Crop News

Pacific Northwest Plantings Continue


United States

Pea plantings in the Pacific Northwest are about a third of the way through. Green Pea season expected to commence middle to end May. The first plantings of Oregon and Washington peas are now sprouting.

Sweet Corn plantings have just begun. Grower prices were up about 10% to 15% this season, with prices on most vegetables anticipated to go up by 6% to 7%.

There are some processors who are down on pea acres and some who are down on corn acres.

Industry experts advise that seed is short and land cost is high (land cost has doubled over the last 10 years!). Competition from higher cost crops, with labor costs increasing, are making it more and more difficult for processors to manage their costs. Expect vegetables, including potatoes, to be priced higher coming out of the 2023 new season, although we do not believe that increases will be as high as last season.

Fryers are still struggling in the Pacific Northwest to secure raw material to meet current demand for processed potatoes. Some U.S. processors are purchasing on open market raw material from Canada to try to meet demand. Storage stocks continue to remain low in the west, while inventories are better in the Midwest and state of Maine and Canada.

Based on the current situation, growers would be planting more potatoes in 2023, however there are rumblings of seed supply shortages as well as limitations on water and fumigants. This may cause some growers to reduce their potato acreage.

In a nutshell, French fries and other processed potato products are in high demand and global supplies are low. Raw material cost is high, labor is expensive along with all other input costs, which brings us to another year of higher potato prices.

French fry prices ex U.S. have risen again this month by about .15/lb.

Due to lack of raw product inventory (the lowest since 2016) and high prices, US exports of French fries fell by 2.5% year end 2022 and imports from the European Union have risen over the last five years. Approximately 131 million lbs. of processed potatoes came in from Europe during the 4th quarter of 2022.

California growers struggling with producing enough carrots. Late October/November brought windstorms and carrot acres were lost in the Coachella region. Then along came the California rain storms and lack of sun which resulted in more lost yields and poor-quality carrots.

Progress has now slowed on new fields coming up in April and May in the Imperial Valley due to cloud cover and lack of sun units. The month of April is expected to cooperate with more sun and processors are hopful that havest will come in on budget. Prices are rising on carrots and supplies ex California are limited.

Other crops in California are also struggling due to the continuing rains. California’s kale crop is currently tight. The plants have been affected by the cold weather and rain and gaps in supply are anticipated in May and June.

California growers of strawberries are waiting to assess damage from the rain and flooding in March. It is still too early to know the number of acres affected but approximately 20% of the farms in Pajaro River and Salinas area were affected. Since January, California has been battered by atmospheric rivers and storms.

Once water recedes , growers will know the extent of the damage to strawberry crops. Based on the weather issues , frozen processors anticipate a tight market and are looking to build their strawberry stocks and take in product from overseas processors.

California’s avocado crop is delayed due to recent rains. Growers hoping rains subside, which will allow the crop to continue harvesting at end April.

California’s Fall pepper crop was hurt by rain. Prices have gone up considerably. Peppers are competing with tomatoes for land which is bringing the price up even further.

All berry prices continue to soften as demand is low. Inventories are high and the new season will be upon us in June/July.


Volumes of broccoli and cauliflower coming into the factories are average although Mexico is still a bit tight on broccoli. Quality is good on both conventional and organic broccoli and cauliflower products and some suppliers are now quoting and taking on new clients.

Labor costs are rising again in Mexico and this along with increased input costs will result in higher prices out of Mexico.


A short supply of raw material sweet corn due to heavy rain and flooding as well as current higher grower prices will result in short supply and increased prices for frozen and canned sweet corn coming out of Thailand. Higher prices for fertilizer have also contributed to Thailand’s upward trend on prices. Although shipments have been catching up recently.


Dragon Fruit ex Vietnam is being exported to more than 40 countries with a US$47 million turnover since the beginning of this year. China is the largest importer of this fresh fruit.

Durian fruit prices have dropped due to over supply and a new season coming up.


