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NNYADP Research Maps Selling at Wholesale Auctions
New York Ag Connection - 05/22/2020

The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program has posted the results of a project collecting and analyzing data from the first two years of operation of the St. Lawrence Valley Produce Auction at 58 Martin Road in North Bangor. This auction is the northernmost produce auction in New York State. The report posted at www.nnyagdev.org provides growers with tips for selling at wholesale auction, including notes on what to plant, when to plant, and how often to replant the same crop to increase auction sales. The project also included a survey of buyers.

"We collected weekly data to track sales, price, product seasonality, and lot sizes of the wholesale commodity products sold over the two years to identify factors that growers can use to enhance their success with produce auction sales," says project leader Lindsey Pashow, a Cornell Cooperative Extension agricultural business development and marketing specialist with Harvest New York.

The St. Lawrence Valley Produce Auction opened in 2018. Buyers purchase produce in lots of varying sizes. Sellers must accept the price brought by bidding. The auction generally operates one day each week in the spring, increasing to three days each week through the growing season to the end of October.

A survey of the St. Lawrence Valley Produce Auction buyers indicated that they value the opportunity to purchase local products, spend less on transportation by buying at auction, and the auction allows them to purchase from a variety of growers.

"Buyers were also able to realize increased profitability by paying auction prices versus wholesale-delivered prices," Pashow adds.

Overall sales at the auction increased 38 percent from 2018 to 2019. The top five products sold at the St. Lawrence Valley Produce Auction in both years were annual and perennial flowers, tomatoes, mums, pumpkins, and beans. Growers with product early and late in the year saw higher bidding.

"To achieve the early-season higher price point, growers may choose to increase the use of season extension options such as high tunnels, low tunnels, and row covers," Pashow notes.

For certain crops, such as beans, for which price trends are more difficult to predict, Pashow suggests multiple plantings to allow growers to have product available over a larger sales window to achieve a more sustainable average price.

As part of this NNYADP-funded project, Pashow and horticultural crop specialists made visits to farms to provide growers with educational support related to disease and pest management, plant fertility, and season extension practices.

Growers will find the results of NNYADP research projects related to high tunnel production and fruit and vegetable production under Northern New York climate and growing conditions at www.nnyagdev.org or by contacting their local Cornell Cooperative Extension offices.

Funding for NNYADP is supported by the New York State Legislature and administered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

The St. Lawrence Valley Produce Auction is open for business in 2020. Find more details at www.facebook.com/stlawrencevalleyproduceauction.


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