Archive For The “Trucking Reports” Category

Western U.S. Produce Shipments are in Seasonal Transition

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From now until spring hauling fresh produce can be especially frustrating. Not only is volume generally lower than spring and summer, but fighting the winter weather can be challenge.

We’re now in a transition from fall to winter shipments as many growing areas in the Western U.S. are moving to more southern locations. Here’s a look at some of the most active produce shipping areas and what to expect in the weeks ahead.


The Salinas Valley is shipping over 600 loads of celery weekly, but many vegetables are in a seasonal shift and now getting underway from Mexico. Salinas/Watsonville strawberries are nearly finished, while Ventura County berries are increasing in volume. The San Joaquin Valley is still loading table grapes, while the Bakersfield area has carrots.

Grapes and carrots – grossing about $8400 to New York City.


Apples are moving mainly from the Yakima and Wenatchee valleys averaging around 2500 truck load equivalents a week, with much smaller volume in pears.

Apples and pears – grossing about $6300 to Atlanta.

Washington’s Columbia Basin and the adjacent Umatilla Basin in Oregon combined are shipping nearly 900 truckloads of onions and about 375 truck loads of potatoes weekly.

Idaho, Colorado and Wisconsin

Idaho potato loadings are pretty steady from week to week averaging about 1900 truck load equivalents from the Twin Falls area and upper valley. A significant amount moves by rail.

Idaho potatoes – grossing about $3400 to Chicago.

San Luis Valley potatoes are shipped entirely by truck averaging around 600 loads each week…..Central Wisconsin from the Stevens Point area is loading about 500 truckloads weekly.


Nogales has a few items coming from Mexico in fair volume such as watermelons and cucumbers. But volume is building, along with countless other vegetables, but crossings will not hit stride until around the New Year.

Meanwhile, Western and Central Arizona is just getting underway with Iceberg, romaine and leaf lettuces, along with other items such as cauliflower and broccoli. But we’re a few weeks away from good volume.


Mexican crossings in the Lower Rio Grande Valley are increasing, but still a few weeks away from good volume. Avocados crossings are approaching 1500 truck loads a week. Items such as watermelons and tomato volume is still light, but increasing, along with dozens of other vegetables and tropicals.

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California Almond Shipments to Increase this Season

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By Sunrise Fresh Dried Fruit

California is a huge nut-growing area –and Almonds are the earliest ones to shipped.

“This year’s crop is estimated to be 3 Billion pounds..”, according to Jake Samuel, CEO of Sunrise Fresh Dried Fruit, “This increase is attributed to a good bloom, favorable weather in February and a large number of younger orchards coming into full production –around 100,000 additional acres!”

Sunrise Fresh Dried Fruit, besides being a provider of premium dried fruits is also a grower of both California Almonds and Walnuts.  In addition, Sunrise Fresh has developed snacks that use both dried cherries, almonds, walnuts and even pecans.

“ This year, we will harvest approximately  1 million lbs. of Almonds, followed immediately by 2 million pounds of Walnuts – and this year, it looks as though we will have some overlap –which is a challenge for the Crews.

Harvest 2020 has not been completely issue-free, as smoke from wildfires have lowered the ambient temperature, causing slower ripening.  “This will not affect the Almond quality…” continued Samuel, “…but the lower orchard temperature will slow the drying process and lengthen the overall time of harvest.”

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Ecuadorian Mango Volume Forecast to be Down 5%

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A 5 percent decline in mango volume from Ecuador as being forecast from last season.

The Mango Ecuador Foundation reports last season there were about 13 million boxes exported, but this year it is expected to be around 12.4 million boxes. Approximately 80 percent of production is exported to the U.S., with most of the rest going to Canada, Europe, Mexico and Chile.

The main factor behind this decline is the weather, especially the low temperatures in growing regions over recent months. In addition, the industry is experiencing an off-bearing year, he said.

The peak export weeks are expected to be the last half of November. Peak shipments are forecast to be flatter than normal. Although there will be a volume peak, it will be less of a peak than in previous seasons.

With Mexico finishing up earlier than normal, which created an attractive window for Brazilian mangoes, a good transition without any oversupply in the market is expected. The main varieties produced by Ecuador are Ataulfo, Tommy Atkins, Kent, and Keitt.

