Counting the number of PMA shows with fingers and toes - The Packer

Counting the number of PMA shows with fingers and toes

11/05/2012 03:25:00 PM
Tom Karst

In contrast, shipments of apples from Michigan totaled only 569 truckloads, down from 2,432 truckloads at the same time a year ago.

With the flush of fruit from harvest, the latest Agricultural Prices report shows that apple prices have backed down slightly in October.

The grower price for fresh apples was projected by the USDA at 53.5 cents per pound in October, down from 61.6 cents per pound in September but still way up from 43.1 cents per pound last October.

Speaking to one apple shipper at Fresh Summit, he said there has been some pricing pressure because the crop was larger than people were prepared for.

That pricing pressure is expected to stabilize by Christmas and then potentially strengthen after that.

The fruit size is two to three sizes larger than normal, with some estimates putting the total crop from 118 million cartons on the low end to as large as 130 million cartons of apples if all the fruit can be harvested.

The shipper said a shortage of bins in the industry was evident early in the harvest season, but an incredible amount of bins have been built in response to demand, in addition to some construction of controlled atmosphere storages during the summer.

Another source in Washington I talked with Nov. 1 agreed the first estimate was low, but it may have only missed the mark by a few million cartons, with some now predicting a crop of 110 million to 115 million cartons.

The revised November estimate should provide illumination.

By then, we will know if the industry missed it by that much, or perhaps much more.

Whatever the estimate, all additional apples will be utilized because of the dearth of apples in Michigan and the East.

Email tkarst@thepacker.com.


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