SACRAMENTO - The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) California Agricultural Statistics Service released the latest crop production forecast for August. The latest survey, conducted during the last week of July, included the following commodities:
Apples - California's 2004 apple crop forecast is 220,000 tons, down two percent from 2003. Acreage is estimated at 26,000 acres, resulting in a yield of 8.45 tons per acre. The 2004 apple crop got off to an early start. Harvesting began eight days earlier than normal for the Gala variety. Growers began harvesting the week of July 19 in the San Joaquin Valley. The warm weather received during the spring was responsible for the advanced crop. The spring heat wave, however, caused the fruit to be smaller. Color on the Gala variety is very good, and the overall quality of the Granny Smith variety is excellent.
Cotton - Upland cotton production in California is forecast at 1.65 million bales, an increase of ten percent from last year. Harvested acreage is estimated to be 557,000 acres, resulting in a yield of 1,422 pounds per acre. California’s American Pima cotton production forecast is 640,000 bales, up 73 percent from last year. Harvested acreage is estimated at 219,000 acres, with a yield of 1,403 pounds per acre.
Grapes - The 2004 grape harvest got off to one of the earliest starts ever with many vineyards reported to be 2-4 weeks ahead of normal. Grapes matured early due to weather conditions and a light crop. Wine-type variety grape production for California is forecast at 2.90 million tons, unchanged from the July forecast, and down slightly from 2003. Bins of harvested grapes were trucked to wineries for processing. Some wineries in parts of Northern California started pressing grapes for Champagne. The table-type grape production is expected to total 750,000 tons, unchanged from the July forecast, but up 2 percent from last year. Table grape harvest was in full swing in Kern and Fresno Counties. Flame Seedless, Red Globe, Princess and Black Seedless were the primary table type varieties being harvested. The California raisin-type variety grape forecast is 2.05 million tons, unchanged from the July forecast, but down 5 percent from 2003. Harvesting of raisin-type grapes was active in the San Joaquin Valley. Thompson Seedless was the primary raisin-type variety harvested.
Olives - California’s 2004 olive crop forecast is 85,000 tons, down 28 percent from last year. The bearing acres are estimated to be 32,000 acres, resulting in a yield of 2.66 tons per acre. Olives are an alternate bearing crop, and this year represents the lower year of overall production. The olive crop in the southern area, Tulare County, is spotty and light. The heat wave from the end of April through the beginning of May scorched the bloom and resulted in a poor set. The crop in the northern areas, Tehama and Glenn Counties, looks good. The Sevillano variety is light, but the Manzanillo variety is heavy and quality is good.
Pears - The forecast of the 2004 Bartlett pear crop in California is 230,000 tons, up six percent from 2003. Harvesting of Bartlett pears in abundant quantities continued in the Central Valley, with the transition to the Lake-Mendocino district currently underway. Harvesting began relatively early this season, as the crop matured quickly under ideal weather conditions. The favorable conditions also resulted in a crop with high sugar content, large fruit sizes and good external quality. The 2004 other pear forecast for California is 48,000 tons, down 13 percent from 2003. Red, Bosc and Asian pears were among the varieties being harvested. Overall crop quality was reported to be very good, as a result of excellent growing conditions this season.
Others - The rice production forecast is 48.4 million cwt., up 25 percent from 2003; alfalfa hay is 7.56 million tons, down one percent; other hay is 1.57 million tons, down seven percent; corn for grain is 851,200 tons, up 12 percent; sugar beets are 1.83 million tons, down slightly from 2003; dry beans are 1.30 million cwt., down seven 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 10, 2004.
California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814