Rains have cut into volumes in some pumpkin-growing areas and delayed harvests in others.

Capac, Mich.-based Mike Pirrone Produce Inc. could lose up to half of its pumpkin crop this year, thanks to Mother Nature, said president Henry DeBlouw.

“The ornamentals did really well, but the pumpkins struggled. Some of our fields that got too much rain we didn’t even harvest,” DeBlouw said Sept. 23. “As of now, we’ve lost about 45% to 50% of our crop. It’s been a rough year.”

Quality, however, was excellent, DeBlouw said, and the weather forecast for the rest of September and early October was favorable.

“We have a 150-acre field left, and they’ll go fast,” he said. “The phones have been chirping all week. Movement’s extremely good.”

The rains came late in west Texas, said Kevin Green, salesman for Jackson Melons Inc., Henderson, Texas.

Near the beginning of harvest, the skies opened up in mid-September, keeping many growers out of fields for several days, Green said.

“We’ve had a lot of cloudy, wet weather the past week that hit a lot of farms,” he said Sept. 23. “But there’s sunshine today.”

Harvest crews expected to back into fields Sept. 24, Green said.

Despite the harvest delay, Green expects good volumes and quality out of west Texas. As of Sept. 23, he did not expect the rains to affect quality or yields.

“It should be pretty good out of west Texas,” he said. “It’s a good-looking crop.”

Green expected prices the week of Sept. 22 to remain steady heading into Halloween.

On Sept. 23, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices of $80-100 for 36-inch bins of howdens 30-45 from Virginia, down from $95-125 last year at the same time.

Because of the losses this year, Pirrone will meet the needs of its longstanding chain store customers, but will not likely be supplying any spot markets this year, DeBlouw said.

“We have just enough to sell to our good customers.”

Pirrone’s supplies should start to wind down about Oct. 10-15, a typical end to the deal, DeBlouw said.

Green expected prices the week of Sept. 22 to remain steady heading into Halloween.