Cherry production forecast up 46% from 2008

by Ron Sterk
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WASHINGTON — Combined U.S. tart and sweet cherry production was forecast at 517,000 tons in 2009, up 46% from last year, according to the annual Cherry Production report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Tart cherry production in 2009 was forecast at 142,000 tons, up 32% from 2008 and up 12% from 2007, according to the U.S.D.A. Production in Michigan, the largest tart cherry producing state, was forecast at 110,000 tons, up 33% from last year when multiple spring freezes and wet weather during pollination hampered fruit set in parts of the state.

Sweet cherry production was forecast at 374,000 tons in 2009, up 52% from 2008 and up 21% from 2007. Production in Washington, the largest sweet cherry producing state, was forecast at 200,000 tons, up 11% from the June forecast, up 100% from a year ago and 27% above the 2007 output. In 2008 cool temperatures during bloom inhibited honey bee activity and pollination in Washington, followed by a mid-April frost that severely damaged much of the crop, according to the U.S.D.A.

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