Avocado season has begun, however heavy rains have hampered avocado harvesting. Dices, chunks, slices, halves and pulp is available.

Organic Asparagus season has begun. Both Petite and large size asparagus spears will be available.

Passion Fruit season will go through May. Peak season is expected in March, April, May. Initial harvest delayed by about 21 days due to climate issues. Demand is good and prices remain firm.


Strawberry prices in Chile have soften due to weaker demand compared to last year. A good crop in California with lower prices and the competitive Egyptian season coming up has depressed the market. Competitive prices coming out of Peru and Mexico have also affected the market with reduced prices overall on strawberries compared to last season.


More blueberries went to the frozen processing market due to growers being careful to limit certain varieties for the fresh market due to logistic delays. Newer varieties with longer shelf life have been established for the fresh market which has left more of the older varieties going to processors.

Raspberry harvest should finish up this month.

Chile reported a 40% loss in their pea yields and a reduction in corn production due to less acres being planted.


Strawberry season has commenced with good volume and quality; however current demand is weak, and prices have softened. Warmer weather has started the season earlier than usual which means the season will finish up a bit earlier as well.


Fresh strawberry season is coming to an end and demand was low. This resulted in more berries going to processors and freezing is going on now. Morocco is the 4th largest exporter of frozen strawberries with a firm hand in Europe. Egypt, Poland, and Mexico take the first three spots as the world’s largest exporters of frozen strawberries.

New Zealand

Frost conditions have resulted in a Kiwi crop that is expected to be about 10% less than normal. In addition, heavy rain and flooding has resulted in reduced yields of both avocado and kiwi fruit.


2022 continuous wet weather resulted in a potato shortage in Australia, especially for potatoes earmarked for the processing industry. A 50% reduction in yields has been advised. Australia recorded 2022 as the 9th wettest year on record. Coles supermarket has recently proclaimed a buying limit on frozen French fries due to a worrisome supply shortage and many pubs and restaurants have replaced fries or taken them off their menus completely. Potato snacks, including potato chips have also been affected.


This past summer’scrippling heat wave across Europe has caused havoc in much of the crops in Europe leaving some countries facing their worst harvest in years. Lack of precipitation causes soil water content to reduce making it harder for plants to extract water from the soil leading to widespread stress on crops. This has been particularly true in Italy, France, Germany, Hungary, Portugal, and Spain.

Devastating heat in Spain resulted in some vegetable processors there losing almost half of their pea harvest. There has also been difficulty securing farmers to plant and grow vegetables such as peas and corn due to more profitable and less water intensive crops such as wheat. Spain’s sweet corn pricing has risen almost 45% this season. Most European suppliers are off market with no new buyers being accepted currently.

Recent reports indicate that raw material price for peas across Europe will go up by as much as 40% for the 2023 season. Growers there will need incentive to grow peas due to rising input costs and the pull to grow more profitable crops such as grain.

European onions are in short supply. With the high cost of energy, prices for raw material have gone up and volumes are low. We have heard that supply of European onions could be depleted by May with prices going up by about 13%.

Italy’s growers of raw material tomato are at a standstill as negotiations between processors and growers cannot be agreed upon.

Higher production costs for potato growers and environmental constraints make growing potatoes more risky, difficult, and expensive. However, demand for raw material is increasing due to new processed potato factories coming on board as well as some existing factories expanding capacity. We have already heard grower prices up by 30% to 45% for the 2023 crop. This will surely impact French fry prices moving forward.

Potato prices in Europe are significantly on the rise and most suppliers have reduced their footprint and not taking on new clients.

Global demand for potato products, including French fries, remain high despite the limited volumes available.


One of the main tomato producing areas in China, Xinjiang, has decreased it’s output by about 20%. Prices are up for raw material tomato products.

China’s 2022 ginger crop was reduced due to oversupply in 2021. Also, unfavorable weather conditions impacted its growth causing lower than anticipated yields.

It is estimated that ginger acreage in 2023 could be adjusted up by about 15% to 20%.


























































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