La Niña Causes Active Markets for Produce – Blue Book Production

La Niña continues for the third consecutive winter.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has released its climate forecast for the February-April season. Although Northern Hemisphere weather conditions still reflect La Niña conditions, the NWS expects La Niña to transform into an El Niño-Southern Oscillation in early spring.

If La Niña conditions persist, farmers in the West/Northwest can expect cooler than average temperatures, and farmers in the South/Northeast can expect above average temperatures.

ProduceIQ: $1.14/lb, up +4.6% from the previous week

Fourth week, ending January 27thy

Blue Book has collaborated with ProduceIQ BB#: 368175 To display the ProduceIQ index to its readers. The index provides a benchmark for product industry prices using 40 major commodities to provide data for decision making.

Speaking of weather, Winter Storm Leona made its way south over the weekend, dumping much of the United States in sub-zero temperatures. Cold weather continued in the West pattern throughout the past week.

Although hail-related damage is minimal, harvests for commodities such as cauliflower and lettuce suffer delays.

Cauliflower prices increased +78 percent from the previous week. Prices rose in response to depleted supply. California wraps up, and farmers in the Arizona desert were unable to harvest some of the new crop because of the cold weather.

With more cold and icy weather on the forecast for much of the West this week, cauliflower prices could rise and supply could get worse before it gets better.

Cauliflower prices are rising, but the upside remains.

Lettuce markets are in a similar boat as cauliflower markets, but with a lot more metaphorical life jackets. And while the cold harvest delayed last week, prices have held relatively steady thanks to plentiful supplies. However, market conditions may change this week as farmers grapple with more wintry weather and later harvest delays.

Celery markets are on the way down. Prices decreased by -29 percent from the previous week. Finally, the Santa Maria/Oxnard growing areas are starting to pick up, and production in Arizona is starting to pick up in a big way. Expect prices to drop back to normal levels for this time of year over the next few weeks.

Celery is (quickly) back to normal after a record price hike

Blueberry prices are near a ten-year high. Up +12 percent from the previous week, unusually cold weather and heavy rain in central Mexico limited supply. In a vulnerable position due to persistently bad weather, berry markets are poised for volatility over the next couple of weeks.

Raspberry prices have risen to $27 and are preparing for another challenging winter.

Avocado suppliers seem to have read the highlights of the past week and are now seeking to force unwilling and stagnant prices higher. Avocado import volumes usually do not decrease significantly until the seventh week.

But despite a significant drop in Mexican avocado import volumes last week and an increase in Super Bowl demand, avocado prices remained flat throughout the week.

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ProduceIQ Index

ProduceIQ is the fresh produce industry’s only point-of-charge price index. It represents the industry-wide price per pound at the packing site for domestic products, and at the US port of entry for imported products.

ProduceIQ uses 40 of the best commodities to represent the industry. The index dynamically weighs each commodity, by season, as a function of the average weekly rolling sales for a period of 5 years. Sales are calculated using the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service for movement and price data. The index acts as a fair benchmark of industry price performance.

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