Northwest U.S. pear growers have released their latest crop estimate for the 2019-20 season, setting the new figure of 18.6 million boxes 8% above the initial May forecast.
The new figure is 1% higher than the 5-year average and 1% less than the 2018 harvest, commented the Pear Bureau Northwest (PBNW).
"The increase from the initial estimate is due to the fruit sizing up very well in the last two months. Growers are reporting large beautiful fruit on the trees with sizes that are in demand from retailers in the U.S. and Canada," stated Kevin Moffitt, president and CEO of PBNW.
"With ample larger sized pears, there will also be plenty of smaller fruit to fill the demand for bagged pears and for the export markets that prefer smaller fruit."
The estimate is based on data reported from Washington's Wenatchee and Yakima districts and Oregon's Mid-Columbia and Medford districts, the bureau explained.
Northwest pear season analysis
Picking is just about to begin throughout the four growing regions of the Northwest; they will continue throughout August and September, said the bureau.
While pick dates for the 2019-20 season are later than last season, they're close to the historical average, it added.
The Starkrimson variety harvest is beginning this week in most districts, with the Bartlett picking starting this week in Mid-Columbia. It will start next week in other producing districts.
Meanwhile, the pear harvests of Comice, Bosc, Forelle, Anjou and Seckel will begin later in the month.
Harvest should be completed by late September.
Based on the current estimates for this season, Green Anjou will be the leading variety this year. Growers are set to produce 9.5 million standard boxes of the category (about 51% of total Northwest fresh pear crop), the bureau noted.
Green Bartlett will likely follow with 4.8 million standard boxes (about 26% of the total crop). Bosc should account for 2.5 million (about 13% of the total crop). And there will also be 1.1 million standard boxes of Red Anjou, representing about 6% of the crop.
Organic pear numbers are included in the overall estimate; their numbers continue to grow with more acres in transition, the bureau explains.
This year's organic estimate is 1.9 million standard boxes (42,000 tons), making up 11% of the total Northwest crop.
Looking at the entire organic crop, growers project 705,350 standard boxes of Green Anjou.
Additionally, the industry forecasts that Green Bartlett and Bosc crops will reach 700,550 and 273,400 standard boxes, respectively.