Oregon will produce 18 percent fewer hazelnuts this year: Bad forecasts?

Oregon will produce 18 percent fewer hazelnuts this year than it did last year, federal agricultural officials predicted based on an analysis of field and lab testing.

The experts say the state will produce 36,000 tons (32,700 metric tons) of hazelnuts this year, The Register-Guard reported (http://bit.ly/2xwkJka ) Thursday. The state produced 44,000 tons (40,000 metric tons) last year.

Hazelnut growers and representatives, however, said the industry’s production is tough to predict and has become even tougher in recent years.

“There are so many variables that it’s difficult to come up with this number every year,” said Polly Owen, director of the Oregon Hazelnut Industry Office. “For us, it’s more of a guideline.”

Garry Rodakowski, chairman of the Oregon Hazelnut Commission, said he wasn’t too surprised by this year’s forecast of a smaller crop.

“As I look at my orchard out of the tractor window, I can see the effects of eastern filbert blight, and my trees won’t produce as much as they used to because I’m having to prune that blight out,” Rodakowski said in reference to a deadly fungus that has hit some of his hazelnut, or filbert, trees.

Oregon produces 99 percent of the U.S. hazelnut crop, but only about 5 percent of the world crop, according to the Oregon Hazelnut Industry Office. Hazelnut prices are determined by the world market, which is dominated by Turkey.


source: Miami Herald