Skip to main content

North Carolina could see 20-30 percent loss in blueberries following hail

Overview of the upcoming North Carolina blueberries season by Lee Kimball of Somerfield Farms LLC and Brenda C. Park of the North Carolina Blueberry Council, complemented by charts from Agronometrics.

Original published in on May 26, 2021 

Following the hailstorms that hit North Carolina late last week just as the state’s blueberry season got underway, what does this mean for the blueberry season?

“The storm that came through almost targeted the blueberry region of North Carolina. As a hailstorm goes, it was widespread. I know of at least 1,200 acres that will be completely zeroed out,” said Lee Kimball of Somerfield Farms LLC, based out of Wilmington, NC

Kimball notes though that like a tornado, there can be a path of destruction that’s a football field-wide but then 600 feet away from that, there’s production completely in tact with no damage at all which is what’s being seen in North Carolina.

Hit and miss

“Some growers seem to have missed the storm altogether but others got completely wiped out or lost a significant amount,” says a source with Redondo Beach, CA.-based Gourmet Trading Co.

In terms of areas affected, the White Lake region, a significant blueberry growing area, looked to be the hardest hit. “There are farms wiped out mostly around the White Lake area. But growers north of this area or more southeast of this area seem to be very fortunate,” says the source at Gourmet. Other areas affected include Ivanhoe and Elizabeth Town.

The general consensus for North Carolina is that there’s a 20-30 percent loss of acreage in the state. “What remains to be seen is what other percentage will be lost when they start to pack. We had a small percentage of our acreage that’s going to be a loss. The rest of that fruit was undamaged and we look forward to a solid crop,” says Kimball.

Volumes (in Lb) of blueberries from North Carolina in the US Market
Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Notably though, there was also a late freeze at Easter which damaged crops says Brenda Park of the Greenville, SC-based North Carolina Blueberry Council. “Between these two events several of our growers were really impacted, suffering losses anywhere from 25 percent to 95-100 percent of their crop,” says Park. “On some of our larger farms this equated to over a million pounds of blueberries lost. The losses are still being assessed, so we still do not know the total impact.”

Back to realistic expectations

“What resonates with most growers is that though North Carolina will see some type of loss in volume, their bloom and pollination season was so great that they were projecting to have the biggest crop since 2015,” says the source at Gourmet Trading. “The loss of fruit due to the storm just brings them back to a more realistic projection to this season.”

As for the timing of the season, it did begin for North Carolina late last week. “But hot temperatures are coming this week and that will push the berries along. By the end of this week, there will be full production,” says Kimball, adding that Somerfield has added more than 200 acres to its organic production in North Carolina this season with new varieties. Overall production will wrap up around July 4th.

What does this mean for the market in the meantime? “We do think the market will strengthen and stabilize because of the amount of fruit that’s not going to be available. That will show itself during the first two weeks of June. It’ll firm up,” says Kimball.

Price (in USD) and volumes (in Lb) of blueberries from North Carolina in the US Market
Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

Access the original article with this (Link)

Popular posts from this blog

Agronometrics in Charts: Demand for berries skyrockets in 2021

This time for the ‘In Charts’ series we will give an update as to how the average prices of berries have been behaving. Specifically, we will look at the prices of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries in the United States market and compare them with previous seasons. An increase in demand, brought on by the tendency to consume “superfoods” such as berries during the Covid-19 pandemic, seem to have pushed prices up despite the fact that volumes imported by the United States have been similar or higher than those of previous years. Let's look at each particular case: Blueberries Blueberry prices experienced a significant increase from week 3 of 2021, showing the highest prices of the last 5 seasons for the same date. If we observe the following chart, we can see that, for week 7 of 2021, the average price of conventional blueberries was $7.60 per kilo. This is 24 percent higher than in 2020 when the average price was $6.14 per kilo. Volumes for blueberr

Peru's blueberry oversupply takes its toll on export price

Overview of the Peruvian blueberry season, complemented by charts from Agronometrics.   Original published in   on November 25, 2020  This year's Peruvian blueberry season began in June with the export of 1,010 tons worth 5 million dollars. These figures represented a 25% increase in volume and a 77% increase in value over the same month of 2019. The lower production in the northern hemisphere due to weather problems allowed producers to achieve attractive prices of $ 5.15 per kilogram in June. Volume (in Kg) of blueberry from PerĂº in the US market Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics . (Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here ) The good reception of Peruvian blueberries and the increase in prices encouraged exports during July, a month in which the country shipped 4,808 tons (+ 108%) for 26 million dollars (+ 102%). In this month, the increase in the Peruvian supply generated a slight 3% fall in the typical prices of the month,

Agronometrics in Charts: Berry prices in the U.S. market

This week we're going to check out how prices of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries have been behaving in the U.S. market compared to previous seasons. Blueberries Let's start with blueberries, which over recent weeks have seen similar prices to 2019, although they have improved somewhat over the last two weeks. Looking at the chart below, we can see that in week 42, the average price of conventional blueberries was US$9.07 per kilo, which is 8% higher than in 2019. Volumes are coming from Mexico and Peru. Prices of non-organic blueberries in the U.S. market (USD per kilo) Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics . (Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here ) Raspberries Raspberries meanwhile have throughout this year experience sharp peaks and valleys, although in recent weeks prices have tended to stabilize. As can be seen in the chart below, in week 42 prices were US$8.39 per kilo, which is 18% up on 2019. The U.S