Posts Tagged “potatoes”
The Skagit Valley north of Seattle, WA has become an important produce shipping area over the past couple of decades and has particularly become known for its quality fresh potatoes. Thus, with the collapse May 24 of a bridge in the area on Interstate 5, it is going to mean problems for produce truckers, and Skagit Valley shippers, not to mention big rigs just passing through the area.
Both truckers and farmers are constantly facing new challenges and this is certainly another one.
The Skagit Valley has built an admirable reputation for growing and shipping conventional red, white, gold and purple potatoes as well as organic red and russet potatoes, that are shipped all over the country.
A temporary bridge is expected to be in place in a few weeks, but transportation over this portion of I-5 certainly will not be back to normal when Skagit Valley potato shipments get underway in August.
The bridge collapse sent cars and people into the river. Three people were sent to area hospitals for treatment, but there were no fatalities.
It has been reported that an oversized and overweight big rig struck a girder at the top of the bridge, causing the collapse.
Shippers from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Utah released their crop estimate last week. Washington is the largest shipper fresh cherries, with an expected crop of 14 million boxes. A box of cherries weighs 20 pounds.
Shipment of cherries should get underway in early June around the Columbia River, with peak loadings taking place in the Northwest prior to the Fourth of July.
Northwest cherry shipments are expected to be similar to 2011 when the five states shipped about 18 million boxes.
Before the 2012-13 Washington state apple shipping season ends in July or August, 132,245,000 truckload equivalents of apples should have been hauled. Sure, some of that fruit will go by rail, but it is trucks carrying the bulk of the loads.
On average, the Yakima and Wentachee Valleys are currently shipping about 3,000 truckload equivalents of apples each week.
Potatoes continue to be a big mover, especially out of Idaho, which has more russet potatoes this season than it knows what to do with. Idaho is loading around 1,800 truckload equivlents of spuds each week.
Washington’s Columbia Basin and the adjacent Umitilla Basin in Oregon are providing loads of potatoes and onions. However, both spuds and onions combined, do not come even near the volume of potatoes being shipped out of Idaho.
Idaho potatoes – grossing about $3500 to Cleveland.
Washington apples – about $6300 to Orlando.
California is now shipping an astounding 7 million trays of strawberries per week, which should set another record for loadings by the time the season ends. Most loadings are taking place from the Santa Maria area and the Watsonville district.
The Salinas Valley continues to ship a wide variety of vegetables. Head lettuce loadings are providing the heaviest volume, averaging about 1,500 truckloads per week. However, there’s lots of other items ranging from various types of lettuce, to cauliflower, broccoli, etc.
This week most potato sheds should be hitting full production. Shipments of fresh potatoes from the southern region of the San Joaquin Valley should continue into early July.
There has been a 10%-plus drop in acreage of reds, whites and yellow spuds. More specifically: whites are down 13%; reds, as well as yellows are off 12%. The nationally over produced (thanks primarily to Idaho) russet acreage in Kern County is down a whopping 65 percent.
Russet acreage in Kern County has dropped to about 1,000 acres from a high of 12,000 to 14,000 acres about 20 years ago.
While Kern County shippers are predicting enough transportation with trucks, rail, intermodal and Railex, they say it will be expensive.
Kern County potatoes and carrots – grossing about $5200 to Chicago.
Salinas Valley veggies – about $7300 to New York City.
Apple shipments will remain good through the remainder of the season (late July) as about 36 million bushels of fresh-market apples, mostly in Washington state, remain in storage for shipping. This is about 21% more than last year at the same time.
The 21% figure also represents how many more apples remain to be shipped compared to the 5-year average. Less than 1 million bushels of apples remain to be hauled from other states besides Washington.
There was more fruit remaining in storages for all major apple varieties to be shipped compared to last year at this time.
Washington state apples – grossing about $6500 to New York City.
While watermelon shipments in Florida got underway in early May, it will be the end of the month before there is decent volume. Weather and disease factors will reduce Florida melon loading opportunities this season…Both Texas and Arizona are loading watermelons, with good volume not arriving until around the Memorial Day weekend (May 25-27).
Looking ahead to the Northwest, Walla Walla, WA growers have planted approximately 600 acres of the Walla Walla sweet onions this year, down slightly from the 2012 season. Sweet onion shipments should get going around mid-June and running through mid-August. In total, Washington state last year shipped non-storage onions from about 2,500 acres, up slightly from 2011.
Idaho continues trying to shed itself of another mammoth crop of russet potatoes. The state is averaging nearly 1,700 truckload equivalents of spud shipments weekly, although a significant amount of this is moving by rail….Second heaviest potato shipments are currently coming out of the San Luis Valley of Colorado, where about 575 truckload equivalents are moving each week.