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Peruvian Mango Exports to Take Hit from Drought

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Peru’s mango export volumes are expected to be heavily affected by the ongoing drought in the country.

The Peruvian Association of Mango Producers and Exporters (APEM), reports Peru could export about 200,000 metric tons (MT) of mangoes in the 2020-21 shipping season, which will begin in November. This volume would be much lower than the record 234,000MT exported in the previous year, and cannot be completely explained by having high volume one season and lower volume the next.

There are other other variables in the forecast such as drought. The reservoirs are reaching historical minimum levels, with a lack of rain on the Peruvian coast, especially on the north coast, that could affect all the crops on the coast, including mangoes.

Mango plants needed to be constantly watered at this stage of their growth so that the fruit reaches the size the market requires. There also was a La Niña phenomenon in development, reducing rain falls.

The San Lorenzo reservoir, which is currently at half its capacity, stores the water to irrigate all the crops installed in the San Lorenzo Valley (Piura), which is the main mango producing area.

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Red River Valley Potatoes Bouncing Back after Dismal Season

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The harvest is over in the Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota and shippers are expected make a big rebound from a disastrous season a year ago thanks primarily to too much rain.

The Northern Plains Potato Growers Association of East Grand Forks, MN estimates 30 percent of the association members’ crops were lost, and some individual growers lost nearly their entire acreage. This year is expected to be totally different.

A & L Potato Co. of East Grand Forks expects to be at full capacity for the first time in years. Last year, the company, lost 95 percent of its red and yellow potatoes.

Nokota Packers Inc. of Buxton, N.D., started digging potatoes the week of Sept. 14, with ideal digging conditions. The company has finished it red potato harvest a couple of weeks ago.

Lone Wolf Farms of Minto, N.D., reports similar conditions and started shipping in mid-October.

Folson Farms Corp. of East Grand Forks, ships red and yellow potatoes and had some digging delays due to dry conditions.

J.G. Hall & Sons, Edinburg, N.D., along with O.C. Schulz & Sons Inc., Crystal, N.D., will started shipping potatoes out of storage from H & S FreshPak Inc., Hoople, N.D., in October. Hall & Sons is just now start to ship its own potatoes.

Growers have been shipping about 80 percent of their potatoes to retail stores and 20 percent to foodservice. Foodservice business has been hit much harder by COVID-19.

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Mexican Tomato Exports to Increase, USDA Forecasts

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Mexican tomato exports to the U.S. in 2020-21 are expected to increase 2 percent compared with 2019-20 levels, according to the USDA.

Mexico tomato exports tomatoes have increased from $406 million in 1995 to $2 billion in 2019, and the U.S. accounts for 99.7 percent of all Mexican exports. Mexico’s tomato planted area from October 2019 to March 2021 is forecast at 114,928 acres, 3 percent higher than the previous year.

The USDA annual report on Mexican tomatoes forecasts exports to the U.S. from October to September 2021 will total 1.87 million metric tons, 2 percent above the previous year.

Since Mexican tomatoes are produced in a fall/winter cycle and a spring/summer cycle, the USDA measures the agricultural production year over 18 months to capture all growing areas.

Mexican tomato production for agricultural year 2020 (October 2019 to March 2021) is forecast at 3.33 million metric tons according to Mexico’s Agrifood and Fisheries Information System. That is 3 percent lower than the previous agricultural year because of volatile weather in Sinaloa during the fall and winter cycle and acreage reductions.

The forecast for agricultural year 2021 (October 2020 to March 2022) is 3.47 million metric tons.

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Fewer California Grapes Remain to be Shipped than Previous Two Seasons

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Fewer table grapes remain in storage in California than at the same time during the previous two seasons, according to a USDA report.

There were 9.3 million boxes in storage as of Sepember 30, according to the Western Fruit Report Grape Cold Storage Summary. This compares with 10.4 million boxes on the same date last year, and 12.9 million boxes in 2018.

