The California prune harvest has wrapped up, with early forecasts of a short crop at 45,000 metric tons, a 37 percent drop from the previous season.
Combined with “carry-in” from last season however handlers should have sufficient supplies for the season, according to the California Prune Board, Roseville, CA.
Growers worked through COVID-19 disruptions and wildfires during harvest, but the “optimum range of sizes” sets up excellent opportunities to market the crop this season, according to a news release from the board.
“While the pandemic has fueled consumers’ focus on healthy foods, the California prune industry regularly promotes the nutritional profile and invests in nutrition research that elevates the health benefits of prunes,” Donn Zea, executive director of the board. “We are grateful that so many consumers have chosen California prunes during this time. We plan on doing everything we can to earn and keep their trust.”
The industry is focused on maintaining a balance of supply and demand through the season.
During the 2019 season, which ended July 31, California prune exports rose 17 percent, and domestic shipments were 12 percent higher than the previous season, according to the board.
The California Prune Board represents about 800 growers, who produce about 40 percent of the world’s supply on 40,000 acres.
California prune shipments this season are expected to make a major rebound from recent years of fighting adverse weather….Also, the bad news continues to pile for the Florida citrus industry.
A whopping 99 percent increase in California prune shipments is expected from the 2017 harvest that was completed in mid September. A total of 105,000 tons, should be shipped compared to only 52,851 tons from the 2016 crop, The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service believes the prune industry has returned to a normal size harvest. The September harvest completion was a little later than usual to a delayed start due to weather.
At the same time weather conditions in recent years has created challenges for prune growers, but the trees are reported rebounding this year.
California is the world’s largest producer of prunes, accounting for 40 percent of the world’s supply and nearly of all the supply in the U.S.
Florida Orange Juice Supplies Suffering
Some of Florida’s citrus growing regions suffered total losses of some groves as a result Hurricane Irma hitting the heart of the growing region. The possible health of the industry could be threated with some groves completely destroyed, resulting in damage that will not only send prices higher.
The hurricane could not have come at a worst time as the harvest was just starting. Losses of many citrus grove operations in Southwestern Florida range from 70 to 100 percent. While some citrus trees were stripped of folage, the aftermath is grim as the hot sun barring down on exposed tree roots could threaten recovery of trees.
Other major citrus producers are Brazil, Costa Rica and Mexico. However, Mexican producers are recovering from Hurricane Katia and the recent earthquake in Mexico. It is estimated up to 90 per cent of the fruit from citrus groves in Southwest and Central Florida are used for juice.