Michigan Cherry Crop Forecast A Little Too Tart For Growers

June 20, 2018 - 8:17 am

TRAVERSE CITY (WWJ) - Michigan's cherry production forecast is in -- and it's one of those good news/bad news scenarios.

You would think a bumper crop of cherries would be a good thing for Michigan growers but industry analysts say it's actually not, given ongoing trade issues.

The state's tart cherry production is forecast to be 60 percent bigger from last year, at 264 million pounds. And sweet cherry production in Michigan is also up by 27 percent, at 23,900 tons.

At the same time, producers are fighting trade practices where subsidized crops from overseas are dumped in the market at prices below the cost of production in Michigan.

Basically, more fruit is not necessarily a good thing when it comes to prices producers receive for the fruit of their labor, according to Michigan Farm Bureau Horticulture Specialist Kevin Robson.

“Michigan is home to 75 percent of the nation’s cherry farmers, and this year we’re looking at a good-sized crop,” Robson said in a statement. “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 cherry growers are working with legislators to address some of the issues affecting the industry.

“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,” he said.