The Pacific Northwest growers expect a 20.4 million-box sweet cherry crop this season. That’s down 22.7 percent from last year’s record 26.4 million, 20-pound boxes.

If weather allows high quality, it should mean higher prices than the dismal July returns last year when a glut caused wholesale prices to tumble below an unprofitable $16 per box.

A possible U.S.-China trade deal ending a 15 percent Chinese tariff on U.S. fruit would also be a big help, said B.J. Thurlby, president of Northwest Cherry Growers in Yakima. The PNW shipped 3.2 million boxes of cherries — 13 percent of its crop — to China last season, he said.

The tariff is on top of a 10 percent duty and a 13 percent value-added tax, he said. It’s already affected California shipments along with a shorter pest protocol quarantine, he said.

Read the whole story at the Capital Press.