by SUSAN MANN
Growers of hand-harvested cucumbers are taking a price cut for some grades this year compared to a year ago as part of the 2014 agreement reached recently.
Al Krueger, executive assistant with the Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers, says the agreement was reached just before the matter was slated to go to arbitration this month. Hartung Brothers Inc. of Wisconsin, a licensed greenshipper, buys the largest number of cucumbers in Ontario.
Growers don’t particularly like the price cut, but “I think they probably understand it,” Krueger says. About farmers’ costs, he says it’s hard to determine if those are going up “at this stage because it’s hard to read what impact the lower Canadian dollar is going to have on costs.”
The Canadian dollar going down now in value compared to the American dollar won’t impact this year’s price but it will have an impact on next year’s prices, he says.
The cucumber agreement is the second in a series of vegetable agreements the processing vegetable growers board is negotiating. The first in the series was the onion agreement, reached in November 2013 with Cavendish Appetizers. It was the first onion agreement the processing vegetable growers negotiated since the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission approved last summer the onion growers’ request to be brought under the processing board’s jurisdiction.
Krueger says it would be naïve to say the pending closure of food processors in Ontario, including the Heinz tomato processing plant in Leamington this June, isn’t having an impact on this year’s vegetable negotiations. But he couldn’t point to the “tangible impact either. It’s more of a feeling that manufacturing, particular food manufacturing, is under pressure in Ontario.”
In the Dec. 18, 2013 newsletter, it said the processing vegetable growers wanted to maintain the same prices as 2013 for cucumbers, while Hartung Brothers’ final offer position was a $20 per ton price cut for the No. 1 grade and a $15 per ton cut for the No. 2 grade.
For cucumbers delivered at the factory receiving station up to and including Aug. 7, the minimum price per ton for the No. 1 grade (⅝ to 1 1/16 inches) is $825, a $15 per ton decline from 2013. There is also a $10 per ton drop in the price for the No. 2 grade (1 1/16 to 1½ inches) for this year to $332 per ton. There was no change in the prices compared to 2013 for the following three grades:
- No. 3 (1½ to 2 inches) - $222 per ton.
- No. 4 (2 to 2⅛ inches) - $20 per ton.
- Nubs and crooks - $20 per ton.
For processors that need a split planting, the minimum price for hand-harvested cucumbers delivered at the factory receiving station after Aug. 8 is:
- No. 1 (⅝ to 1 1/16 inches) - $898 per ton. A drop of $5 per ton compared to 2013.
- No. 2 (1 1/16 to 1½ inches) - $363 per ton. A drop of $5 per ton compared to 2013.
- No. 3 (1½ to 2 inches) - $239 per ton.
- No. 4 (2 to 2⅛ inches) - $22 per ton.
- Nubs and crooks - $22 per ton. BF