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USDA: 2018 cherry crop production could be up from last year

“Michigan is home to 75 percent of the nation’s cherry farmers, and this year we’re looking at a good-sized crop,” said Michigan Farm Bureau Horticulture Specialist, Kevin Robson. (MGN Image)

MICHIGAN (WPBN/WGTU) -- The numbers are in and the U.S. Department of Agriculture said the production for this year's cherry crops should be up from last year.

The agency said Michigan's 2018 tart cherry crop should reach about 264 million pounds, which is a 60-percent increase from 2017, despite a cooler than normal April.

“Michigan is home to 75 percent of the nation’s cherry farmers, and this year we’re looking at a good-sized crop,” said Michigan Farm Bureau Horticulture Specialist, Kevin Robson. “Even though Michigan producers dodged a frost event this year, and have a good quality and sized crop out in the orchards at the moment, many growers are less than optimistic for the 2018 marketing season.

Robson said, while the trade-related economic downturn for major row-crop commodities, such as corn, soybeans and wheat due to NAFTA and the Chinese tariff battle is a relatively new phenomenon, global trade challenges have hindered the cherry industry for a number of years.

“Michigan cherry producers are hopeful that relief is on the horizon, and that their efforts will lead to market-access for our first-handlers to sell their inventory into the world market at competitive, but profitable prices to handle the large 2018 crop,” Robson said.

As for sweet cherries, the forecast said production should reach about 23,900 tons, which would be a 27-percent increase from the 2017 June cherry production forecast.

Overall, the USDA's National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) is predicting an overall 48-percent increase in U.S. tart cherry production nationwide, with a forecast of 353 million pounds.

Reports also show the total U.S. sweet cherry production, however, is predicted to be down 26-percent at 319,900 tons, citing weather-related production losses in Washington, Oregon and California.

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