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ProduceIQ: Markets cool off

The winners and losers balance each other for a steady week.

Far surpassing prior years, corn continues to soar at historic prices. Since this extreme price event is caused by low yields, corn farmers aren’t necessarily realizing big profits.

ProduceIQ Index: $0.99 /pound, -1.0 percent over prior week
(Week #2, ending January 15th)

Blue Book has teamed with ProduceIQ BB #:368175 to bring the ProduceIQ Index to its readers. The index provides a produce industry price benchmark using 40 top commodities to provide data for decision making.

Florida corn, grown in slow-draining muck soils, was vulnerable to the rainy November hurricanes. Both Florida and Mexican production is being slowed by the cool temperatures.

Corn soars past prices from the past 15-years, reaching historical highs.

Berries’ momentum continues to build as all four main types carry on with their ascent. Strawberries are experiencing lower yields from cool temps, and the market should remain tight through the Valentine’s Day demand. Raspberries shot up 76 percent and have room left to grow. Raspberry prices for the next 15 weeks are expected to range from $18 to $30 for 12-6oz clamshells.

Raspberries enter the high priced and active mid-winter market.

Tomatoes are falling (finally) after delayed harvest from cooler weather. The holidays prevent labor from bringing on increased supply until after New Year’s. Rounds fell -18 percent and Plum/Roma fell -40 percent. Markets remain on watch because cold weather continues, potentially slowing production.

Broccoli, cauliflower and lettuce fell lower, nearing their price floors. The cool temperatures, which slow tomato growth, offer ideal conditions for plants in the leafy green category. However, quality still has mixed reports. Though Iceberg isn’t at floor pricing, it could still use a boost from crowds touting New Year’s salad-eating resolutions.

Iceberg lettuce averaging close to $10 and subject to continued volatility.

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ProduceIQ Index
The ProduceIQ Index is the fresh produce industry’s only shipping point price index. It represents the industry-wide price per pound at the location of packing for domestic produce, and at the port of U.S. entry for imported produce.

ProduceIQ uses 40 top commodities to represent the industry. The Index weights each commodity dynamically, by season, as a function of the weekly 5-year rolling average Sales. Sales are calculated using the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service for movement and price data. The Index serves as a fair benchmark for industry price performance.

Mark Campbell was introduced to the fresh produce industry as a lender for Farm Credit. After earning his MBA from Columbia Business School, he spent seven years as CFO for J&J Family of Farms and later served as CFO advisor to several produce growers, shippers and distributors. In this role, Mark saw the impediments that prevent produce growers and buyers to trade with greater access and efficiency. This led him to cofound ProduceIQ.