Cherry production forecast down 32% from 2009

by Ron Sterk
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WASHINGTON — Combined U.S. tart and sweet cherry production was forecast at 413,050 tons in 2010, down 32% from last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its annual Cherry Production report.
Tart cherry production in 2010 was forecast at 97,650 tons, down 46% from revised 2009 production of 179,450 tons and down 9% from 107,200 tons in 2008, the U.S.D.A. said. Production in Michigan, the largest tart cherry producing state, was forecast at 70,000 tons, down 47% from 133,000 tons last year.

“The crop potential was reduced markedly by frosts during bloom,” the U.S.D.A. said of the Michigan crop. “Yields vary substantially among varieties. Bacterial canker was reported by growers as a problem in some orchards.” Losses caused by frost damage also were reported in most other key states.

Sweet cherry production was forecast at 315,400 tons in 2010, down 27% from 429,870 tons last year but up 27% from 248,060 tons in 2008, the U.S.D.A. said. Production in Washington, the largest sweet cherry producing state, was forecast at 160,000 tons, down 35% from 2009, with Oregon output forecast at 45,000 tons, down 33%. Reductions in both states resulted from cool, wet spring weather, the U.S.D.A. said.

Although a smaller producer, Idaho’s output was forecast at 1,500 tons, down 75% from 2009 due to a late freeze.

But production in California, the second largest producing state, was forecast at 90,000 tons, up 15% from 2009 as the result of a strong March bloom, the U.S.D.A. said.

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