Archive For The “Trucking Reports” Category

National Citrus Shipping Report is Looking Favorable

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Good volume citrus shipments are expected this season from California and Texas, but the big news could be this may be the year of a turn around for Florida, which has been clobbered in recent years by citrus greening and hurricanes.

Florida citrus shipments may be up a little this year, and that may be a big deal.

The first recently released forecast by the USDA shows a moderate increase in Florida citrus shipments during the 2019-20 season.

The USDA’s first estimate for 2019-20 Florida orange loadings is 74 million boxes, up 3.4 percent from last season. The agency projected Florida grapefruit volume at 4.6 million boxes for the 2019-20 season, up 2 percent from the previous crop. Florida’s combined tangerine and mandarin crop is forecast at 1.05 million boxes, 6 percent higher than a year ago.

“This incremental increase is good news for the industry as we continue to recover from Hurricane Irma and the devastating effects of citrus greening,” Michael Sparks, executive vice president and CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual, said in a news release. “We believe that this number — if it holds throughout the year — will strike a nice balance of getting the processors the oranges they need while firming up prices to the Florida citrus grower.”

Sparks said growers are slowing building output after declines caused by citrus greening disease pressures.

“We are not out of the woods but we are making gains,” Sparks said in the release.

The USDA issues its first estimate in October of each year and revises it monthly during the harvest until the end of the season in July.

“This reflects what we’ve been hearing from growers,” Shannon Shepp, executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus, said in a release. “Florida Citrus is here to stay.”

That sentiment was echoed by Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.

“Today’s forecast reflects the resilience of Florida’s citrus growers, dedication to the citrus industry, and commitment to innovation in the face of challenges,” Fried said in the release. “Citrus is Florida’s signature crop, and we’re committed to supporting our citrus producers with new research, technology, and techniques to fight the spread of citrus greening.”

California, Texas Shipments 

In California, navel orange shipments are predicted to be at 47 million boxes, down 6 percent from last season’s final estimate.

The California valencia orange forecast is 9 million boxes, unchanged from last season. Texas orange Volume is forecast at 2.70 million boxes, up 8 percent from a year ago.

Meanwhile, the combined tangerine and mandarin forecast for California is 23 million boxes, down 12 percent from last season.

Grapefruit loadings in California is forecast at 4.2 million boxes, up a whopping 32 percent compared to last season.

Texas grapefruit shipments are projected at 5.7 million boxes, down 7 percent from last year.

Lemon volume in 2019-20 is forecast at 20 million boxes in California, 12 percent less than last season. Arizona lemon output is pegged at 1.4 million boxes, 4 percent higher than last season.

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Wisconsin Cranberry Shipments Similar to a Year Ago

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Wisconsin cranberry shipments are the largest in the world, and peak loadings are now occurring as Thanksgiving (November 28th) will be here soon.

DuBay Cranberry Company of Junction City, WI points out the Badger State has been the nation’s leading cranberry producer for the past 26 years. The company works with about 250 farmers throughout 20 counties in the state.

Last season the Wisconsin cranberry production totaled over 5.5 million barrels, equaling about 20,600 acres. Farmers believe this year will be about the same.

Other states producing cranberries are Massachusetts, Washington and New Jersey.

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California Pomegranate Volume to be Up at Trinity Fruit

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California pomegranate shipments are expected to be off some from a year ago, but volume from Trinity Fruit Sales Co. of Fresno, CA is forecast to be up about 5 percent due to new plantings.

Harvest started in early September with the company’s proprietary Aco variety, which originated in Israel. The company cites this variety as better than other early varieties such as foothill.

The company also has expanded its production lines this season. In addition to fresh pomegranates, Trinity Fruit has year around shipments of fresh, dried and frozen arils.

“It’s been very successful for us,” he said.


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Berry People Announce New Berry Deals to Fill Key Supply Gaps

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By the Berry People

Hollister, CA – Berry People, an integrated, year-round grower-shipper of a full line of branded organic and conventional berries and avocados, has announced new berry shipments from Mexico to fill critical supply gaps in the North American market during the fall and winter.

New supplies of premium-quality fruit include organic blueberries from Jalisco and conventional strawberries from Guanajuato and Michoacán. These volumes will complement Berry People’s existing supply from Latin America and the U.S.

Meanwhile, the company is also expanding its U.S. operations from Long Beach, CA to McAllen, TX, to better serve its growing customer programs in the Midwestern and Eastern U.S. and Canada.

New Berry Suppliers

Berry People recently began harvesting the first-ever blueberries from its new high-elevation plantation in Jalisco, which will fill a key niche in the market from now until the end of January.

