Sep 22, 2014
CIAB releases 320 million pounds of tart cherries

The Cherry Industry Administrative Board (CIAB), the national marketing order for red tart cherries, convened Sept. 11 in Pasco, Washington, to review this year’s crop and determine the quantity of tart cherries that should be made available to the domestic market for the current crop year, 2014/15.

The September determination is based upon actual production and is a follow-up to the determination made in June, which is based upon the estimate of the tart cherry crop.

This year’s tart cherry harvest was 297.7 million pounds. It was the fourth largest crop produced since 1997, the start of the marketing order. Actual production exceeded the estimate by 33.7 million pounds. Growers and handlers were very happy with the quantity and the quality of the cherries, which was generally excellent, according to CIAB.

Each September, the board is charged with recommending to USDA’s Secretary of Agriculture the volume of cherries to make available to the domestic market and the volume to retain in inventory reserves as an offset to potential crop shortfalls, such as occurred in 2012. The tart cherries that are made available to the domestic market are deemed “free” cherries under the terms of the order. Those held off of the free market are referred to as “inventory reserves,” according to CIAB.

CIAB recommended that 320 million pounds of tart cherries be made available for the market, which is the calculated demand for them. This volume of “free” cherries derives both from the current year’s production and the tart cherries carried into the year by the handlers/marketers. The free cherries are more than adequate for the calculated “free” sales volume in the total demand, and they will also provide marketers with additional tart cherries with which to develop increased demand. Given the amount of tart cherries made available for the domestic market, the industry will be in an excellent position to continue its strong rebound from the crop failure of 2012, according to CIAB.

There are 59 million pounds of tart cherries that are to be included in the inventory reserves, for protection against possible future crop failures or shortfalls. Accordingly, CIAB recommended that there be a restriction of 20 percent on this year’s tart cherry crop, reflecting the importance of establishing inventory reserves for future short tart cherry crops.

The determination regarding the quantity of tart cherries to make available for the domestic market and for the marketing reserves is done according to the Optimum Supply Formula. The outcome is a function of crop size, demand and other relevant factors. Such other factors can include market conditions, the circumstances leading up to the current harvest, the quality of the current crop, expected movement for cherries throughout the year, the impact of competing product and other components, according to CIAB.

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