News Release
California Department of Food and Agriculture
Media Contact:
Steve Lyle, Office of Public Affairs, (916) 654-0462,
Release #02-027
SACRAMENTO - The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Agricultural Statistics Service has released the crop production forecast for May 2002. The latest survey includes the following commodities:

Almonds - The initial forecast for 2002 California almond production is a record 940 million pounds. This is up 13% from last year's production of 830 million pounds. Estimated bearing acreage for 2002 is 530,000. This forecast is based on calls made April 23-May 3 to a sample of almond growers. Of the 411 growers sampled, 214 reports were usable. Acreage from the usable reports accounted for 18% of the total bearing acreage.

Weather conditions for the almond crop were nearly ideal during the critical bloom and pollination period. However, an early March freeze in the Sacramento Valley caused major damage to trees in Colusa, Glenn, and Yolo counties. Crop damage estimates varied significantly with a few growers reporting total losses. The largest loss was in Colusa County, where an estimated 90% of the trees were affected. Despite the freeze, yields are expected to be up 12% from last year. Crop progress appears to be slightly behind normal due to the recent cool weather.

Peaches - The 2002 Freestone peach crop is forecast at 415 thousand tons, up 7% from the 2001 crop. Bearing acreage is estimated at 39,000 acres resulting in a yield of 10.60 tons per acre. The 2002 Clingstone peach crop forecast is 500 thousand tons, up 5% from the previous year. Bearing acreage is estimated at 30,700 acres with a yield of 16.30 tons per acre. Freestone peach growers in California experienced excellent weather conditions during bloom, resulting in a heavy set. Harvest of Freestone peaches began around the middle of April. Clingstone peach growers did not experience any weather difficulties during bloom. Set is reported to be lighter in the Sacramento Valley than in the northern San Joaquin Valley. Harvest is expected to begin around the middle of June.

Wheat - The 2002 Winter wheat production forecast is 23.3 million bushels, down 13% from last year. Harvested acres are estimated at 310,000 with a yield of 75.0 bushels per acre. Most of the winter wheat
crop has been reported in good condition. However, prolonged dry weather has affected dry land wheat

growers in Southern California. Some dry land wheat fields could not be planted, others could not germinate, while others were already showing stress from lack of water. No major pest or disease problems have been reported to date. Durum wheat 2002 production is forecast to be 9.00 million bushels, up 6% from 2001. Harvested acres are estimated at 90,000 with a yield of 100 bushels per acre. The Durum wheat crop condition was reported as good-to-excellent with no major pest or disease problems thus far. Imperial Valley harvest should begin on a very limited basis by early May. Crop development was somewhat behind normal in the Imperial and San Joaquin valleys due to cooler temperatures in February and March, but has recovered with warmer temperatures.

Avocados - The 2001?02 avocado crop production forecast is 188,000 tons, down 12% from the previous year. Bearing acreage is estimated at 58,000 with a yield of 3.24 tons per acre. Several adverse conditions have hindered the California avocado crop thus far. After a cold snap in January, thousands of acres in the Fallbrook area and other parts of Southern California were damaged by fire. However, the high winds driving the flames proved the most devastating to the crop.

The California Agricultural Statistics Service operates under a cooperative agreement between the California Department of Food and Agriculture and USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This joint service prepares and distributes statistics on California agriculture. The next production report will be issued on June 12, 2002.

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California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814