The Scarlet Royal variety had the highest number of grapes in storage with 2.2 million boxes – 50 percent of the 2018 figure and 1 million below 2019. The next biggest variety was Autumn King. But unlike Scarlet Royal, the storage numbers of this variety on September 30 have been showing an upward trend over the last three years, with 1.7 million boxes this year compared with 1 million in 2018.

The next two largest varietal categories – ‘other white’ and ‘other red’ – have both seen downward trends over the last three years, now registering 1.5 and 1.4 million boxes respectively. Alison and Red Globe have also been declining, while Sweet Globe has been rising.

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Washington State Apple Shipments Expected 10% Lower than Earlier Estimate

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By Washington Apple Commission

WENATCHEE, WASHINGTON – Washington state, the nation’s leading producer of apples, is expecting a smaller crop yield this year. Washington produces 65 percent of the fresh apples grown in the U.S., and as growers are reaching the midway point of harvest, they are observing an approximately 10 percent lighter crop load on the trees than the original estimate released in August.

The first forecast released by the Washington State Tree Fruit Association on August 1st, predicted a 134 million box (40 lb.) crop based on grower estimates. Apple harvest begins in August and ends in early November. Currently, growers and orchard crews are about 70 percent through picking.

At the October 8th Washington Apple Commission Board of Directors virtual meeting, industry members discussed the progress of the crop and contributing factors to the lower volume; alternate bearing season lightening the number of apples per tree, a recent windstorm, and more selective sort-picking happening in the orchard as growers work to improve pack outs in the warehouse.

“It is the growing consensus that the 2020 apple crop will be lower than earlier published estimates.  This can be attributed to both a reduction in the quantity of bulk bins harvested, as well as lower conversion yields to packed boxes,” says James Foreman, Chairman for the Washington Apple Commission Board of Directors.

Sizing appears to be smaller this year compared to last season as well, but it is region dependent. Washington’s growing regions spread along the state’s major river from the bottom of the state to the north Canadian border.

The apple category is experiencing an uptick in demand due to COVID-19 bringing health and nutrition to the forefront in the minds of consumers, and as result, an increase in fruit and vegetable consumption.

The 1,260 apple growers in the state produce eight core varieties: Gala, Red Delicious, Fuji, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Cripps Pink, Golden Delicious and Cosmic Crisp®. Over 50 other ‘club’ or proprietary varieties are also grown in Washington. In addition to being the top producer of apples in the country, Washington represents 85% of all U.S. organic apple production. Apples are the number one produced commodity in Washington and have a $3 billion state economic impact.

The Washington Apple Commission is a non-profit, promotional organization dedicated to marketing and advertising fresh Washington apples internationally.  For more information on the Washington Apple Commission, visit

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Mississippi Sweet Potato Shipments – Season Underway

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Average yields and volume for 2020 is seen by the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Calhoun County.

About a third of the state’s crop is planted there. For the last five years, the state’s total sweet potato acreage has ranged from 27,000 and 30,000 acres.

About 9,000 to 10,000 acres of that total are located in Calhoun County.

This year’s Mississippi sweet potato harvest go underway in September an initial reports from the field indicate an average yield for 2020.

Roughly one-fifth of this year’s planting had been harvested as of September 21, according to a report from the USDA. At that time 64 percent was graded in fair condition, with 26 percent rated good.

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Chilean Blueberry Exports will have 50% of Volume Coming to U.S.

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With the Chilean blueberry season just starting, the industry is expecting to continue diversifying its markets and offer a higher proportion of newer and improved varieties.

The U.S. continues to be the main destination market, with 50 percent of exports.

The Chilean Blueberry Committee is reporting stable export volumes for the 2020-21 season. Chile in recent years has been diversifying its export markets with the biggest growths occurring in Asia and Europe.

During the past season shipments to Asia increased by 20 percent and to Europe by 8 percent. On the other hand, shipments to the U.S. – Chile’s leading blueberry market – decreased in the last two seasons, 1 percent last season and 9 percent the one before that.

For this 2020-21 season, the Blueberry Committee projects exports of approximately 154,000 metric tons (MT) of fresh and frozen blueberries. The estimate for fresh blueberries is a little over 111,000 MT – very similar to the volumes of the last two seasons, representing a 2 percent increase over last season.

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