San Luis Valley potatoes – grossing about $1700 to Dallas.
Idaho potatoes – about $5525 to Boston.
Not only are we nearing the peak shipping season from California, which accounts for about half of the nation’s fresh produce, but other areas, particularly in the upper mid-west and east are providing competition for trucks.
Caution Hauling Desert Items
Before I get into the Salinas and San Joaquin Valley shipments, use caution loading desert vegetables such as bell peppers and corn as temperatures well above 100 degrees have been occurring. It’s been really hot in the Coachella and Imperial valleys, as well as Arizona’s Yuma district. Little or no report of heat damage has yet been reported but keep your eyes peeled for scalding and other heat symptoms in the days ahead. Even watermelons can suffer if prolonged heat occurs.
Dozens of different kinds of vegetables are being shipped from the Salinas area. But the big volume items are various types of lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower. There also is decent volume with brussel sprouts and celery. Nearby Castroville is the artichoke capital of the world, while nearby Watsonville is ground zero for strawberry shipments.
San Joaquin Valley
This report will focus primarily on summer from from the SJV. We’ll soon cover the many vegetables coming into volume.
Stone fruit, led by peaches, plums and nectarines, are just getting underway from the southern part of the valley.
The consensus appear to be that around 40 to 43 million boxes of stone fruit will be shipped this year from the San Joaquin Valley, which would be pretty average when looking at the volume for the past five years.
California cherry shipments are building and hitting good volume just prior to the Memorial weekend (May 25-27). However, winds damaged 40 to 50% of the early variety Rainier cherries around Bakersfield on May 5th.
There also was some wind damage to almond trees in the Bakersfield area.
Last year, California shipped a record 101.5 milion boxes of grapes. The Coachella Valley, which is shipping now, accounts for 10 percent or less of this volume. The rest comes from the San Joaquin Valley, starting with the Arvin District in late June.
Apple shipments, which took at 30 percent hit last year, are expected to return to normal this year. Beginning in July, California apple shipments get underway, but this is minor (2 million boxes) compared to Washington state (129 million boxes predicted).
Located near Bakersfield, Kern County ships a lot carrots and potatoes, althouigh this time of the year you will get a better freight rate hauling more perishable items ranging from lettuce to stone fruit, grapes and berries.
Kern County potatoes shipments started about a week ago. Due to so much over production of russet potatoes around the country, this variety has been reduced by up to 75 percent. Russets have been replaced primarily with red, yellow and white potatoes.
When Kern County growers are not planting carrots or potatoes in their fields, they use bell peppers as a rotation crop. Bell peppers loadings are just starting and building in volume, continuing until November.
Salinas vegetables – grossing about $5200 to Chicago.
California desert vegetables – about $7300 to New York City.
Talking with a hauler of oversized loads and he was lamenting how rates on the moving the big stuff has dropped in recent weeks. Well, the same holds true for loads of fresh fruits and vegetables, although this is fairly predictable this time of the year when total praoduce volume across the country is much lower than during it’s summer peak.
Still, if you haul perishables, the western states are the place to be doing it — especially with this being the last full week before Christmas.
Washington state apples continue to be shipped in record amounts with about 3,200 truckload equivalents being loaded per week from the Yakima and Wenatchee valleys…..A little further south in Washington’s Columbia Basin and the nearby Umatilla Basin in Oregon, both potatoes and onions are being shipped, although in much lesser volume than with Washington’s apples.
The Columbia and Umatilla basins are loading about 400 truckloads of potatoes and around 750 truckloads of onions per week.
The Yuma district in Arizona is likely your best bet when it comes to winter vegetables. This desert area is shipping Iceberg lettuce, romaine, broccoli and cauliflower, among other items. Between these four veggies, the total truck loads are around 2,500 of per week.
Idaho potatoes are another big mover from the Western states. There are about 1,750 truckload equivalents of spuds being shipped on a weekly basis. The state needs to sell a lot of potatoes to pay for their sponsorship and ads related to the recent Famous Idaho Potato Bowl!
USA potato loads will be up eight percent over a year ago when this season ends around August. The 991,500 acres of spuds is six percent more than athe previous season. Of course, Idaho shipments easily lead all other states, but there are significant loadings available in Washington state, Oregon, Wisconsin, the Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota, among others.
Idaho is shipping about 1750 truckload equivalents of potatoes per week, although a greater percentage is shipped by rail than most other spud production areas….By contrast, Colorado’s San Luis Valley is moving about 1000 loads per week, all by truck.
