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Missouri Produce Growers

A joint publication of the University of Missouri and Lincoln University.



AUTHOR

Patrick Byers
University of Missouri
(417) 881-8909
byerspl@missouri.edu

Do Produce Auctions Need More Fruit Growers

Patrick Byers
University of Missouri
(417) 881-8909
byerspl@missouri.edu

Published: December 1, 2011

Successful produce auctions offer a diversity of crops to potential bidders. The situation at Missouri produce auctions is generally good with regards to vegetables, particularly as growers use high tunnels to expand crop options and lengthen the growing season. The situation with fruit, however, appears to be quite different. The general impression is that most auctions would benefit from both greater amounts of fruit and a greater diversity of fruit types. To follow up on this, the managers of 5 produce auctions in Missouri, Kentucky, and Ohio were contacted, and asked about the fruit situation, including the types of fruit sold, the amount of fruit, and prices received. The response from each auction manager highlighted the need for more fruit. The need for berries in particular was mentioned.

Successful produce auctions offer a diversity of crops to potential bidders. The situation at Missouri produce auctions is generally good with regards to vegetables, particularly as growers use high tunnels to expand crop options and lengthen the growing season. The situation with fruit, however, appears to be quite different. The general impression is that most auctions would benefit from both greater amounts of fruit and a greater diversity of fruit types. To follow up on this, the managers of 5 produce auctions in Missouri, Kentucky, and Ohio were contacted, and asked about the fruit situation, including the types of fruit sold, the amount of fruit, and prices received. The response from each auction manager highlighted the need for more fruit. The need for berries in particular was mentioned.

An important consideration for blueberry production is keeping birds away. Netting is the most effect method, but there are other effective approaches as well.

So, what does this mean for farmers who are interested in selling fruit, particularly berries, at a produce auction? First of all, check with your auction manager and learn which fruits are particularly in demand. Second, growers should carefully examine the cost of production relative to the price received for fruit at auction. Find out what the bid prices were for fruit at your auction. Many of the planning budgets currently available for small-scale fruit production assume direct market pricing for fruit, which is generally higher than the price received at auction. Next, realistically consider the place that fruit production may have on your farm, especially if you are a diversified farmer. Finally, consider high tunnel fruit production, which can increase productivity; improve fruit quality, handling and shelf life; protect the crop from adverse weather; and extend the production season earlier and later than field production. These advantages will greatly influence profitability.

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REVISED: November 30, 2015