Mexican asparagus output hit by weather setbacks

From The Packer | 27 February 2023

Overview of asparagus from Mexico in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on February 24, 2023. 

Mexico asparagus programs for the months of January to March will take a substantial hit due to prolonged cold weather during the growing season, a Mexican grower group reports.

The Caborca, San Luis and Mexicali valleys account for close to 35,000 acres of conventional and organic asparagus to supply U.S. and other export markets from January through April.

Due to inclement weather this season, the Mexican asparagus deal has seen serious volume reductions in forecasted projections for the 2023 season, according to a news release from the Association of Fruit and Vegetable Producers of Caborca A.C.

The weather outlook does not improve through early March and perhaps beyond that, according to the release.

Season-to-date asparagus production in the Caborca valley is 50% lower than the forecasted volume as of Feb. 18, according to the release. The USDA reports season-to-date shipments of Mexican asparagus to the U.S. totaled 167.9 million pounds through Feb. 18,  down 18% from the same time a year ago.

asparagus volumes by his

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

The Caborca season usually runs until the first week of April.

One challenge that growers are facing, the release said, is forecasting March production and peaks.

Growing technical data suggests that there was a lack of asparagus dormancy due to weather and rains late November and December, according to the release.

The asparagus’ sizing is also significantly below normal, with 6% of shipments represented by extra-large and jumbo sizes this year compared with a typical average of 15% for those sizes, the release said.

The USDA reported the average fob price for asparagus (all origins) on Feb. 18 was $28.50 per carton, up from $22.55 per carton at the same time a year ago. Mexico accounted for about 88% of the total asparagus shipments in the U.S. the week of Feb. 12, with Peru providing the balance.

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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