Agronometrics in Charts: US Peach and Nectarine Production Projected to Drop to its Lowest Level in Almost 40 Years

By Agronometrics | 21 September 2023

In this installment of the ‘Agronometrics In Charts’ series, Sarah Ilyas studies the state of the Peach and Nectarine season in the US. Each week the series looks at a different horticultural commodity, focusing on a specific origin or topic visualizing the market factors that are driving change.

According to a recently published World Markets and Trade report published by the USDA, the forecast for U.S. peach and nectarine production in 2023/24 is 574,000 metric tons. Over the past five years, production has remained relatively stable, ranging between 650,000 and 710,000 tons. However, adverse weather conditions in key producing states are expected to push supplies below this range in 2023/24. California’s peach crop is anticipated to decline due to extended bloom caused by substantial rain and cool temperatures, while early blooms followed by March freezes are projected to reduce production in South Carolina and Georgia. This forecast marks a continuation of the declining trend that began in 2011/12, with production dropping below 1.0 million tons in 2013/14 for the first time in decades, a trend particularly pronounced in California.

According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), California accounts for an average 80 percent of U.S. output, and nearly 100 percent of peaches for processing. The overarching reduction in peach production can be attributed to diminishing demand for processed peaches, particularly Clingstone peaches, which are predominantly earmarked for processing purposes and have witnessed a substantial 43 percent decline in volume. Furthermore, in the 2022/23 season, California experienced a nectarine production decline that marked the first instance of the state falling below the 100,000-ton threshold since the early 1970s. This decline can be attributed to crop damage stemming from adverse meteorological conditions such as rain, hail, and near-freezing temperatures. These deleterious weather patterns have collectively driven U.S. peach and nectarine production to its lowest levels in decades, exacerbating the already reduced volumes resulting from declining market demand.

While a short-term resurgence in U.S. output above 600,000 tons appears likely, the sustainability of this recovery remains uncertain. It remains to be seen whether the longer-term downward trajectory in production can be effectively addressed.

peach volumes by commodi 2

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

nectarine volumes by com

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

During the 2022/23 season, the pricing dynamics for peaches and nectarines witnessed an unprecedented surge, culminating in record-high price points. Peaches commanded a substantial market price of $22.06 per package, while nectarines were sold at an average price of $23.94 per package.

According to the August 2023 Crop Production report published by the USDA, exports are expected to decrease by 11,000 tons to 50,000 tons in the 2023/24 season due to reduced supplies, while imports are projected to remain stable at 32,000 tons, driven by increased shipments from Mexico compensating for diminished shipments from Chile at the outset of the marketing year (January-December). Furthermore, domestic consumption is forecast to decrease to 556,000 tons, reflecting the combined effects of reduced supplies and steady demand for Southern Hemisphere produce during the off-season.

peach prices by commodit

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

nectarine prices by comm

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

In our ‘In Charts’ series, we work to tell some of the stories that are moving the industry. Feel free to take a look at the other articles by clicking here.

All pricing for domestic US produce represents the spot market at Shipping Point (i.e. packing house/climate controlled warehouse, etc.). For imported fruit, the pricing data represents the spot market at Port of Entry.

You can keep track of the markets daily through Agronometrics, a data visualization tool built to help the industry make sense of the huge amounts of data that professionals need to access to make informed decisions. If you found the information and the charts from this article useful, feel free to visit us at where you can easily access these same graphs, or explore the other 21 commodities we currently track.

Written by: Sarah Ilyas

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