Good Fruit Grower

January 2014

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 33 of 47

Grapes Washington Concord grape prices and production, 1995-2013 200 200 150 150 100 100 Production in WA 50 50 Cash price 0 SOURCE: Trent Ball. YVCC 2012 2011 2010 2008 2006 2004 2003 2000 0 1996 Cash prices are trending downward, production is trending upward. Tons (thousands) 250 1998 Juice grape trends for 2014 300 250 Price $/ton 300 Year by Melissa Hansen "When cash prices reach record levels, the only place for them to go is down." —Trent Ball ashington State's juice grape growers are feeling pretty good following a successful 2013 harvest and record cash prices last year. But with the big 2013 crop picked on the East Coast, the high prices are coming down, says an agricultural economist. Trent Ball, agricultural economist and director of the Yakima Valley Community College's Vineyard and Winery Technology Program, gave his take on the 2014 outlook for Washington's wine and juice grape industry during the Washington State Grape Society's annual meeting in Grandview, Washington. "To look forward, you have to look back," he said, explaining that previous grape crops have an impact on future ones. The weather cooperated during harvest last fall, allowing growers time to pick grapes before any killing frost. Berry color for juice grapes was good, though size was slightly below average. W "We had a record level of heat units, measured as growing degreedays, that drove sugars up. But the cooldown in September allowed for a normal juice grape harvest," Ball said. Craig Bardwell of National Grape Cooperative Association said that the warm temperatures allowed "everything" to ripen. "Over all, it was an average crop in terms of yield for Washington Concords." The 2012 U.S. Concord crop of around 300,000 tons was one of the smallest on record since the early 1980s, Ball said. Washington's Concord production in 2012 was average, but East Coast growers experienced damaging frost during spring, greatly reducing their crop. Juice concentrate inventories were low before the 2012 harvest. The low supply drove up cash prices last year to a record $280 per ton for Washington Concords and $286 per ton for East Coast Concords. 2013 crop Because Concord vines are prone to alternate bearing, the short 2012 crop in the East Coast set up the vines for a very heavy crop in 2013. Although final production figures for Washington were still being tallied at the time of his talk, Ball predicted the state's production this year would be around 164,000 tons—slightly lower than in 2012. "Yields in the state averaged 7.6 tons per acre in Washington in 2013 compared to 8.3 tons per acre in the previous year," he said, adding that the average Brix level in both years was 17.6 degrees. Washington State is the number-one juice grape pro! ock ducer, annually growing about half of the nation's Conrootst cord and Niagara grapes. The state's ten-year production cv. Mich 96 USPP 21,223 average has been around 195,000 tons. While Washington had a somewhat normal year, though light in tonnage, the heavy crop from East Coast producers will have • Dwarfing Future contracts for • Vigor between M-9 T337 a major influence on grape juice concentrate inventories. cherries, pears, and M-9 Pajam®2 "Michigan averaged 11.75 tons per acre, the largest • Cold hardy & apples; Niagara crop on record," said Ball, noting that Michigan's • Disease resistant • Yield efficiency similar Concord production increased 60 percent compared to ALL 2012. "New York and Pennsylvania also had high yields, to M-9 T337 • Fireblight tolerant ROOTSTOCKS. and significant thinning was needed. New York's 2013 production is estimated at 156,000 tons, up from its ten-year average of around 110,000 tons. The Lake Erie region expects to pick their largest crop on record of an estimated 225,000 tons." Ball said the 2013 U.S. Concord crop should hit around 442,000 tons—the largest since 2008. With a slightly lighter crop in 2013 in Washington, Ball Service predicts that the 2014 Washington crop will be larger due s are to the cyclical nature of alternate bearing, unless weather throws a curve ball. TO GR "When cash prices reach record levels, the only place OWERS INC. ! for them to go is down," said Ball. Instead of seeing $280 per ton in Washington, growers are seeing $225 for the Representing Over 30 Leading Nurseries in the U.S. and Europe 2013-2014 crop. East Coast prices also have dropped to $260 per ton, the first drop in price since 2005, he noted. The high cash prices pressured the concentrate prices, which rose to record highs. "High concentrate prices look good on paper, but in the marketplace, it's not such a for the largest selection good thing," Ball said. of trees and rootstocks Phone: 503-538-2131 Fax: 503-538-7616 "The concentrate price got up so high in 2011 and 2012—around $20 per gallon of 68 Brix concentrate—that available E-mail: Web: processors looked for other juices as a substitute. Cheap (Continued on page 36) NEW E APPL From the breeders of Bud 9: ® B10 FREE Call us FIRST 34 JANUARY 1, 2014 GOOD FRUIT GROWER 1-800-421-4001

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Good Fruit Grower - January 2014