Sacramento – The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) Agricultural Statistics Service has released the latest crop production forecast. The survey, conducted during the first week of October 2003, includes the following commodities:
Cotton – American Pima cotton is forecast at 380,000 bales, an increase of 3 percent from the September 1 forecast, but a decrease of 37 percent from last year. Harvested acreage is estimated to be 139,000, resulting in a yield of 1,312 pounds per acre. The crop is expected to be variable, with good yields possible in early-planted fields but poor yields possible in many late-planted fields. Open bolls were showing in a number of fields by early September. There were initial expectations of lygus being a serious problem this year, but to this point the pests have been kept under control. Whiteflies and aphids have been reported, but at manageable levels to this point.
Upland cotton is forecast at 1.60 million bales, up 7 percent from the September 1 forecast and up 10 percent from last year. Harvested acreage is estimated to be 555,000, resulting in a yield of 1,384 pounds per acre. The upland cotton crop has been aided by from beneficial weather this summer and early fall, after cool weather earlier this year that caused many problems. Defoliation had begun in a number of upland fields by late September, and harvesting was just underway during the first week of October in a few fields in the southern San Joaquin Valley. So far, there have been no major pest problems reported, although whitefly populations have been increasing over the last two months.
Grapes – Production of all grape varieties for the 2003 season is forecast at 5.99 million tons, down 5 percent from the August forecast and down 11 percent from last season. Wine variety grape production for California is forecast at 3 million tons, down 2 percent from the August forecast, and down 5 percent from 2002. The table grape production is expected to total 690,000 tons, down 7 percent from both the August forecast and last year. The California raisin variety grape forecast is 2.3 million tons, down 8 percent from the August forecast, and down 19 percent from 2002. Mild May temperatures helped the grape crop get off to a good start. However, above normal temperatures in July and August were accompanied by mid‑August rains, which resulted in reduced yields in some varieties. Production and quality outlook of the crop varies depending on variety and location.
Oranges – The 2003-04 California orange crop is forecast at 118 million cartons, down 5 percent from last season. California’s Navel orange forecast is 78 million cartons, down 5 percent from the previous season. Significantly lighter fruit sets have been observed in many areas, but fruit sizes appear larger overall than last year. The developing crop has exhibited good shape and texture, and high summer temperatures are expected to benefit the fruit's sugar content. Harvesting is expected to begin in early November. California’s Valencia orange forecast is 40 million cartons, down 5 percent from last season.
Others - The grapefruit forecast is 11 million cartons, down 2 percent; the lemon forecast is 46 million cartons, down 4 percent; the tangerine forecast is 5 million cartons, unchanged from last year; the pecan production forecast is 3.7 million pounds, down 3 percent; the corn for grain production is 618,800 tons, down 13 percent; alfalfa hay is 7.63 million tons, down 6 percent; other hay production is 1.5 million tons, unchanged from last year; and the rice crop is 39.1 million cwt., with a yield of 7,900 pounds per acre from 495,000 harvested acres.
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 November 12, 2003.
California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814