Northwest Cherry Challenges Pt 3

Northwest Cherry Challenges Pt 3

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. 2021’s Northwest cherry harvest is about six weeks off and the challenges growers have faced to get here have been many.

Northwest Cherry Grower president BJ Thurlby says wind and cold have undoubtedly reduced the crop to some extent, but Little Chery Disease is a problem that appears to get worse every year …

THURLBY … “Oh, it is, as far as trees go, and I hate to use this word because it’s one we all hate, but it’s at a ‘pandemic’ level over here for us. And, we’re figuring out how to mask up and keep our orchards and trees safe, but at the same time it’s going to continue being an issue until we see it go away.”

Without everyone’s diligence, Thurlby says it could be devastating …

THURLBY … “We’re 44,000 acres here in the state of Washington by ourselves into this thing, and that doesn’t include Oregon, Idaho, Utah, and Montana, but we don’t have the ability, I mean, let’s put it this way, if we have to pull out all 44,000 acres there’s just going to be a tremendous amount of people out of work, and I’ll be one of them.”

Thurlby says it won’t be easy, but they’re not giving up …

THURLBY … “We don’t see that as being the issue, you know, that occurring because we think we’re getting on top of this at this point, but, you know, it just all comes down to, again, everybody working together to protect your neighbor and try to do everything you can to make sure that whatever is spreading this is that we’re treating it.”

Thurbly says crop estimates for this year’s Northwest cherries should be ready by early to mid-May.

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