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U.S. production of fresh-market sweet cherries expected to be down this year

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Warm weather prompted an early start to the harvest season for sweet cherries in the northwestern United States. Despite the early harvest, U.S. production is expected to be down 6 percent from last year and 11 percent below the 5-average, mostly reflecting smaller crops in the two largest producing states, Washington and California. In California, heavy rains in May reduced the quality and size of the crop, while in Washington a shortened bloom period limited pollination and untimely rains prior to harvest undermined the size of the crop. About 90 percent of sweet cherry production is sold in the fresh market, and most of the crop is consumed domestically. Between one-quarter and one-third of U.S. production is exported, and major markets include Canada, South Korea and Japan. The United States imports sweet cherries during the off-season (when domestic supplies are unavailable), but imports tend to account for less than 10 percent of domestic availability. Chile is the primary source for sweet cherry imports, with smaller volumes also supplied by Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.? This chart is from the Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook report, released June 30, 2016.

Editor's Pick 2014, #3:<br>California droughts are but one factor in higher retail produce prices

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The severity and duration of the ongoing drought in California has raised concerns over its role in rising food prices at the grocery store, especially for fresh fruits and vegetables. In 2012, California produced nearly 50 percent (by value) of the nation?s vegetables and non-citrus fruit. Droughts in California are generally associated with higher retail prices for produce, but price increases are lagged due to the time it takes for weather conditions and planting decisions to alter crop production, which then influence retail prices. In 2005, following five years of drought, retail fruit prices rose 3.7 percent and retail vegetable prices increased 4 percent. Prices continued to rise in 2006, one year after drought conditions began to improve. However, other factors such as energy prices and consumer demand also affect retail produce prices. For example, prices for fresh produce fell in 2009 despite drought conditions, as the 2007-09 recession reduced foreign and domestic demand for many retail foods. As of October 2014, ERS analysts are forecasting fresh fruit prices to increase 4.5 to 5.5 percent in 2014 and vegetable prices to be 2 to 3 percent higher. This chart appears in the Food Prices and Consumers section of the 2014 California Drought page on the ERS website. Information on ERS?s food price forecasts can be found in ERS?s Food Price Outlook data product, updated October 24, 2014. Originally published Thursday October 30, 2014.

Growth in U.S. fresh apple exports reflects changes in supply and demand

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Most apples produced in the United States are consumed in the domestic market, but exports have been growing steadily over the past few decades. Export volume rose from an average of 607 million pounds in the 1980s to a record 2.3 billion pounds in the 2014/15 marketing year (August-July), and the export share of production climbed from 14 percent to more than 28 percent over the same period. The growth in exports reflects changes in both supply and demand. Domestic demand for apples faces growing competition from counter-seasonal imports of fruits such as grapes, berries, and stone fruits, which are increasingly available in the winter months when fresh apples were once one of the few types of fruit readily available to most consumers. On the supply side, production continues to grow faster than domestic demand, and producers have focused on many new varieties such as Fuji and Gala that are popular in key export markets. Today, Mexico, Canada, and India account for more than half of U.S. fresh-apple exports, with Mexico alone receiving more than 25 percent of the total U.S. export volume. This chart is from the July 2016 Amber Waves article, ?A Bigger Piece of the Pie: Exports Rising in Share of U.S. Apple Production.?

U.S. fresh fruit imports are increasingly diverse

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Since the 1990s, the U.S. fresh fruit market has changed, with growing imports of a wider variety of fresh fruit shaping the market. Americans now consume an increased amount and expanded variety of fresh fruit and also benefit from improved year-round availability of fresh fruits. Between 1990-92 and 2010-12, U.S. per capita use of fresh fruit increased more than 12 percent to 104.7 pounds, while the share of fresh fruit use that is imported grew from 36.3 percent to 49 percent.? The mix of fresh fruit imports changed substantially during this period?many traditional imports (such as bananas and apples) now account for a smaller share of total fruit imports, while the share for some other items (such as berries and avocados) is rising. Analysis of seasonal patterns indicates that the availability of imports and domestic products are generally complementary, with imports often making up for seasonal shortfalls in domestic fruit production. This chart can be found in Imports Contribute to Year-Round Fresh Fruit Availability, FTS-356-01, released December 30, 2013.

