Posts Tagged “El Nino”
The roller coaster ride of western winter desert vegetables has seen peaks and valleys in volume over the past three months and it is not over yet.
Light shipments of Western vegetables occurred in holidays ranging from Thanksgiving and Christmas through New Years and well into January. Then volume experienced a dramatic increase with lettuce and many vegetables heading into February. However, a potential shipping gap is looming as it appears winter vegetable shipments may come to a conclusion in mid- to late March. This would be ahead of the transition for many produce shippers to the Salinas and Santa Maria valleys.
The winter weather forecasts of hugh amounts of rains El Niño in Southern California have failed to materialize. Although a wet March is still being forecast. If that occurs and it drenches the desert, an even earlier end to vegetable shipments would most likely occur.
Some are saying that regardless of the El Niño situation, desert loadings are going to end early. While Salinas Valley vegetable shipments might get an early start, volume still will be light.
There will be some early Salinas fields harvested from mid-March to mid-April, but shipments will be variable at best.
Yuma, AZ vegetables shipments – grossing about $5700 to New York City.
Unseasonable heat brought on an early, heavier-than-normal shipments for the Florida strawberry season, which started before Thanksgiving and lasted through Christmas. Now strawberry shipments are in a lull and are not expected reach decent volume by Valentine’s Day, February 14th, which is a popular event for the fruit. Assuming shipments ever get on “normal” track this season, loadings should continue through March.
Changing weather patterns are impacting fruit and vegetable production across North and South America, and it is not just field-grown produce that is being affected.
Wintertime any year can pose it own set of problems relating to shipping volume, gaps, and quality for California produce shipments. But this year is becoming even more unpredictable with the California El Niño storm season underway, which can translate into weeks of frequent rain, resulting in harvest delays or damage to strawberries, citrus and vegetables.
Rain is predicted through the end of January, which can affect late March and early April produce shipments after the seasonal transition from the California and Arizona deserts.
The Yuma, AZ shipping area has already been experiencing much lighter shipments of cauliflower, broccoli and celery.
Central California plantings (San Joaquin Valley), including the Huron district, is already a concern to many produce growers who hope to plant on the schedule. Huron often prevents or lessens a shipping gap between the desert and Salinas for items such as lettuce.
Concerning citrus shipments, California packinghouses have been stepping up harvest in anticipation of coming rains. Thus far, shipping gaps have pretty much been avoided.
Citrus is more resistant than vegetables to rain damage, so growers work to increase picking and packing during storm breaks.
Luckily for strawberry shipments in the months ahead, the Watsonville and Salinas districts completed planting before any storms. However, drops in strawberry shipping volume is expected from Ventura and Orange counties.
Over 2016 California strawberry shipments are expected to have decreased volumes.
Above average rainfall is forecast through March in California, Texas and Florida by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Based on NASA satellite imagery, climatologists say the warming trend in the Pacific Ocean equals that of the same months in 1998, when heavy rains and flooding rolled through the regions. It was one of the two strongest El Niño’s on record.
The Salinas Valley had extensive flooding in 1998.
BOTTOM LINE….There’s a pretty good chance lighter than normal western vegetable shipments will be with us for a while.
California and Arizona desert vegetable shipments, grossing about $3800 to Chicago.