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Hazelnut crop may be most successful yet


With demand up due to shortage in Turkey, Oregon growers may see increased revenues

Hazelnut crop estimates were released last week in Oregon, and while numbers won’t hit last year’s above-average yield of 47,000 tons, farmers should be pleased with the outcome.

“It’ll probably be the best year ever for growers they’ve ever seen, so they’re pretty happy about that,” said Tim Newkirk, Willamette Hazelnuts Growers general manager.

Not the best year for production, with estimates resting around 36,000 tons, but in revenue. A frost in Turkey damaged the hazelnut crop in the country which delivers 70 percent of the world’s supply. This has buyers looking elsewhere for product, including Oregon, which is one of the only United States producers.Photo Credit: GARY ALLEN - In demand - This year's crop looks to be less than last year by nearly 10,000 tons, but a hazelnut shortage in Turkey could make 2014 one of the best revenue years for growers.

“Basically there’s just a lot of shortage on the global market with Turkey being hit hard and that’s put a lot of pressure on every other market,” Newkirk said. “What that does is put people who have to have hazelnuts to continue their production reaching out to a lot of people. When demand goes up and supply is limited, the price goes up.”

He said prices could easily increase 20 to 25 percent as a result.

“It really depends on what Turkey ends up producing overall and what they can supply and what they can’t supply and what those markets can bare as far as price goes,” he said.

The shortage may even impact Oregon’s sales in China, which typically is one of Oregon’s top buyers.

“China has been in the past our largest market but this year it may change if the numbers don’t work for them,” Newkirk said. “We’d love to supply everybody and make everybody happy.”

He said it will still be four to six months before growers know how the market will fare.

“The market is so fickle as far as the buyer goes,” he said. “Buyers don’t want to commit to the high prices if they might come down, so they always wait to the last minute to commit and get those orders in. That’s what we’re seeing right now.”