Drought affects California agriculture, irrigation water deliveries a growing concern

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The driest year on record for California, following several prior years of drought, is likely to have an impact on the State?s agricultural production in 2014. On January 17, 2014, the Governor of California declared a drought emergency and as of March 4, over 94 percent of California?s nearly $45 billion agricultural sector was experiencing severe, extreme, or exceptional drought. The livestock sector is more directly exposed to exceptional drought (about 62 percent) than the crop sector (just over 50 percent). Given that much of California?s agricultural production takes place on irrigated land, effects of the drought depend on the cost and availability of water from irrigation in addition to local rainfall. Shortages of irrigation water sourced from snowfall are already evident, and the extent to which growers will be able to offset these reduced surface water supplies by pumping groundwater is uncertain. Find the table underlying this chart and additional analysis in California Drought 2014: Farm and Food Impacts.

U.S. imports of many fruits and vegetables dominated by few source countries

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Imported fruits and vegetables account for a growing share of U.S. consumption and in most cases, U.S. imports are sourced from just a few supplying countries. Since 1990, U.S. per capita consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables has held steady, while the share of imports in U.S. fresh fruit consumption has risen from 12 to 34 percent and the import share for vegetables has risen from 10 to 25 percent.? Trade has played a role in changing U.S. consumer diets by making produce available outside the traditional U.S. growing season, as well as providing access to a greater variety of produce. Despite the diversity of products available to U.S. consumers, the national sources of these products tend to be relatively concentrated among a few countries, with some variation across commodities.? For strawberries, peaches, corn, artichokes, grapes, tomatoes, and cherries, more than 80 percent of imports come from a single country and nearly 100 percent come from just 3 suppliers. Overall, of the 29 imported goods studied by ERS, 18 had a single country supplying more than 80 percent of U.S. imports. Recent ERS research finds that source-country concentration does not appear to be related to U.S. phytosanitary regulations governing fresh fruit and vegetable imports, and may instead arise from market forces such as comparative advantage and specialization. Find more analysis in The Effects of Phytosanitary Regulations on U.S. Imports of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, released July 2014.

U.S. apple production for fresh use increasing

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Despite harsh winter conditions in parts of the country, total U.S. apple production is forecast to rise 4 percent to 10.9 billion pounds in 2014, the third largest crop since 1990. Abundant supplies are expected to move into the fresh apple market and place downward pressure on U.S. fresh apple prices.? Production in western States is expected to be up 13 percent, more than offsetting weather-reduced output in central and eastern States, including Michigan and New York. Washington?s 2014 apple crop is forecast to be 14 percent larger than in 2013, bringing in larger than normal supplies of apples for fresh use during the 2014/15 marketing season (August-July). Overall, about 7.5 billion pounds of production are forecast for fresh use, increasing fresh market supplies 8 percent from 2013 and 15 percent above the previous 5-year average. Early-season grower prices have weakened relative to recent years; the August 2014 average price of $0.375 per pound ?is 15 percent below the 2008-2012 average August? (USDA did not report apple prices for August 2013). Find this chart and additional analysis in Fruit and Tree Nut Outlook: September 2014.

Continued large supplies likely to temper cranberry prices

Thursday, September 1, 2016

U.S. supplies of processed cranberries will likely remain large despite a small drop in forecast production for 2014, continuing downward pressure on cranberry grower prices. Cranberry production in 2014 is forecast at 8.57 million barrels (100 lbs each), down 4 percent from the record 2013 output, but still the second largest on record. Weather conditions reduced yields in Wisconsin, the largest producing State which accounts for about 60 percent of production, but generally favorable weather benefited the crops in Massachusetts, Oregon, and Washington. Following consecutive large harvests during 2011-2013, grower prices dropped 33 percent from $47.9 per barrel in 2012 to $32.3 per barrel 2013. This decline mostly reflected lower prices received for processing-use cranberries, which account for about three-quarters of domestic sales. For 2014, continued weak demand for some processed products and above-average beginning inventories signal continued weak grower prices. Find this chart and additional analysis in Fruit and Tree Nut Outlook: September 2014.

