Knowledge Exchange

Ag Economy

Fruit

Apples

  • New York’s 2018 apple production was roughly on par with the state’s 5-year average.1
  • As of June 1, the U.S. had 38.5 million bushels of apples in storage, 11% less than in 2018, but 3% more than the 5-year average. Most storage is in the Northwest. The Northeast had 4.1 million bushels in storage, 6% more than the 5-year average at this time.
  • Prices for fresh apples nationally, have been trending higher than both last year as well as the 5-year average since the beginning of 2019.2
  • Apple exports to Mexico, our largest customer, are 26% lower, year-over-year, due to retaliatory tariffs in the US-Canada-Mexico steel and aluminum trade dispute. However, their purchasing has accelerated following the resolution of this dispute and the lifting of tariffs in May. Mexico typically imports roughly 10% of total US apple production.
  • Early forecasts are that the 2019 crop will be large. With the current trade uncertainty, a large crop could be difficult to sell, pushing prices lower.3
  • Reports from the Northeast suggest a very mixed bag, with some growers significantly affected by negative weather events, while others indicate an above-average crop year.

Juice Grapes

  • Prices have been low for years, but major processors seem to have balanced inventory more closely with demand, which should lead to higher pay prices this year.
  • The beginning of the growing season has been challenging due to wet weather, requiring increased fungus control applications. The risk for downy mildew remains high, and the increased spraying will increase cost of production per ton for this season. Vine growth indicates a crop of average to above-average size.

Wine

  • Reports indicate that visitor counts are down slightly as craft beverage options expand and dilute the number of visitors among a greater number of outlets, but overall retail spending is keeping pace or slightly greater than last year. The increase in retail sales is mainly in increased tasting fees, non-wine sales and slightly increased wine prices rather than increases in cases sold.
  • Nationally, total wine sales increased 4% in the past year. Sales growth has largely been due to higher price points rather than increased volume. Direct-to-consumer sales have been strong.

Small Fruits

  • New Jersey highbush growers reported steady prices so far this year, but some quality challenges due to excessive moisture.
  • Maine prices for lowbush blueberries continue to be low.

Cranberries

  • The cranberry market continues to struggle with low prices from both independent handlers and Ocean Spray, both being below cost of production.
  • Continued ample production will limit upward price movement. 

1 New York Apple Association
2 US Apple Association
3 Northwest Farm Credit Services