Knowledge Exchange

Ag Economy

Fruit

Apples

  • Washington had a large crop last fall, which has depressed prices. Exports were looking promising but have declined along with everything else due to coronavirus. However, increased grocery store sales have boosted domestic apple sales.
  • Producers with modern, in-demand varieties should see positive profits, while those with more dated varieties may struggle with soft pricing.
  • Pick-your-own producers are concerned about how they will be able to market their crop.

Juice Grapes

  • Challenging weather conditions led to variable results for juice grape growers in the region. For the Niagara variety, some growers reported normal crops while others have experienced losses and filed crop insurance claims. The Concord harvest went very well, and most fields reported good sugar content and tonnage. Projected pricing for fall 2019 increased by $5-10 per ton over 2018.

Wine

  • Growers reported a good 2019 across most of the Northeast for wine grapes in terms of yield and quality. The “craft beverage” industry has been rapidly expanding in terms of both consumer interest and number of producers for several years now, and many wineries have seen sales growth.
  • The impact of coronavirus on this sector is expected to be significant. Bars and restaurants have largely closed, eliminating a major source of revenue. Liquor store sales have increased as people shelter at home, but overall alcohol sales are projected to come in lower. Tasting room sales are a major source of revenue for most Northeast wineries, and these are virtually gone.

Small Fruits

  • There is little to report for this sector at this time, as the season has not begun yet.

Cranberries

  • National production for 2019 came in at 9,040,000 barrels, 3% greater than the 5-year average. Growers are somewhat encouraged that markets for sweetened-dried-cranberries look tight. Independent pricing has ticked up, and some new buyers have entered the market. Pricing has improved but remains low by recent historical standards.