About 7.4 million barrels of cranberries — 6% more than last year — are expected to be shipped in the U.S. in 2010-11, but fresh-market volumes are likely to be unchanged, grower-shippers said.
If the forecast proves true, this season’s crop would be the second-largest in history, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service’s annual Cranberries report, released Aug. 17.
“In my opinion and everyone else’s opinion, the overall crop is going to be huge,” said John Decas, chairman of the board of Decas Bros. Sales Co. Inc., Wareham, Mass.
Bob Wilson, a principal in The Cranberry Network LLC, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., agreed.
“Wisconsin has had a phenomenal growing season — plenty of moisture but not a detrimental amount,” he said. “Wisconsin will be up 10%, and Massachusetts is going to be strong, too.”
Fruit could be larger than normal this season, and color should be outstanding at the start of the deal, particularly on fresh-market cranberries, Wilson said.
There will also be a huge carryover of processing cranberries from the 2009-10 season, Decas said.
But neither the large upcoming crop or the leftovers from last season will likely have much of an effect on the fresh market, he said.
Fresh supplies would likely be in the 300,000-barrel range they’ve been in for several years, Decas and Wilson said.
David Farrimond, general manager of the Wareham, Mass.-based Cranberry Marketing Committee, also expects a fresh crop of about 300,000 barrels, though he said the committee would review that forecast at an Aug. 31 meeting.
The quality of the Massachusetts crop looks good, Farrimond said, but Wisconsin could have quality issues due to wet weather.
A strong fresh market last season, combined with expected good quality this season and continued good health news, has fresh marketers feeling confident heading into 2010-2011, Decas said.
“Everyone’s very upbeat about this year’s fresh crop,” he said. “If the price stays where it was last year, it would be a plus. If it goes up, even better.”
Wisconsin and Massachusetts are expected to produce more cranberries than in 2009-2010 and New Jersey, Oregon and Washington less, according to the report.
Wisconsin, the top cranberry-producing state, is projected to grow about 4.4 million barrels, up from 4 million last season. Production in Massachusetts is expected to increase from 1.8 million to 2 million barrels.