Good Fruit Grower

July 1

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22 JULY 2015 GOOD FRUIT GROWER T he Bartlett pear deal is in a healthy position, with both growers and canners feeling good about returns. "The pear deal is as solid as it's ever been, both fresh and processing," said Steve Carlson with Del Monte Foods in Yakima, Washington. Bartlett pears are grown in the Pacific Northwest for both the fresh and processed markets. Historically, more pears were processed than were sold fresh. For exam- ple, in 2004, two thirds of the total Bartlett crop of 227,000 tons went to canners. Over the past decade, Bartlett production has been stable, but fresh demand has been strength- ening. Meanwhile, the cannery business has been consolidating. There are now just three canners—Del Monte, Northwest Packing, and Seneca—where there used to be five. Carlson said supply and demand are in good balance and processors' inventories are low. The three processors are running at 80 or 90 percent capacity, up from 50 to 60 percent when there were more canners in the business, which makes them more efficient. "In the past we've had inventory problems," he said. "When you get oversupply, you carry too much inventory and people start dropping the prices. "What's holding this so solid now is we don't have an oversupply. We're not going out and planting thousands of acres of pears. It's very stable. Canners are making money; growers are making money." Record prices Earlier this year, the Washington-Oregon Canning Pear Association negotiated a contract that gives growers higher returns on processing pears than ever before. The price for No. 1 grade Bartletts is $320 per ton in 2015, up from $272 in 2014. The three-year contract will give growers $340 a ton in 2016 and $360 in 2017. (Figure 1) Jay Grandy, manager of the Canning Pear Association, said the 2015 total Bartlett crop is forecast at 228,000 tons (down from 238,000 tons last year), but the processed share could increase to 120,000 tons (up from 117,000 tons last year). The fresh crop is likely to be around 98,000 tons, with the remainder going for juice. Grandy said the higher prices for processing pears could be a factor in more pears going to canners, but the weather is probably a greater influence. Fruit from orchards hit by this spring's hail storms will be processed, rather than sold fresh. Scarce supplies The Pacific Northwest Canned Pear Service, which promotes canned pears, changed its strategy last fall when canned pear supplies were scarce. Rather than promoting pears through food service distributors, it placed more emphasis on strengthening demand for pears by end-users, such as schools and colleges. Processed pears bring RECORD PRICES Growers and canners are pleased with outcome. by Geraldine Warner SEAFOOD FOR THE SOIL SEAFOOD FOR THE SOIL I have been impressed by my cherry orchard's response to Paci c Gro's hydrolysate. Regular feeding of the product by foliar and fertigation during the season has pro- moted vigorous branch and root growth, increased fruit size a half to full row, made fruit signi cantly rmer and also helped trees recover from a devastating freeze this past winter. I have found that post-harvest feedings, which we apply up to leaf drop, are of critical importance to improving next year's crop. One surprising thing we have found that really excites us is that powdery mildew was signi cantly reduced in our orchards after we started using Pacific Gro's hydrolysate - even in highly susceptible varieties like Sweetheart. Mike Omeg, The Dalles, Oregon Feed the soil a bio-active nutrient package from the Paci c Ocean! Liquid Oceanic Fertilizer is a cold processed hydrolysate of sh, shrimp and crab that's high in plant available calcium and chitin as well as the whole range of nutrients found in ocean sh and shell sh. CREATIVE AG PRODUC TS • w w w. p a c i f i c g ro. c o m • 503 867-4849

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