Central and southern areas of Georgia are loading collards, kale, mustard and turnip tops for the holidays. Loads of greens should continue from Georgia into March or April, depending on the weather. Broccoli also is being shipped.
Chilean Imported Grapes
While Chilean grapes are starting to arrive in the USA anytime now, it will be late January before good volume and loading opportunities are available at USA ports. Grapes arriving at such ports as Wilmington, NC; Philadelphia, and Long Beach, CA are shipped throughout the states and into Canada, with volume expected to top last year.
Georgia vegetables – grossing about $2800 to Boston.
Idaho potatoes – about $5400 to New York
Colorado potatoes – about $2000 to San Antonio.
Strawberry shipments from the Plant City, FL area have been underway for more than a month, but only in very light volume. This is changing as available loads will show significant increases by December 10, and be in big volume around December 15-20. Central Florida also has very light volume with cherry, grape, roma and green tomatoes. The area also is shipping variety of vegetables. However, this overall is seasonally a very light volume period for Florida. Expect multiple pickups to involved with most loads.
You may even have to fill out the trailer from those Florida pick ups with a few pallets of cabbage, greens or broccoli from Southern Georgia. In fact, the whole Eastern seaboard extending into the Northeast and New England doesn’t hold a lot of volume, but sometimes something is better than nothing.
In eastern growing areas of North Carolina, the biggest volume is with sweet potatoes, not necessarily known for paying the best freight rates…..In upstate New York, Orange County is shipping storage onions, while central and western areas are loading cabbage. New York apples were hit pretty hard by freezing weather earlier this year, especially from western and central shipping points. Even the Hudson Valley did not escape the freeze, although it came out better than the rest of the state.
In northern Maine, Aroostoock County is shipping around 150 truck loads of potatoes a week.
Maine potatoes – grossing about $1700 to New York City.
North Carolina sweet potatoes – about $1500 to Atlanta.
Florida vegetables and strawberries – about $2600 to Boston.
This is Thanksgiving week and transportation needs and availability tend to get a little funky, or unpreditable. Thanksgiving shipments have pretty much taken place, so the greatest need for trucks is expected to come as receivers relpinsh stocks following the long holidayweekend.
The New York and Michigan apple industries got clobbered this season by bad weather, and shipments are expected to remain at record levels from both the Yakima Valley and Wenachee Valley. The 2012-13 crop year – 121.5 million boxes could be shipped.
A breakdown by apple variety, also shows in millions of boxes, the following: Red Delicious/32.986; Golden Delicious/11.384; Granny Smith/11.163; Fuji/14.796; Gala/19.915; Braeburn/2.031; Jonagold/0.79; Cameo/0.618; Cripps Pink/2.81; Honeycrisp/2.95; and others/2.982.
As of November 1st, approximately 19.1 million boxes of apples had been shipped. As of the same date in 2011, approximately 14.6 million boxes had been loaded. During 2010, that number was 14.2 million boxes.
Through early November, Northwest growers had shipped 31 percent of the 2012-13 crop, up from 25% at the same time last year.
The 19.2 million boxes expected this year are down from last year’s 20.5 million-box record crop, but overall shipments should be right at the five-year average.
Potatoes and Onions
Washington state also is a major shipper of potatoes and onions, with the vast majority of loads originating from the Columbia Basin and extending into the Umatilla Basin of Oregon.
This area combined is accounting for nearly 750 truck load equivalents of onions on a weekly basis, and another 500 truck load equivalents of potatoes each week.
Washington state potatoes and onions – grossing about $6200 to Atlanta.
Washington state apples and pears – about $5400 to New York City.
While shipments for California Navels should be heavy, it will probably be short of a record. The record was hit in the 2010-11 season, when the Central Valley alone produced 93 million cartons, and up 6 percent from the 2011-12 loads.
The first shipments took place in early November.
Red potato shipments out of North Dakota and Minnesota are nearly 35 percent head of loadings through October than they were during he same fall period a year ago. Red River Valley fresh potato shipments are expected to be the largest since 2008.
The total USA potato volume is estimated to be at least 12 million hundredweight larger than a year ago.
The North American Potato Market news is reporting that average daily shipments of russets has dropped 0.6 percent compared to last year while daily red shipments increased 18 percent.
Texas citrus season is in full swing, and shipping has begun for grapefruit and oranges. The USDA forecast for the 2012 – 2013 Texas citrus season is 2.8 million cartons of oranges and 10.6 million cartons of grapefruit.
Moderate shipments of watermelons from Mexico will continue crossing the border into Nogales, AZ through the end of the year. Overall Mexican fruit and vegetable crossing at Nogales are seasonally light, but the will change in Janaury as a host of produce items will be increasing in volume.