Seasonality of grower prices for strawberries influenced by market changes

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Developments in fresh fruit markets over the past 30 years, including changing production patterns, increased imports, improved storage, and shifts in consumer demand, have influenced the seasonal pattern of prices faced by U.S. growers. ERS analysis indicates that market conditions unique to each commodity affect the seasonality of grower prices. Products such as strawberries demonstrate a classic seasonal pattern for fresh produce, with higher prices at the beginning and/or end of the marketing season.? However, there have been changes over time in the months when low and high fresh strawberry prices are realized. In the 1980s, the average monthly price index was at its lowest point in May, when shipment volumes were near their peak, but by the 2000s the low price point had moved to June, with high grower prices also shifting to later in the year. The range between high and low grower price indices did not change significantly for strawberries over the period studied, but it did for other fresh fruit, such as fresh peaches, grapes, and oranges. Find this chart and more in Evolving U.S. Fruit Markets and Seasonal Grower Price Patterns.

Avocado imports grow to meet increasing U.S. demand

Thursday, September 1, 2016

U.S. consumption of avocados has doubled in the past 10 years and is now nearly four times higher than in the mid-1990s. All of the growth in per-capita availability is from imports: U.S. net production (production minus imports) accounted for more than 80 percent of domestic sales during the 1990s, but has averaged less than 20 percent over the past 4 years. California accounts for more than 85 percent of U.S. avocado production. U.S. avocado imports come primarily from Mexico, and the United States is its largest market, accounting for more than 75 percent of Mexico?s annual export volume. Increased planted acreage in and outside Michoacan, Mexico?s major avocado-producing State, suggests production will continue to expand in the coming years as the country attempts to meet the growing demand for avocados in the U.S. market and globally. This chart is from the March 2016 Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook report.

U.S. orange juice production continues to decline

Monday, August 8, 2016

U.S. orange juice production peaked during the 1997/98 season at 1,555 million gallons (single-strength equivalent; sse), but has trended lower since then to only 533 million sse gallons expected for the 2015/16 season. The production decline reflects many factors, including the increased prevalence of diseases such as citrus canker and citrus greening, as well as pressures from urbanization in parts of Florida that have reduced the area devoted to citrus production. The United States has been a net importer of orange juice for the entire period of analysis (1986/87 to 2015/16). Exports of orange juice have remained fairly constant over time, whereas imports have increased in recent years, but not by enough to compensate for the decline in U.S. production. As a result, orange juice availability per capita (a proxy for consumption) has trended lower as well, falling from a peak of 6.27 gallons in the 1997/98 season to a forecast low of 2.74 gallons in 2015/16. The decline in orange juice consumption over the past decade is consistent with trends that have also been observed for other types of fruit juice and caloric soft drinks in the United States. This chart is based on data found in ERS?s June 2016 Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook report.

U.S. consumption of fresh blueberries is growing

Monday, April 18, 2016

Demand for fresh blueberries in the United States has shown strong growth over the past decade, with consumption per capita more than tripling since 2005, to exceed 1.5 pounds per person. This demand has been met with supplies from both domestic and imported sources, with net U.S. production (production minus export) up by 223 percent and imports up by nearly 370 percent since the average from 2003 to 2005. Most blueberry imports are off-season supplies from the Southern Hemisphere that do not compete directly with U.S. production. Imports from Chile typically start in the fall and peak during January and February. Imports from Argentina, Uruguay and Peru follow a similar pattern but with much smaller volumes. Domestic supplies from Florida typically begin to come onto the market in March, with production moving northward and peaking during the summer months. Imports from Canada coincide with the summer U.S. harvest. This year, cold weather is delaying the harvest in both Florida and Georgia, causing tight early-season supplies. This chart is from the March 2016 Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook report.