“We will have predominantly organic production from this ranch, filling a generally undersupplied October-through-January window, with a focus on customers looking for the crunch, snap, and sweetness that Mexico can readily provide,” said Jerald Downs, President of Berry People

“While our South American organic blueberries are key to supporting volume retail blueberry sales at attractive general consumer pricing, this Mexican organic production will be targeted to specific programs for customers who desire to further differentiate themselves at the consumer eating experience level.”

In addition to the new blueberry deal, Berry People started harvesting high-quality conventional strawberries at its ranches in Irapuato and Zamora in October. Volumes will peak from December through January, wrapping up by the end of February.

These supplies will fill the gap perfectly between the company’s crop in Santa Maria, CA, set to peak in October and November, and its crop in Baja California, Mexico, which will peak in February through April.

“This deal is a milestone in giving us our desired transitional overlap and increasing our continuity and quality of supply in a tricky market window for strawberries,” said Downs.

Downs said that expectations are high for the inaugural season of these new blueberry and strawberry crops, which are grown on farms belonging both to company shareholders and experienced third-party growers.


The new berry deals also fit in with Berry People’s strategy to grow its customer-driven programs sustainably and fill market windows to offer a true year-round supply of organic and conventional blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.

“While the company’s individual commodity and overall category growth rate is projected above triple digits both for 2019 and 2020, we are very focused on building balance in our daily portfolio of berries,” Downs explained.

“We are working on filling our summer gaps and lulls on cane and strawberries, completing our pack-style and niche varietal offerings, and on getting better at harmonizing our supply and promotional activity, as well as our weekly fulfillment business, for week-over-week customer-grower satisfaction.”

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Strong Shipments are Seen for Nuts, Prunes and Dates

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Shipping increases are seen this season for almonds, pistachios and prunes, while declines are forecast for pecans and walnuts.

Almond Shipments

2019 California almond crop shipments are initially predicted to be 2.5 billion pounds, with volume to be 9.6 percent above the 2.28 billion pounds of the previous year, according to the USDA.

Bearing acreage for 2019 is forecast at a record high of nearly 1,2 million acres. Forecasted yield is 2,140 pounds per acre, 2.4 percent higher than the 2018 yield of 2,090 pounds per acre. 

Blue Diamond Growers of Sacramento, CA, which specializes in almonds, expressed optimism over the new shipping season as the harvest wraps up this month.

Pistachio volume hit about 986.7 million pounds for the 2018-19 marketing year, which was up 64.4 percent from a year earlier, according to the USDA. 

The Wonderful Co of Los Angeles expects this new season to be a normal off-year with California volume down 200 to 250 millions pound from the past year. The company’s pistachio harvest runs from September to August each year.

The year ending August 3st was a record on-year crop, with good quality.

Pecan Shipments

U.S. pecan volume from October 2018 to September 2019 was about 221.2 million pounds, on a utilized in-shell basis, down 27 percent from the previous year, on overall reduced bearing acreage and lower yields.

Production is down across all 8 reported pecan-producing states, with the biggest losses in big producers, Georgia and Texas. Hurricane Michael in October 2018 affected Georgia production.

In other states, pecan production declines were down due to “off-year” production in an alternate-bearing cycle.

Walnut Shipments

The 2019 walnut crop is estimated at 630,000 tons — down 6.8 percent from 2018’s crop of 676,000 tons. 

Walnut bearing acreage continued to trend upward, with 15,000 new acres coming into production this year, for a total of 365,000 bearing acres.

Prune Shipments 

The 2019 California prune crop is forecast at 110,000 tons, up 38 percent from the previous 80,000 tons forecast in 2018.  California ships 99 percent of U.S. prunes. Prune plums are harvested in August, but prunes are available year-round.

Date Shipments

Atlas Produce and Distribution of Bakersfield, CA reports the date crop in California endured a “cooler-than-normal” spring and summer, but this is not expected to affect volume. Harvest was completed this month and the company packs and ships the year around.

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San Luis Potato Shipments Starting Late, with Lower Volume

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Colorado potato shipments could be off 10 percent or more this season due to less planted acreage and weather conditions during the growing season and harvest.

Rain and cool weather last spring delayed the potato harvest in the San Luis potatoes up to 2 weeks in some areas.

The Colorado Administrative Committee reports 8 percent less acreage has been planted this season. Even with favorable weather it is seeing 5 to 10 percent less volume and possibly more for the 2019 – 2020 shipping season.

