Archive For The “Trucking Reports” Category

Michigan Apple Shipments are Setting an All-Time Record

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The 2022-23 Michigan apple crop is shattering shipping records.

Riveridge Produce Marketing, Inc., Sparta, MI, reports it has surpassed its all-time production record by 20-25%. The grower/shipper packs more than half of Michigan’s fresh apple crop and has a presence in all but one of Michigan’s apple producing areas.

In August the Michigan Apple Committee announced a crop estimate of a whopping 29.5 million bushels. This is 10 million more bushels than in the 2021-22 season. Michigan apple growers produced 15.6 million bushels last year, according to the USDA. Informal estimates now place 2022-23 volume at about 34-38 million bushels!

Riveridge reports this banner season is especially good news because it follows three consecutive disappointing Michigan apple crops. Part of the reason the 2022-23 crop was so good is that the trees had not been stressed by large crops for a long time. It was a strong bloom and fruit set. This year, Michigan apple trees were tight on maturity, with the fruitlets on the trees ranging in maturity within three to five days. Some years that span can vary by two weeks.

Riveridge’s apple marketing position is stronger because of a short crop in the Pacific Northwest. The company plans on filling those voids.

A strategic move for Riveridge is growing apple varieties and strains wanted by consumers. Galas and Fujis are key varieties for Riveridge. A lot of the apple industry that has focused on expensive, proprietary varieties, which the company believes has confused many consumers.

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“Sky is the Limit” for Mexican Avocado Shipments with Addition of Jalisco

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The USDA formally authorized the export of avocados from the state of Jalisco in Mexico, to the U.S. last July. This is allowing the expansion of operations for some grower-shippers and helping to bolster supplies.

Mexican avocado imports contributed a record $11.2 billion to the U.S. economy in the 2021-22 growing season, according to a recent report from Texas A&M University.

The trade organization Avocados from Mexico of Dallas, TX has said “the sky is the limit” when describing potential growth of the Mexican avocado industry. Avocados grow year-round in the Mexican state of Michoacán, providing a steady supply. And with the addition of the state of Jalisco to the import program, there are even more avocados available for U.S.

Seald Sweet of Vero Beach, FL notes the approval of the Jalisco area has significantly changed its avocado business.

The company has partnered with Las Tarascas, a family-owned company that has grown produce in Mexico for more than 20 years. The two companies have aligned with providing sustainable and high-quality product to the U.S. market with a direct line to the grower and product.  

While avocados from Jalisco still represent a modest contribution to the U.S. supply chain, they may help to break records in the future. Seald Sweet projects it will import a record amount of avocados this year.

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California and Arizona Citrus Growers Anticipate Strong Shipping Season

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California and Arizona citrus growers got off to a strong start in October and forecast a good performance for the 2022/23 season, predicting strong volumes of large fruit this winter.

USDA reports last season was down about 19%, but citrus growers in California and Arizona are optimistic. The California and Arizona citrus crop is anticipated to rebound from 2021/22’s off season.

Sunkist Growers of Valencia, CA reports this past season, California citrus had a shorter crop with most varieties. It is looking forward to a new season. Shipments of California-grown Sunkist Navel Oranges started in November, alongside the exceptionally large pummelo and Sunkist California Mandarins, followed by cara cara oranges, blood oranges and minneola tangelos.

Sunkist anticipates peak citrus volumes by January with all varieties.

At shipper/packer Bee Sweet Citrus of Fowler, CA, the company is citing larger-than-average navel oranges registering higher-than-normal Brix levels for this this time of year. The San Joaquin Valley operation notes citrus volume in California is slightly up compared to the 2021/22 citrus season, while Florida’s harvest is down substantially.

While Florida Department of Agriculture’s early estimates of the total crop damage for the state’s citrus region totaled over 80% of acres impacted, because Florida produces a very small segment of the overall fresh citrus market, Bee Sweet Citrus believes Florida’s hurricane impact will have a minimal effect on the California shipments.

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Chilean Blueberry Exports Forecast to be Down 8 %

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The Chilean Blueberry Committee, together with the consulting firm iQonsulting, have estimated a volume of 98,228 tons of fresh blueberries from Chile for the 2022-2023 season.  Small shipments to the U.S. market have already begun and will continue through February.

Volume estimated for the 2022/23 season has declined eight percent from last year.  This has resulted primarily from the Chilean blueberry industry’s intense focus on providing only the best quality blueberries to its export markets.  The industry is undergoing extensive variety renewal, with some varieties being shifted into frozen exports and other industrial uses. At the same time, growers are planting new varieties with better post-harvest conditions that will allow the fruit to arrive with the full flavor and sweetness characteristic of Chilean blueberries.

