The USDA, NASS, California Field Office has released the crop production forecast for August. The latest survey, conducted during the last week of July and the first week of August, included the following commodities:
Apples – California's 2009 apple crop forecast is 165 thousand tons, down 8% from 2008. Acreage is estimated at 19.0 thousand acres, resulting in a yield of 8.68 tons per acre. California growers are expecting an average apple crop for the 2009 crop year. Harvest began during the middle of July. There has been low pest and disease pressure; quality is looking very good.
Cotton - Upland cotton production in California is forecast at 208 thousand bales, a decrease of 43% from last year. Harvested acreage is estimated at 64 thousand acres, resulting in a yield of 1,560 pounds per acre.
California's American Pima cotton production forecast is 330 thousand bales, down 18% from last year. Harvested acreage is estimated at 127 thousand acres, resulting in a yield of 1,247 pounds per acre.
Grapes - Wine-type variety grape production for California is forecast at 3.30 million tons, unchanged from the July forecast and up 8% from the 2008 crop. The table-type grape production is expected to total 850 thousand tons, unchanged from the July forecast and down 13% from last year. Table grapes are being harvested. The California raisin-type variety grape forecast is 2.10 million tons, unchanged from the July forecast and down 16% from last year. The 2009 raisin grape crop is smaller than last year; quality is looking good, although there have been some problems with mildew. The crop is ahead of schedule. Berry size is reported to vary greatly. Weather has been excellent for development.
Olives - California's 2009 olive crop forecast is 50.0 thousand tons, down 25% from last year. The bearing acres are estimated to be 29.0 thousand acres, resulting in a yield of 1.72 tons per acre. For the second year in a row the California olive crop is turning out light. The 2009 crop which was looking promising in early spring has turned disappointing. There was a heavy bloom and set reported in spring, but conditions deteriorated as the growing season progressed. Small olives were reported with some falling off trees. The change in the outlook has been attributed to spring freezes, extreme temperatures and water stress to trees. These factors seem to have had the most severe impact in San Joaquin Valley and a lesser impact in the Sacramento Valley. The decline of the 2009 crop has led some growers to evaluate whether harvesting this year's crop will be economically feasible.
Pears - The forecast of the 2009 Bartlett pear crop in California is 195 thousand tons, unchanged from last year. The 2009 other pear forecast for California is 55.0 thousand tons, up 15% from last year. The California Bartletts began blooming in March. In late-April, pear orchards in the north coast experienced excellent bloom. In mid-May, Bartlett pears were developing in the Sacramento Valley. The weather has been generally good for growing conditions with no extreme hot temperatures. There were minimal amounts of frost reported in growing regions. Harvest is nearing completion in the Sacramento Valley, while Lake and Mendocino counties are in the early stages of harvesting.
Other Crops - The rice production forecast is 45.8 million cwt., up 7% from 2008; alfalfa hay is 6.63 million tons, down less than 1%; other hay is 2.43 million tons, up 12%; corn for grain is 630 thousand tons, down 32%; sugar beets are 1.01 million tons, up less than 1%; dry beans are 1.43 million cwt., up 49% from 2008.