Jun 22, 2006
Sweet Cherry Production Up 7 Percent

U.S. sweet cherry production is forecast at 268,400 tons, up 7 percent from 2005 but 5 percent below 2004, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Beginning with the 2005 forecast, Pennsylvania was discontinued from the sweet cherry estimating program.

The Washington crop forecast of 150,000 tons is unchanged from the June Crop Production report. The crop is 9 percent above 2005 and 12 percent above the production of 2004. If realized, this will be a record high production for Washington surpassing the previous record high set last year. Eastern Washington producing areas experienced a relatively mild winter. This increased crop size is due to favorable spring growing conditions combined with increasing production from new bearing trees.

Oregon production is forecast at 50,000 tons, also unchanged from the June Crop Production report. The crop is 79 percent above 2005 and 16 percent above the production of 2004. Spring conditions have been ideal for many sweet cherry producing areas throughout Oregon.

Production in California is forecast at 45,000 tons, 15 percent less than last year. The California forecast is carried forward from the June 1 forecast. Excessive rain during bloom resulted in poor pollination. This, combined with a lack of chilling hours and an extreme freeze in February, created undesirable conditions for fruit set. Harvest peaked during the first two weeks of June.

The Michigan crop is forecast at 17,000 tons, 37 percent below the 2005 production and 31 percent less than the 2004 crop. Frost caused fruit damage in many areas and fruit drop is higher than average.

Idaho is expecting a sweet cherry crop of 3,200 tons, up 88 percent from last year and 3 percent above 2004. If realized, this crop would be the largest production in more than a decade.

Utah is forecasting production to be 2,100 tons, up 17 percent from 2005 and a 31 percent increase from the 2004 crop. Fruit set and quality are reported to be higher than last season.

New York production is forecast at 1,100 tons, 38 percent above the 2005 crop and 22 percent greater than 2004. Production areas are experiencing average to above average growing conditions.

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