Knowledge Exchange

Ag Economy

Fruit

Apples

  • Washington had a large crop last fall, which has put downward pressure on prices. Early indications are for another large Northwest crop in 2020. 
  • Exports are off by about 20% for the 2019 crop. With an estimated 31 million boxes left of last year’s crop, and early harvest beginning in some areas in as little as 45 days, current inventories are unlikely to clear before new crops start coming in, leading to an oversupplied market.1
  • Domestic apple sales saw a small boost early in the pandemic, which has generally subsided, and has not been sufficient to absorb the volume from lost exports.
  • Total U.S. fresh and processing holdings as of June 1 are 23% greater than they were last year. Holdings in the Northeast region are trending better, at only 6% over last year.
  • Packing houses and migrant worker housing present particular challenges related to COVID-19. Keeping workers safe may require alterations to facilities and operations, increasing costs and reducing efficiency.

Wine

  • COVID-19 has had a major impact on this sector. Bars and restaurants mostly closed early on and are only gradually reopening now. Liquor store sales have increased as people shelter at home, but sales of wines and spirits are still down overall. Tasting rooms, a major source of revenue for most Northeast wineries, are starting to reopen in some areas but will be slow to return to previous traffic levels.

Cranberries

  • National production continues to outpace demand for juice. However, growers are somewhat encouraged that markets for fresh and sweetened-dried-cranberries look tighter. Pricing has improved but remains low by recent historical standards.

1 Northwest Farm Credit Services