Peanut and tree nut consumption rises with income

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A recent linking of ERS’s loss-adjusted food availability data with intake surveys from 1994-2008 reveals that consumers with incomes above 185 percent of the Federal poverty ($21,200 for a family of four in 2008) consistently consumed greater quantities of nuts than consumers with lower incomes, and the gap was higher in more recent years. Nut allergies and consumers’ perceptions about the cost of peanuts and tree nuts may play a role in consumption patterns. In 2007-08, higher income Americans ate 6.7 pounds of peanuts per person per year and 3.7 pounds of tree nuts, compared with the 4.5 pounds of peanuts and 1.4 pounds of tree nuts consumed by lower income consumers. Children consumed more peanuts per person than adults during 1994-98, but since then, adults have consumed more peanuts than children. Adults ate more tree nuts than children did in all survey years, and non-Hispanic Whites consumed more peanuts and tree nuts than non-Hispanic Blacks and Hispanics. This chart and similar information on 60 other food commodities can be found in the ERS report, U.S. Food Commodity Consumption Broken Down by Demographics, 1994-2008, released on March 30, 2016.

China dominates world apple production

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Apples are produced commercially in more than 90 countries worldwide, with annual combined global production of about 80 million metric tons. China is the world’s largest producer, accounting for nearly half of the global output and producing nearly 10 times the volume of the United States, which produces the world’s second largest apple crop. China’s large production volume is supported by the country’s vast production area. However, U.S. yields are nearly double the average achieved in China. Area expansion in China has slowed over the past decade but per-hectare yields have improved, aiding the country’s production to continue to climb. This chart is from the Fruit and Tree Nut Outlook, March 2016.

Over 80 percent of U.S. oranges available for domestic consumption are used in juice

Thursday, February 11, 2016

According to the ERS Food Availability data, 66.3 pounds of oranges per person were available for domestic consumption in 2013. Fresh oranges made up 16 percent of the available oranges (10.4 pounds per person), while 84 percent was in the form of juice (55.9 pounds per person, fresh-weight equivalent). Per capita availability of orange juice, which accounts for over half of U.S. fruit juice availability, has declined by 42 percent from its high of 97.1 pounds per person in 1977. In addition to a long-term decline in demand, reduced production has played a role in lower orange juice availability. Diseases, primarily citrus canker and citrus greening, continue to plague the citrus industry, especially in Florida, the main supplier of U.S.-grown oranges for juice. Eradication efforts have resulted in reduced U.S. citrus acreage and declining production since the late 1990s, and steady orange juice imports have not offset reduced U.S. production. The data for this chart come from the Food Availability data series in ERS's Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System.

Georgia is the leading U.S. producer of pecans

Monday, December 21, 2015

Pecan trees, a species of hickory, are the source of the only commercially produced tree nut native to the United States. The United States is the world’s leading producer of pecans, and Georgia is historically the leading pecan-producing State, typically accounting for about 33 percent of U.S. production. In 2015, Georgia’s pecan crop is forecast at 100 million pounds (in-shell), an increase of 32 percent over the 2014/15 harvest. New Mexico has the second highest production, with the 2015 harvest expected to reach 72 million pounds (in-shell), accounting for 26 percent of the U.S. harvest. Texas rounds out the top three pecan-producing States, with 2015 production forecast at 37 million pounds. Texas producers have more acreage planted in native and seedling pecans as opposed to improved varieties and production in that State tends to be more variable year to year than in New Mexico or Georgia, as illustrated by the nearly 40-percent drop in 2015 production compared to the 2014 harvest of 61 million pounds. This chart is based on the September 2015 Fruit and Tree Nut Outlook.

Almost half of U.S. apples available for domestic consumption are used in juices

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Apples are a fall and winter staple, showing up in lunch boxes, pies, cobblers, crisps, and cider. Second to oranges as the most popular fruit in the United States, 45.8 pounds of apples per person were available for domestic consumption in 2013, according to ERS’s Food Availability data. Forty-seven percent of the available apples for U.S. domestic use (21.4 pounds per person) was in the form of juice and cider, and 38 percent (17.4 pounds per person) was fresh apples. Canned, frozen, dried, and other forms made up the remaining 15 percent of apple availability in 2013. Per-person apple availability peaked at 51.2 pounds in 2006. Much of the decrease since 2006 is due to declining availability of apple juice and cider. In 2006, 26.6 pounds of apples per person were used in juices and cider, while fresh-apple availability in 2006 was 17.9 pounds per person. The data for this chart come from the Food Availability data series in ERS's Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System.