Still, potato operations such as Fresh Farm Direct LLC of Monte Vista, CO insist quality will be good even with less product.

Skyline Potato Co. of Center, CO expects yields to be similar to last season.

Aspen Produce LLC of Center, CO expects a “really nice” crop for this season.

Potatoes from the San Luis Valley – grossing about $2150 to Chicago.

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Peruvian Sweet Onion Imports are Building in Volume

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The shipping season for Peruvian sweet onion lasts longer than any other sweet onion area – six to seven months. It starts in August as Vidalia sweet onions are winding down, and continues into February and sometimes March. A high percentage of those onions are exported to the U.S.

Bland Farms LLC of Glennvile, GA is the largest grower-shipper of Vidalia onions with 2,000 acres. It has nearly that much production from Peru. The company typically ships about 2 million 40-pound equivalent boxes of Vidalias, compared to 1.8 million out of Peru,.

Keystone Fruit Marketing Co. of Greencastle, PA points out due to the long onion season from Peru, the product is imported by the country 50 percent of the year.

L.G. Herndon Jr. Farms Inc. of Lyons, GA notes Peruvian onions are particularly important to East Coast markets in the U.S. In the west during the Peruvian season there are sweet onions being shipped out of California and Nevada.

The company points out Chilean sweet onions would be exported to the U.S. in February and March, but in the past seven to eight years that volume is much less..

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Fall California Grape Shipments are Looking Strong

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California grape shipments in the fall of 2018 were up 11.2 percent from September through December compared to the previous year. A similar pattern is expected again as we close out this year.

Sunview Marketing International of Delano, CA credits a lot of this good volume to the firm’s mix of proprietary varieties.

Sun Pacific of Pasadena, CA notes their company has 19 varieties of grapes for shipping as they enter the fall. The operation has growing volume with organic grapes.

The official estimate for California grape shipments was adjusted downward from 116 million boxes to 110 million boxes. However, some observers believe the final packout could be even lower.

Top Brass Marketing of Bakersfield, CA cites excellent volume this season and does not believe loadings have been lagging as they were last year. The company sees the seasonal decline in shipments of cherries, stone fruit and melons as helping grapes take center stage from September through November.

San Joaquin Valley grapes – grossing about $6300 to New York City.

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Chilean Blueberry Exports to Hit Record Volume this Season

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Chilean exports of fresh blueberries will hit record export volume in the 2019-2020 season, as the country expects to export 115,000 tons this season, 4 percent more than a year ago.

The export increase results from new plantations registered in recent years. Chile has increased by more than 9,880 acres in the last 4 seasons, which will reach full production in the coming years.

Chilean blueberry producers created the winter market for blueberries in the United States, however in recent years there has increasing competition from other couinries including Peru and Mexico.

While Chile was still the number one supplier of imported blueberries to the U.S. market during the 2018-19 season, Chile had a 52 percent market share with Peru at 38 percent and continuing to gain.

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Lower Mushroom Shipments are Seen Heading into Fall

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Mushroom shipments are expected to be down this fall due to problems with compost and limited labor availability from some areas.

Phillips Mushroom Farms of Kennett Square, PA had adequate supplies last summer but now has less production because it is using new composting materials that are fresh off the fields. The problems resulted from excessive rains or the past two years. This caused deterioration with hay and straw to the point it could not be used. This has resulted in increasing prices for compost.

Ideally, hay and straw weather in the field for up to a month before going into the compost pile. Due to tight supplies, hay and straw are going directly from the field to the compost pile, which can delay optimum production for up to 6 weeks.

Even with optimum production in the weeks ahead the Phillips Musrooms is uncertain it will be able to have enough production for the holidays. There also have been issues with compost, mold, weather and yield issues in British Columbia as well.

Ponderosal Musrooms & Specialty Foods of Port Coquitlam reports continuin issues with its white and brown ,mushrooms., plus problems with adequate labor supplies.

Ostrom Mushroom Farms of Olympia, WA has taken two grow rooms out of production because of a lack of labor, The company also cites the rising cost of labor in Washington since 2017. In 2020 labor costs will increase an additional $1.50 per hour,reaching $13.50.

Ostorm also reports heavy demand for mushrooms during the spring and summer, when consumers usually cut back somewhat in favor of local berries or stone fruit, also has put pressure on supplies.

Monterey Mushrooms Inc. of Watsonville, CA is more optimistic stating it has 10 farms throughout the U.S. and expects to supply is costomers.

Likewise, To-Jo Mushrooms of Avondale, PA. expects to ship adequate supplies to customers into next year.

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