Growers should be sitting down with their shippers and marketers to determine “what if” strategies should the 18/19 season show signs of re-emerging. This means will the navel and mandarin season get off to a better start than last year? Last year there were several dynamics that adversely affected net returns per acre. Growers, shippers, and marketers were all impacted by a variety of dynamics most of which were foisted upon them. The conversation should begin with one broad question: What did we learn and what can we do differently?
- Review with your shipper the just announced crop estimate for navels and his review of size, grade, and volume for both navel oranges and mandarins.
- Review with your shipper their thoughts on the lingering offshore product and their perspective on pricing today and into October/November.
- Review their perspective on exports in general. What affects sales into Japan, Korea, Canada and, of course, China. Where is there an exploration for growth?
- Discuss with them how your costs have changed and whether your acreage will yield the published crop estimate, be below or above and your size structure.
- Discuss with them if there is an intention to participate in USDA’s fruit purchase program and if not, why not. There is no wrong answer, but an answer should be given, nevertheless.
- Discuss with them the percentage of navel oranges that are gibbed in their tree crop base.
- Get their perspective on why there was a drop in per capita consumption of oranges and mandarin varieties last year and how they believe the industry should rally to thwart that trend. Yes, this is coffee shop talk but every now and then something better than coffee is received.
- Determine the plans for differentiating California fruit from an offshore product at the outset of the season.
- Suggest a pre-season grower meeting to ascertain grower thoughts and responses to all the above. This will be more time-efficient for everybody.
It was a bad year as the CCM Navel Perspective stated, but that was yesterday. Allowing it to be replicated for tomorrow would be a mistake on all parties.