As we approach Transition to Yuma, Arizona all suppliers are stretching their acreage in Salinas, California to prevent a major gap before the Yuma season begins. The September hail storms and heavy rain in Yuma caused major damage to all planted row crops. With the hail wiping out a majority of the acreage, this could push back the start of harvest in Yuma. Suppliers are harvesting minimal amounts in Salinas to try and stretch supply until we get to Yuma. Iceberg, all Leaf, Broccoli, and Cauliflower markets are reacting to this lower supply. We anticipate this shortage of supply to last at least until the end of November.
Iceberg Lettuce – Lighter yields and supplies are expected over the coming week as we start the transition to Huron. Prices are spiking into extreme levels and will remain elevated for weeks. A significant number of acres were damaged by the Sept 23 storm which will affect harvest supplies from Nov 12 through Dec 8. This is an industry-wide condition.
Romaine / Romaine Hearts – Hail damaged the crop. Failures are anticipated for harvest week of Nov 17-23. Very light supplies are coming from Salinas with lightweight and sizing issues appearing at pack out. Prices are spiking at a similar pace to romaine.
Butter Lettuce, Red and Green Leaf Lettuce – Lighter supplies on red and green leaf should be the norm and we expect size and weight challenges over the coming few weeks. Prices are trending much higher. Fields damaged by the Sept 23 storm will create low supplies for the harvest week beginning Nov 17.
Broccoli – Light supplies will continue from Salinas for the next few weeks. Prices are trending higher. The industry continues to battle a lot of hollow core and brown bead which is affecting yields. Stand issues created by the heat will affect supply for harvest during Nov 14-23. Crop failures from the Sept 23 storm will affect supplies beginning Nov 14. The industry was severely affected by the storm which could lead to supply shortages from Nov 14 to Dec 15.
Cauliflower – Quality and condition are good, but light supplies are expected over the coming weeks due to heat-related delays at the time of planting. We might run into a gap during the week of November 17th. There are reports of some harvest yields being down 50% due to storm damage. Prices are increasing almost daily.
Potatoes – Meanwhile in Idaho and other mid-western potato producing regions growers are approaching the end of harvesting the 2019 crops. An early series of snowstorms and colder than normal temperatures have made getting products from the field to storage facilities a challenge. It is estimated that approximately 20-30% of this year’s crop may be lost due to the inability to harvest in cold and snowy conditions. In the short term, suppliers are left with few options. The new crop potatoes have not had a chance to cure yet and this has created a bottleneck at the distribution points. While it is bad now, the long term outlook into the spring and summer is even worse.
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