Capital press. (Salem, OR) 19??-current, November 17, 2017, Page 5, Image 5

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November 17, 2017
Washington apple crop grows
Capital Press
Washington apple report, Nov. 1
(Millions of 40-pound boxes)
Dan Wheat/Capital Press File
Yolanda Penaloza loads trays
with Red Delicious apples at
Valicoff Fruit Co., Wapato,
Wash., on Oct. 12, 2016. Red
Delicious sell well in Mexico,
Indonesia and India.
ruling helps
apples, other
exports to
Capital Press
YAKIMA, Wash. — The
Washington apple industry is
pleased with the World Trade
Organization upholding its
ruling issued almost a year
ago against Indonesia trade
restrictions, says Mark Pow-
ers, president of the North-
west Horticultural Council.
U.S. Trade Representative
Robert Lighthizer announced
the WTO decision Nov. 9,
calling it a “resounding vic-
tory” that should result in
“increase export opportunities
for U.S. farmers and ranch-
Since 2012, Indonesia has
maintained restrictive licens-
ing regimes for horticultural
and animal-product imports.
The USTR has called them
“unjustified.” Powers called
them “illegal” and thanked
the USTR for hard work over
many years to remove the re-
Todd Fryhover, president
of the Washington Apple
Commission in Wenatchee,
said the WTO action is “great
news” for apple growers who
have excellent supplies for In-
donesia this season.
Last Dec. 22, USTR an-
nounced a WTO panel found
in favor of the U.S. and New
Zealand in 18 out of 18 claims
that Indonesia has been ap-
plying import restrictions and
prohibitions that are inconsis-
tent with WTO rules.
The restrictions cost about
$115 million in U.S. agricul-
tural exports to Indonesia in
2015, including $28 million
worth of apples and more than
$29 million worth of grapes,
the USTR said last December.
In a Nov. 9 news release,
USTR said U.S. fruit, vege-
tables, flowers, juices, cattle,
beef, poultry and other animal
products were affected by the
Even with the restrictions,
the U.S. exported more than
$2.6 billion in agricultural
products to Indonesia in 2016
and imported $2.8 billion in
agricultural products from In-
donesia, USTR said. The U.S.
lost an estimated $170 mil-
lion worth of exports in 2016
because of the restrictions,
USTR said.
“Indonesia is the fourth
most populous country in the
world and an increasingly
important export market for
many U.S. agricultural prod-
ucts,” USTR said.
Indonesia appealed last
December’s ruling in Feb-
ruary and the WTO has now
denied the appeal.
Before 2012, Indonesia
was a 2.7-million-box per
year market for Washington
apples, Powers has said. Since
then, it has been 1 million
boxes lower but could grow
back, he said.
One million, 40-pound
boxes of apples are worth
roughly $20 million. New
Zealand, China, Chile and
other apple exporters also
are aided by the ruling so the
market will be competitive, he
Fryhover has said Indone-
sia was a 4-million-box mar-
ket in 1996 and should easily
reach 2.5 to 3 million without
Indonesians like Red Deli-
cious and small apples, which
helps Washington’s exports,
he has said.
The estimated size of Wash-
ington’s 2017 apple crop has
grown 5.8 percent in the past
three months, adding to nor-
mal slippage from early high
The Nov. 1 estimate, re-
leased Nov. 8 by the Wash-
ington State Tree Fruit As-
sociation, is 138.5 million,
40-pound, fresh-packed box-
es. Harvest of Fuji, Granny
Smith and Cripps Pink is just
wrapping up. The forecast was
130.9 million boxes on Aug. 1
just before Gala picking start-
The forecast was conserva-
tive — good weather increased
fruit size and thus crop vol-
ume. But overall, fruit remains
on the small side, which is
good for exports and domestic
bag sales.
“Normally Gala peaks
at size 100 (100 apples per
40-pound box), but this year
it will be 113. Red Delicious
were 72 to 80 last year and
this year will be more at 88 to
100,” said Tom Riggan, gen-
eral manager of Chelan Fresh
Marketing, a major marketer.
He said he was surprised
the estimate is 138.5 million
boxes, that he expected 148
Red Delicious
Granny Smith
Golden Delicious
Cripps Pink
Aug. 1*
Nov. 1**
NOTE: Totals may not equal sum due to rounding.
Source: Washington State Tree Fruit Association
million because of a lot of
growers picking more fruit
than they thought they would
in the last couple of months.
A partial report on Oct. 1
estimated Gala and Honey-
crisp up from August but other
varieties didn’t increase and
the Gala estimate shrank 1.2
million between Nov. 1 and
Oct. 1, Riggan said.
“Gala packouts aren’t as
good as people thought they’d
be. There’s some splitting and
bitter pit,” he said.
Desmond O’Rourke, re-
tired Washington State Univer-
Capital Press graphic
sity agricultural economist and
world apple market analyst,
said the crop maybe 140 mil-
lion boxes by Dec. 1, but Rig-
gan said he doesn’t think so.
“It could come in a little less
depending on whether all the
fruit comes off or not,” he said.
At 138.5 million boxes,
the crop is second only to the
143.6-million-box crop of
2014. But the 2017 number
will fluctuate monthly due to
ratio of packout versus cullage
during the year-long sales sea-
As of Nov. 1, 17.3 million
boxes had been shipped com-
pared with 22.375 million a
year ago. But the crop is later.
The 2016 crop is finishing out
close to 134 million boxes.
Washington has approxi-
mately 121 million boxes of
apples in storage out of nation-
al holdings of 143.3 million, 6
percent more than a year ago,
according to the U.S. Apple
Association. Total national
holdings, fresh and processed,
is 194.4 million 42-pound, not
40-pound, boxes.
The Nov. 1 report shows
Gala on the verge of overtak-
ing Red Delicious as Wash-
ington’s No. 1 volume variety.
Red Delicious is estimated at
33.5 million boxes and Gala at
33.4 million.
A large crop typically
drives down prices but prices
are expected to hold better be-
cause of weather-driven light
crops in Europe, Michigan,
Canada and Mexico.
However, USDA’s Foreign
Agricultural Service now re-
ports Canadian and Mexican
imports could slow due to
slowing economies, O’Rourke
“Overall, the picture is not
quite as buoyant as we thought
in August but it’s hard to com-
pare (to last year) because the
crop is later,” O’Rourke said.
Prices normally start high
with new crop in August and
September and then drop and
hopefully stabilize for heavy
holiday shipments in late No-
vember through winter. But
prices have been at and below
production costs for good por-
tions of the last couple of years
for Red Delicious and Gala
due to large volumes. General-
ly, $17 to $18 per box is break-
even on major varieties.
As of Nov. 8, the average
asking price among Yakima
and Wenatchee shippers for
extra fancy (standard grade)
medium size 80 and 88 apples
per packed box were slipping
from a month earlier for Gala,
Golden Delicious, Granny
Smith and for premium Hon-
eycrisp, according to USDA.
“Prices will continue to fall
until we get the movement we
need. Once we get that mo-
mentum when exports kick
in, prices will stabilize and
increase after the first of the
year,” Riggan said. “It will be
possibly better than last year
but time will tell.”
Exports will pick up in
January and February to the
Middle East and elsewhere be-
cause of Europe’s lighter crop,
he said. “We’re already getting
calls from customers in the UK
whom we haven’t heard from
in a while, lining up for Janu-
ary,” Riggan said.