SACRAMENTO - The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) California Agricultural Statistics Service has released the crop production forecast for August. The latest survey, conducted during the last week of July, included the following commodities:
Apples - California's 2003 apple crop forecast is 255,000 tons, up 9 percent from 2002. Acreage is estimated at 26,000 acres, resulting in a yield of 9.81 tons per acre. A mild spring with little hail or other weather‑related problems paved the way for a promising California apple crop. Apples are sizing and developing well, and harvest should yield a high percentage of clean, unmarked fruit. Cool conditions during late spring and early summer held back the crop a bit, causing harvest to begin one week later than normal. Gala harvesting began around the 20th of July in the San Joaquin Valley.
Cotton - Upland cotton production in California is forecast at 1.45 million bales, down less than 1 percent from last year. Harvested acreage is estimated to be 545,000 acres, resulting in a yield of 1,277 pounds per acre. California’s American Pima cotton production forecast is 390,000 bales, down 35 percent from last year. Harvested acreage is estimated at 149,000 acres, with a yield of 1,256 pounds per acre.
Grapes – Wine grape production for California is forecast at 3.05 million tons, unchanged from the July forecast, but down 3 percent from 2002. Quality is expected to be very good. High temperatures have reduced berry growth resulting in more skin contact and richer flavor. Table grape production is expected to total 740,000 tons, unchanged from the July forecast, but up slightly from last year. Table grape harvest was in full swing in the San Joaquin Valley. Varieties picked and packed included Flame Seedless, Black Marroo, Black Emerald and Princess. Fruit color and maturity in table grapes were generally good, although fruit cracking caused by high heat and humidity was noted in some vineyards. The California raisin grape forecast is 2.50 million tons, unchanged from the July forecast, but down 12 percent from 2002. Raisin grapes for fresh use were harvested in the San Joaquin Valley. The primary varieties included Thompson Seedless and Zante Currant. Fieldwork in preparation for raisin harvest was underway in some vineyards with cultivation and terracing.
Olives - California’s 2003 olive crop forecast is 115,000, up 12 percent from last year. The bearing acres are estimated to be 36,000 acres, resulting in a yield of 3.19 tons per acre. Olives are an alternative bearing crop. Although this year represents the high year of production, the increase from last year is not as large as expected. The cool, wet spring delayed bloom in most locations. Temperatures then increased, resulting in a bad bloom and spotty set.
Pears - The forecast of the 2003 Bartlett crop in California is 220,000 tons, down 5 percent from 2002. Harvesting is underway in some areas with small fruit sizes noted. Overall fruit quality is good, though some hail damage has been noted. Harvesting should begin in Lake County around the middle of August. Crop development has been slow, and volumes are expected to be light. However, the overall quality of the crop is good, with little hail damage. The 2002 other pear forecast for California is 30,000 tons, unchanged from 2002. Harvesting of Red and Seckel pears is now underway. No significant problems with the crop have been noted as yet.
Others - The rice production forecast is 37.4 million cwt., down 13 percent from 2002; alfalfa hay is 7.63 million tons, down 6 percent; other hay is 1.50 million tons, up slightly from 2002; corn is 523,600 tons, down 27 percent; sugar beets are 1.90 million tons, down 4 percent; dry beans are 1.55 million cwt., down 12 percent.
California’s Agricultural Statistics Service operates under a cooperative agreement between CDFA and the United States Department of Agriculture. Production forecasts are released on a monthly basis and do not reflect final production estimates. Late summer and fall harvests may change these estimates considerably. The next production forecast will be issued September 11, 2003.
California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814