I got some feedback on a Feb. 3 blog post about tomatoes from Michael Schadler, executive vice president of the Florida Tomato Exchange.
As you recall, that post reported on a ProAct market report about tomatoes from Florida and Mexico. Michael reported the ProAct report may have overstated yield reductions in Florida:
“So far this season (Oct-Jan), the state’s tomato production is down just 5.9% compared to the 2018-19 crop year. This reduction is due to slightly lower yields, but we haven’t had any major weather events. The brief cold snap we had in January slowed things down slightly, but it wasn’t too significant, and certainly nowhere near a 50% reduction in yields as reported by ProAct. Florida’s volume was actually up in January by 18% YOY. December was a tougher month for us due to more precipitation than normal. The weather in Mexico has been far more impactful on the market than the weather in Florida. As of now, the weather for the remainder of February looks great for tomato production in Florida.”
TK: Check out movement charts from the USDA, comparing weekly shipments from this year and a year ago from certain districts in Florida and Mexico.
One important question that pertains to the tomato outlook is this: how are USDA/state offices gearing up for mandatory tomato inspections required by the tomato suspension agreement? What date certain will those inspections begin? I have calls out to various USDA and industry sources on that question.. more to come..