USDA predictions: Turkey largest cherry producer in 2020/21Christian Fernsby ▼ | September 24, 2020
World cherry production is expected to increase by 60,000 tonnes to 3.9 million tonnes this year, as the increase in Turkey, Chile and China more than offset losses in the European Union and the United States caused by poor weather conditions.
USDA Turkey cherry
With a sixth consecutive year of growth, producers are also switching to high density orchards with high-yield varieties. Increased supply is expected to increase exports to the European Union and Russia to 90,000 tonnes.
Turkey gained market access to China and South Korea in 2019, and while shipments to these countries have been minimal until now, they are in direct competition with the American cherries, especially as the shipments for both Turkey and the United States mainly take place in the period between May and August.
EU production is expected to contract slightly, dropping from 35,000 tonnes to 703,000 tonnes, as frost and heavy rains in the spring affected production for the majority of the producers.
Despite the lower supply, the quality of the fruit is expected to be good and exports will remain virtually unchanged at 8,000 tonnes. Imports are predicted to rise by 7,000 tonnes to 60,000 tonnes, but lower production encourages greater shipments from Turkey.
Production in China is estimated at 30,000 tonnes to 450,000 tonnes, with the long upward trend continuing as new trees planted in April more than offset losses from heavy snowfall earlier in the year. The acreage also continues to increase, but at a slower pace.
Private companies have started growing cherries in greenhouses and open fields across China for the high-end market, with the aim of supplying the internal market. As the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 affects consumer demand, imports are expected to decrease by 10,000 to 220,000 tonnes.
Production in the United States is predicted to fall by more than 40,000 tonnes to 383,000 tonnes.
The severe frost affected sweet cherry production in Washington, cancelling out the increases seen in California and Oregon, while Michigan cherry production was considerably damaged by the May frosts. USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) surveyed the industry and released the US cherry production forecast in its June 2020 Crop Production report.
The export is predicted to be slightly less due to a smaller supply, with a decrease of 14,000 tonnes to 70,000 tonnes, while imports increase slightly to 12,000 tonnes with larger shipments from Chile.
Production in Chile is estimated at more than 30,000 tonnes to 287,000 tonnes as new plantations are still coming into production and weather conditions so far are favourable with abundant rainfall in winter. Increased production is expected to boost exports to 240,000 tonnes.
Imports to Russia are expected to increase by 15,000 tonnes to 100,000 tonnes with larger shipments from Turkish and Central Asian producers. ■