The U.S. continues to be Chile’s main market for fresh blueberries, receiving 54% of total volume.  It is followed by Europe with 34%, Asia with 11% and the remaining 2% within the Middle East and Latin America.  Chile ships 75% of all fresh organic blueberries to the U.S.  During the 2021/22 season, 22% of all blueberries shipped to the U.S. were organic, and 78% conventional.

With peak arrivals expected around the last week of December/first week of January, the U.S. marketing team is working with retail chains large and small to design programs that will drive Chilean blueberry sales.  Trade promotions will commence by early January and continue through February.

States Andres Armstrong, Executive Director of the Chilean Blueberry Committee, “Our #1 priority is delivering the highest quality blueberries to our international markets.  Planting and exporting the right varieties is key, but the industry is also strengthening logistics through new programs like the Blueberry Express. This service will begin in Week 49 and continue throughout the 2022-23 season, with less than 2 weeks transit time to the U.S. market.  It guarantees the maintenance of the cold chain, which is crucial for protecting fruit quality.”

The industry anticipates better conditions for the export of fresh blueberries. Cooler temperatures have enhanced fruit quality, and there has been greater availability of labor for harvesting, packing and logistics operations, factors that made last season challenging.  

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November Florida Orange Estimate is 28M boxes, Down 30% from Last Season

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Total Florida orange production for 2022-2023 on Nov. 9 was forecast to be 28.0 million boxes. According to USDA’s Agricultural Statistics Board, this estimate is down 32 percent from last season’s final production. 

The total includes 11.0 million boxes of non-Valencia oranges (early, midseason, and Navel varieties) and 17.0 million boxes of Valencia oranges. 

The Navel orange forecast, at 300,000 boxes, accounts for 3% of the non-Valencia total. 

The estimated number of bearing trees for all oranges is 44.0 million. 

The forecast for all Florida grapefruit production is carried forward from October at 2.00 million boxes, 40% less than last season’s utilization of 3.33 million boxes. The total is comprised of 1.80 million boxes of red grapefruit and 200,000 boxes of white grapefruit. 

The forecast for tangerine and tangelos is carried forward at 700,000 boxes, 7 percent less than last season’s utilization of 750,000 boxes. This forecast number includes all certified tangerine and tangelo varieties.

The USDA report notes that, on Sept. 28, 2022, Hurricane Ian made its first U.S. landfall along the southwestern coast of Florida as a Category 4 storm. The storm traveled directly over four of the five largest citrus producing counties (Desoto, Highlands, Hardee, and Polk), at hurricane strength. The entire citrus area was inundated with heavy winds and excessive rainfall as it made its northeastward movement over the state. Normal grove operations were temporarily halted in all areas.  

The crop season began with harvesting of Navel and Hamlin oranges, red grapefruit, and Fallglo and Early Pride tangerines, primarily for the fresh market.

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Remaining California Table Grape Loadings More in Line with Last Season

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While the amount of California grapes in storage on the West Coast was significnantly higher than the precious two seasons, the figure has now come down and is much closer to last year.

As of Oct. 31 there were 11.3 million boxes of inventories according to the USDA’s Grape Cold Storage Summary. This is up 8% from the 10.5 million boxes recorded at the same time last year. 

The figure is also down 17% from the 13.7 million boxes registered at the end of October in 2020. 

By contrast, at the end of September there were there were 10.9 million boxes in storage, which was up 18% over the figure recorded at the same point in the 2021 and 2020 seasons.

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Rabobank Report: U.S. Cherry Imports to Hit Record in 2022

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Dutch company Rabobak reports U.S. 2022 cherry imports are set to reach the highest volume in more than a decade. With some of November and December still ahead, and expected increasing volumes from Chile, imports are likely to rise in the fourth quarter.

U.S. imports of fresh cherries increased 50% through August. On that note, imports from Chile “showed an uptick of 131% year-on-year, with record volumes in January and February 2022,” the report said. 

On the other hand, cherry shipments from Canada increased by 8%, marking its highest volume since 2015. 

The availability of fresh cherries in the U.S. has increased at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 3% over the past half decade to roughly 1.3 pounds per person per year (589 grams), as per USDA calculations.

According to USDA figures, about 36% of U.S. households have purchased cherries within the past twelve months. The likelihood of purchase increases as the primary household buyer is older and as a household’s annual income is higher. 

For example, the estimated likelihood of purchase is 29% for households with an annual income between USD 25,000 and USD 50,000, while it is 43% for households with an annual income over USD 100,000. 

In terms of ethnicity, the report stated that the likelihood of purchase is higher for Asian and Hispanic households, at 45% and 41%, respectively. The same source also reports that the probability of purchase tends to be higher in the western and northeastern U.S.

Lower U.S. production

Regarding domestic production, the report states that shipments of U.S. fresh cherries to the domestic market in 2022 were down 36% year-on-year. The primary reason for the decline in production was cold spring weather in the Pacific Northwest, according to the release.

