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  • Bigger hazelnut crop expected in Oregon

    Aug 26th, 2016

    Good pollination last winter and a good crop set are some of the reasons why a bigger hazelnut crop is expected in Oregon this year. With harvesting still about a month away, growers are hoping Eastern Filbert Blight doesn't put too much of a damper on what's looking to be a good production this year.“Every observation is that the crop will be pretty heavy,” said Joan Firestone with Firestone Farms in Dayton, Oregon. The most recent USDA forecast predicts this year's hazelnut production in Oregon will reach 38,000 tons. That's a 23 percent increase over last year's crop, which reached 31,000 tons. While increased tonnage is partly due to the alternate-bearing nature of hazelnuts, this year's forecast is still 2,000 tons ahead of production in 2014.

    “Though production throughout the years has sort of leveled off, there's still a natural biennial tendency with hazelnuts, so it's expected that we would be up this year,” explained Firestone. “Along with that, we had a dry winter, which is great for pollination, and we had a really good nut set.” A limiting factor is the presence of a blight that largely affects Barcelona variety trees. The disease has spread through older, non-resistant trees over the last several years, and if the blight spreads quickly it may force growers to take out some of their acreage in order to replant with trees resistant to the disease.Though not expected to be as strong this year, pricing will likely still be very favorable to growers. There are concerns about hazelnut production in Turkey, which is the largest grower of hazelnuts in the world, and that could create opportunities for U.S. hazelnuts. Increased demand would then make for better prices.“We are expecting lower prices this year, but it's not looking like a huge downturn,” said Firestone. “Prices for Turkish product coming in are still very strong, which means prices for our domestic users will also be up there.”


    Source: http://www.freshplaza.com