In its third crop estimate for the 2020 season Northwest Cherry Growers (NWCG) has reduced its forecast by 2m boxes to 18.8m boxes.
Poor weather in the early weeks of the season have played a role in delaying the crop and reducing volume, however, the season still holds plenty of promise according to a NWCG release.
“Though 2020 will be a slower and smaller harvest than the past few seasons, all indications still point to a very promotable crop which should go a long way towards satisfying the high demand we've seen around the world,” NWCG said.
Late-May rains delayed the start of the harvest for early growers and a trend of poor weather had replicated results in other Northwest growing regions. The same weather has also reduced some of the early fruit, with a drop in both dark sweet and yellow tonnage contributing to the 18.8m box forecast and affecting early shipments.
The industry has shipped just under 750,000 boxes total as of 9 June, much less than forecasted before the weather.
NWCG said these conditions have also resulted in reports of fruit being picked one-half to one full row size larger than normal.
NWCG said this will aid in ensuring a high-quality crop, a key factor in repeat purchases, something particularly important given data showing Covid-19 has reduced the number of shopping trips consumers make every week.