This impacted pollination and the early stages of fruit development. As a result, the season started later than usual, which created a significant gap in U.S. grown cherries, particularly during weeks 22-26 of 2022.

In May, during the California season, exports were within the range of recent years, the report said. June and July, however, saw considerable declines. Thus, through August 2022, U.S. exports were down 45% year-on-year, with significant declines in all major destination markets.

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Strong Southeast Madarin Shipments Projected from Sweet Valley Citrus Region

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Sweet Valley Citrus Region – A heavy crop of Satsuma mandarins from the Sweet Valley Citrus Region are maturing and will begin shipping about two weeks ahead of the 2021 season. “The 2022 crop looks great,” exclaimed Kim Jones, current president of Cold Hardy Citrus Association. “Color break has been early, brix is already testing as high as 11 which indicates exceptionally sweet, flavorful fruit, and we predict the volume to be higher than anticipated.”

Satsumas are an easy-to-peel, medium to large size mandarin variety, and are seedless. While not always uniform in shape and color (some green tinge is normal), the fruit is always exceptionally fresh, sweet and flavorful.

The Sweet Valley Citrus region covers a tri-state zone throughout North Florida, South Alabama and South Georgia. These growing areas share unique soil and weather that make Sweet Valley Citrus so exceptional. The Sweet Valley Citrus Region represents a resurgence of Southern citrus groves and is a great success story for American agriculture. This area was not effected by recent storms, including hurricane Ian, which had more of an impact on groves in Southwestern Florida.

All Sweet Valley Citrus is grown on local family farms, tree-ripened, and shipped daily from farmer-owned packing facilities. Satsuma labels grown in the area include grower brands such as Southern Sassies, Southern Juicys and Cherokee Jewel. Non-branded packaged and bulk fruit is also available.

“Satsumas are an early winter delight and consumer favorite for the holiday season,” said Mark Clikas Vice-President of the Cold Hardy Citrus Association. “We started shipping in early November, with full production available through December and possibly into January.”

The special growing conditions in the Sweet Valley region are perfect for other varieties of citrus too, and Sweet Valley Cara Cara oranges, along with Tango, Kishu and Shiranui mandarins, will be shipping November to mid-January as well.

About Sweet Valley Citrus
The Sweet Valley Citrus region spans a tri-state zone throughout the North Florida, South Alabama and South Georgia. These growing areas share unique soil and weather that make Sweet Valley Citrus sweeter and more flavorful. All citrus varieties, including Sweet Valley’s famous Satsumas, are grown on local family farms, tree-ripened, and shipped daily from farmer-owned packing facilities.

The Sweet Valley Citrus brand was created by the Cold Hardy Citrus Association, a 501(c)(5) organization established in 2017 to ensure all producers in the region have a unified voice in an emerging industry, and to provide education on best farming practices. Members include growe

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U.S. Potato Shipments Predicted Down; ND, Wash Up, While Idaho is Off

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The North American Potato Market News (NAPMN) recently forecasted North Dakota and Washington as the only two states that will have significant increases in potato shipments this fall. The report shows North Dakota’s production to be up 1.8 million hundredweight (cwt.) and Washington’s production to be up about 6 million cwt. Harvested acres are expected to be up significantly in both states.

The national scene is much different however, NAPMN is forecasting U.S. production at 402.1 million cwt. which would be down about 7.7 million cwt. compared to 2021. Idaho is forecast to lead all states with the largest decrease in production; down 11.9 million cwt. compared to last year. Idaho planted 290,000 fewer acres to potatoes this spring.

Wada Farms Marketing Group of Idaho Falls, ID concluded its potato harvest several weeks ago, with quality looking very good for the 2022/23 season.

It has acreage similar to last season, with yields a little higher. Quality is reported very good, although sizing of the crop is a mixed bag depending on what field they came from.

Wada Farms has been a family-run company for over 80 years, and grows more than 30,000 acres, of which about a third of that is in potatoes. 

The company started with russets but has added colored potatoes, chippers and other specialty potatoesl as well as organic potatoes.

Wada Farms is monitoring its crop and shipping schedule to have supply until next crop becomes available in August of 2023. With limited supplies, a strong market is seen all season.  There will be a lot of outside factors that the potato industry will have to contend with such as fryers and dehydrators and what they may do to upset the market.

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Arizona Leafy Greens Shipments are Just Getting Underway

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November 2022 has been proclaimed as Arizona Leafy Greens month by
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, acknowledging the industry’s abundant production in the state.

November also marks the beginning of the lettuce and leafy greens shipments in the state, which considers itself the winter lettuce capital of the U.S., providing lettuce and leafy greens from November to March, according to a news release.

During the 10 years of the annual observance, Arizona farmers have produced more than 90 billion servings of lettuce, the release said. The state’s farmers grow about 25% of the annual U.S. lettuce supply, according to USDA statistics.

Arizona’s leafy greens farming community creates a $2 billion economic impact annually.

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