Sacramento - The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) Agricultural Statistics Service has released the crop production forecasts as of September. The latest survey, conducted during the first week of September, includes the following commodities:
Corn - The corn acreage harvested for grain remains unchanged from August at 110,000 acres. The yield per acre also is unchanged from August at 4.76 tons. Compared to the 2002 crop year, the acreage is 26 percent lower, while the yield is unchanged. The resulting production is 523,600 tons, 27 percent less than in 2002.
Cotton – Upland cotton production in California is forecast at 1.5 million bales, up 3 percent from 2002 and up an identical amount from the August 2003 forecast. Harvested acreage is estimated to be 555,000 acres, resulting in a yield of 1,297 pounds per acre. The forecast for American Pima cotton production is 370,000 bales, down 39 percent from the 2002 crop and down 5 percent from the August 1 estimate. Harvested acreage is estimated at 139,000, resulting in a yield of 1,278 pounds per acre.
Oranges - The initial 2003‑04 California Navel orange forecast is 78 million cartons at 37.5 pounds each, down 5 percent from last season's crop. Of this total, 76 million cartons are forecast to be produced in the Central Valley. Bearing acreage is estimated at 128,000, resulting in a yield of 609 cartons per acre. The forecast is based on the Navel Orange Objective Measurement Survey conducted in the Central Valley. Survey data indicated an average set of 358 oranges per tree, with a September 1 diameter of 2.41 inches. Weather‑related crop damage has resulted in reduced fruit sets in many areas. Fruit sizing is highly variable, but sizes appear to be larger overall than last year.
Pistachios - The 2003 California pistachio production forecast is 180 million pounds, down 41 percent from last year. Bearing acreage is estimated to be 88,000, 6 percent greater than in 2002. The resulting yield of 2,050 pounds per acre is 44 percent less than last year. The forecast is based on the Pistachio Objective Measurement Survey conducted during July. Pistachios are an alternate bearing crop, with this year representing a low production year. Following the record 2002 crop, the 2003 season got off to a wet start. Rains during key bloom periods resulted in a bad bloom and spotty set. The arrival of warm weather in late May and early June, however, promoted good growth and development. To date, the overall crop is looking better than originally expected.
Rice - All rice production in California for 2003 is forecast at 39.6 million cwt., down 8 percent from last year. The yield forecast is 8,000 pounds per acre. Planted and harvested acreages are estimated at 498,000 and 495,000 acres, respectively. California rice growers have generally overcome the wet weather problems they faced early in the season. There was concern that late plantings would have a negative affect on yields, but the hot weather that hit California during July has resulted in normal levels of heat units that are necessary for rice. Rice harvest had just begun on a limited basis on September 1st.
Sugar Beets - The 2003 California sugar beet production forecast is 1.9 million tons, unchanged from the August forecast, but down slightly from last season. Harvested acreage remains unchanged from last month with 50,000 acres, resulting in a yield of 38 tons per acre.
Walnuts - The 2003 California walnut production forecast is 315,000 tons, up 12 percent from the 2002 crop of 282,000 tons. Bearing acreage is estimated to be 205,000. The forecast is based on the Walnut Objective Measurement Survey conducted during August. The survey indicated a state-average nut set of 1,599 up 2 percent from 2002. The San Joaquin Valley set is 1,429, up 25 percent from last year; the coastal area set is 640, down 49 percent from 2002; the Sacramento Valley set is 1,846, down 7 percent from last year. The percentage of sound kernels in-shell was 97 percent statewide.
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 October 10, 2003.
California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814