Most agricultural commodities produced in the Pacific Northwest are expected to generate some profits in the next 12 months, according to a quarterly Market Snapshot report by AgWest Farm Credit, a Spokane-based agricultural lending cooperative.
Pacific Northwest apple growers and packers can expect to see slightly higher yields as crop production rebounds from low levels in 2022, according to the report.
Apple crops this year have been impacted negatively by adverse weather that stressed trees and delayed growth, the report states, however early indicators suggest a larger crop is expected this year than in 2022. Demand for Pacific Northwest apples this season also is supported by reduced supplies in Michigan and New York.
Labor availability is likely to pose challenges for small- to medium-sized apple producers in Washington state as these producers have less capacity to meet regulations requiring worker housing, compared to large apple operations, the report states.
Regional apple growers could see a 125 million box crop in 2023, which is slightly below the 10-year average but above the crop totals reported last season.
Pacific Northwest dairies, on the other hand, are expected to face unfavorable headwinds due to declining milk prices combined with increasing feed costs, which are exacerbated by droughts in the Midwest that continue impacting corn and soybean production.
Additionally affecting feed grains, Mexico, which is the second largest export market for U.S. corn, announced a plan to ban the import of all genetically modified food-grade corn by January 2024.
Some cattle producers are expected to see profitable returns due to record-high prices from the continued demand for beef, declining production volumes, and improved pasture conditions. However, elevated feed costs and inflation are expected to impact profitability for cattle feeders in the next 12 months.
A long winter depleted hay stocks for many cow and calf producers, and stormy weather has continued to affect first hay cuttings across the region. Hay exports are expected to weaken due to decreased quality, declining buyer demand, and ongoing port challenges, the report says.
Other regional agricultural products and commodities expected to be profitable in the next 12 months include cherries, fisheries, forest products, nurseries and greenhouses, onions, pears, potatoes, sugar beets, small grains, and wines and vineyards.
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