U.S. cherry production up 12% from 2010

by Ron Sterk
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WASHINGTON — Combined U.S. tart and sweet cherry production was forecast at 457,880 tons in 2011, up 12% from 407,920 tons in 2010 but down 26% from 622,320 tons in 2009, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its annual Cherry Production report.

Tart cherry production in 2010 was forecast at 133,050 tons, up 40% from 95,200 tons in 2010 but down 26% from 179,450 tons in 2009, the U.S.D.A. said.

Despite a combination of spring frost, poor pollination, slow development due to cool, wet conditions and wind damage in various areas, production was expected up from 2010 in Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah and Wisconsin, the U.S.D.A. said. Lower production was forecast for New York and Washington.

Production in top-producing Michigan was forecast at 105,000 tons, up 56% from 2010. But output in New York was expected record low at 3,250 tons, down 17% from 2010 due to rain at pollination and cold spring weather, the U.S.D.A. said.

Sweet cherry production was forecast at 324,830 tons in 2011, up 4% from 312,720 tons last year but down 27% from 442,870 tons in 2009, the U.S.D.A. said. Larger crops were forecast for Idaho, Michigan and Washington but smaller crops for California, New York, Oregon and Utah.

Production in Washington, the largest sweet cherry producing state, was forecast at 180,000 tons, up 15% from 2010 even though the crop was developing about two weeks behind normal due to cool weather. But output in Utah was forecast at 100 tons, down 91% from 2010 due to significant freeze damage, the U.S.D.A. said.

Tart cherries are mostly processed while most sweet cherries are sold fresh.

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