Also on the plus side, Nelsen looks forward to strong demand in 2009-2010, based in part on the performance of the import citrus deals this summer and early fall.
On Sept. 22, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices of $14.48-16.50 for 7/10 bushel cartons of California valencias size 48-56, up from $12.33-14.34 last year at the same time.
“The offshore quality has been very inconsistent,” he said. “We hope that retailers will want to make a rapid transition to the California navel.”
Also, Nelsen said, the “reasonably high” prices late-season California valencias were fetching in September boded well for opening navel markets. Mariottt also predicted strong demand at the beginning of the California deal.
But Torosian said that the availability of navels 12 months out of the year can work against California.
“The newness of having navels starting in October isn’t new anymore,” he said.
In addition, increased production of mandarins, clementines and other specialty citrus further complicates the navel’s market position, he said.
Nevertheless, Torosian said the larger fruit size and aggressive bagged programs should help fruit move this season.