offers two slopes with plenty of elevation variation to expand orchard timing.  Though the snow was slow to recede from the mountains and hills surrounding Wenatchee, the GDD units have been catching up lately and certainly have moved ahead of last season and several others.
High on the side of Mount Hood in Oregon, Parkdale represents one of the latest sites in Oregon.  Even there it's clear that Spring has been pushing forward relentlessly since bloom.
Crop of Rainiers- Even with the reduction in the Early Robin contribution to the yellow cherry/Rainier crop, we are anticipating the ability to maintain extended Rainier retail promotions this season.  The Round 1 estimate projected a strong Rainier crop of over 2 million boxes (15-pound), and that was taking the Early Robin impact into account.  If the Round 1 estimate and the weather patterns hold, promotable volume should easily stretch past National Rainier Cherry Day on the 11th of July.
Crop Promotion- If nothing else is certain, what's clear is that there is a worldwide opportunity fast approaching to make a success out of the summer with the Northwest cherry crop. When the pipeline opens, will your plans and programs be ready?  Our team of U.S. regional and export representatives are setting up their Pre-Season meetings, armed with the latest materials and information from our offices.  They are always amongst the first to know, and are primed with research-supported promotion plans.  Not only that, but they're getting regular updates of the buds we cut to test bloom in our office.  So in the meantime, please feel free to reach out with any questions or stone fruit-related topics you wish to discuss.  Together, we'll turn the 2019 Northwest crops into another success for both your shelves and our over 2,100 growers.
NWCG Field Team Estimate Drops by 600,000 boxes
As the Northwest cherry industry proceeds through the "June Drop" period, it seems evident this summer's crop will be shorter than the Round 1 estimate that was released on the 14th of May.  The Round 2 projection is down from Round 1 by 2.5 percent.  Most varieties are lighter on the tree than last season, especially the "Canadian" and yellow varieties.  While it is a slight decrease from the season's first look at the trees, there remains plenty of opportunity for promotional activity.  Weather, size and quality all point to a premium eating experience in 2019!  
Crop Size - First, the Northwest Cherry Growers' Field Estimate team compiled their secondary ("Round 2") projection for the 2019 Northwest crop of 243,027 tons.  That's built on data that streams in from points around the Northwest.  The field team comments are almost unanimous across the regions, and all say in general that this is a nice crop of promotable volume that's well spread throughout the trees.  It's all about the "set" this year.
Round 2 NWCG Estimate: 24.3 million 20-pound box equivalents
Crop Set - Earlier updates have discussed the crop's spread, and we've attempted to illustrate that in a variety of ways.  Below you'll find two images of the Sweetheart variety taken on May 30th in the Yakima area.  Sweetheart, along with Early Robins, appear to be the varieties down the most in projected tonnage compared to last season.  Regardless of the variety though, for the most part, the crops are spread throughout the trees in singles, pairs and loose groupings or clusters.  The top image is a great example of such a distribution along the branches.  That reduced density can equate to more energy sunk into fewer fruits over the course of a growing season, with favorable results come harvest.  
Crop Timing - Between Round 1 and Round 2, the field estimation team believed that the crop was relatively similar.  However they did note that their projected start date continued to move up.  Based on that information and projections from various packing facilities, we have adjusted the June projection from 7.8 to 9 million boxes, even though the overall crop decreased slightly.  July is expected to remain about the same, with only a 300,000 box decrease between the two rounds.  The remainder of the difference is expected to be made up in August, where projected shipments fell to just over 1.5 million boxes.  It's important to note here though that the final pick dates have remained relatively static.  The late, late orchards are still well behind the rest of the crop, as they traditionally are.
Growing Regions & Weather - This is perhaps is where we're most confident, which is hard when you're working with a cherry crop.  But it's easier to be confident when you're backed up by a rising tide of data from weather stations and field teams across the states.  There will be significant, promotable June volume this season, that's for sure.  On May 30th, temperatures across the 5-State growing region reached 88 degrees F, which is optimal for cell division and sugar build up.   In some spots, most notably our earliest, the orchards have made up almost two weeks of time compared to a grower's initial thoughts coming out of the mid-March snows. The GDD charts below show how far the crop has moved forward since early January.  But while these charts give us a good measure of the regions and their increasing velocity, it doesn't take into account variety differences, orchard site and architecture, elevation and other time-impacting factors. So while we are witnessing the front end of the crop moving forward, we still expect the back end to have promotable volume well into August.
Perennially one of our earliest sites, Mattawa has been catching up on heat and growing units since bloom.  This is great news for the early/June crop!  The black line recently crossed in the chart above is 2012, which saw the first day of shipping on June 6th that season.
The LeGrow station historically represents the Tri-Cities growing region, another early site in the Northwest.  They too have been experiencing a consistently warm spring, and have consistently been pacing ahead of typical for the region.  As many of our earliest varieties are planted here, that's great news for availability to the consumer.
Harrah has, historically, been used to represent the weather of the Upper & Lower Yakima Valley.  While the valley itself bends and presents a variety of elevation and exposure variations, this has generally been a good reference for the "middle" of the growing region in the "middle" of the northern and southern districts.
Wenatchee is a classic reference for our late season crop.  Pierced by a cold river, the valley offers two slopes with plenty of elevation variation to expand orchard timing.  Though the snow was slow to recede from the mountains and hills surrounding Wenatchee, the GDD units have been catching up lately and certainly have moved ahead of last season and several others.
High on the side of Mount Hood in Oregon, Parkdale represents one of the latest sites in Oregon.  Even there it's clear that Spring has been pushing forward relentlessly since bloom.
Crop of Rainiers- Even with the reduction in the Early Robin contribution to the yellow cherry/Rainier crop, we are anticipating the ability to maintain extended Rainier retail promotions this season.  The Round 2 estimate continues to project a strong Rainier crop, though it decreased from just over to just under 2 million boxes (15-pound).  That is taking the Early Robin impact more fully into account now, and including drop in the earlier regions.  If the Round 2 estimate and the weather patterns hold, promotable volume should easily stretch past National Rainier Cherry Day on the 11th of July.
Crop Promotion- If nothing else is certain, what's clear is that there is a worldwide opportunity fast approaching to make a success out of the summer with the Northwest cherry crop. When the pipeline opens, will your plans and programs be ready?  Our team of U.S. regional and international representatives are in the process of finalizing 2019 promotional programs and are armed with the latest materials and information from our offices.  They are always among the first to know about crop size and promotion timing, and are primed with research-supported promotion plans.   So in the meantime, please feel free to reach out with any questions or stone fruit-related topics you wish to discuss.  Together, we'll turn the 2019 Northwest crops into another success the retail trade, consumers and our over 2,100 growers.
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