Not all California's crops have seen declines in acreage during drought

Monday, December 14, 2015

Long-term trends in California agriculture reflect shifting production, which may have implications for water use during droughts. Annually harvested crops such as cotton, corn, and wheat are on a downward trend and have seen a 31-percent reduction in planted acreage in California since 2012. Similarly, rice acreage has dropped 27 percent during the past 2 years (2013-15) of the drought. California’s hay and vegetable acreage has been more stable. In contrast, almonds, grapes, and walnuts acreage is on a strong upward trend that does not appear to have slowed during the drought. Orchards and vineyards require larger capital investments than annual crops, and because of the potential loss of that investment, orchard/vineyard owners are generally less willing to reduce water usage during droughts. However, orchards and vineyards are also more dependent upon ground-water than volatile surface-water supplies. California orchard/vineyard farmers are also more likely to have invested in more-efficient irrigation systems, such as low-pressure sprinkler and micro-irrigation systems that reduce water lost to evaporation, runoff, and deep percolation, thereby increasing the share of applied water that is beneficially used by the crop. This chart is found in the November 2015 Amber Waves statistic, “Long-Term Response to Water Scarcity in California.”

The value of U.S. fruit and tree nut production continues to grow

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The increase i The increase in value of fruit and tree nut production in the United States has accelerated since 2009 to reach an average of $26.6 billion in 2010-2014, up from an average of $7.1 billion in the 1980s and $10.7 billion in the 1990s. The production values of citrus, noncitrus, and tree nut crops have all increased, but the largest gains have been in the value of tree nut production. Increased production and higher grower prices in response to strong domestic and international demand drove the grower value of U.S. tree nut production past $10 billion in 2013 and 2014, up from $1.5 billion in 2000. The value of almond production, which typically accounts for close to 70 percent of U.S. tree nut production, reached $6.4 billion in 2013, an all-time high. The tree nut share of the value of U.S. fruit and tree nut production rose to 31 percent on average from 2010-2014, up from 20 percent during 2000-2009 and 15 percent during the 1990s. This chart is based on the October 2015 Fruit and Tree Nut Yearbook. n value of fruit and tree nut production in the United States has accelerated since 2009 to reach an average of $26.6 billion in 2010-2014, up from an average of $7.1 billion in the 1980s and $10.7 billion in the 1990s. The production values of citrus, noncitrus, and tree nut crops have all increased, but the largest gains have been in the value of tree nut production. Increased production and higher grower prices in response to strong domestic and international demand drove the grower value of U.S. tree nut production past $10 billion in 2013 and 2014, up from $1.5 billion in 2000. The value of almond production, which typically accounts for close to 70 percent of U.S. tree nut production, reached $6.4 billion in 2013, an all-time high. The tree nut share of the value of U.S. fruit and tree nut production rose to 31 percent on average from 2010-2014, up from 20 percent during 2000-2009 and 15 percent during the 1990s. This chart is based on the?October 2015 Fruit and Tree Nut Yearbook.

For berries, the price and quantity purchased is highly seasonal

Monday, November 9, 2015

The U.S. retail supply of fresh produce differs from that of manufactured foods, which are available year-round with stable prices. For many produce items, the seasonality of domestic production limits the quantity available in winter to a small fraction of that available during spring or summer, leading to higher retail prices in the off-season. For example, retail strawberry prices in late December can often be more than twice as high as prices in May. Until the early 2000s, berries were not available to most consumers outside the short domestic production seasons. Advances in trade and technology have changed that, and imports—particularly during the fall and winter months, when the supply of domestic berries is at its lowest—are leading to more consistent year-round availability and lower off-season prices. Consumers benefit through the potential for lower food expenditures and greater variety in their diets. This chart is from the ERS report, Measuring the Impacts of Off-Season Berry Imports.

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