The USDA-NASS, California Field Office released the crop production forecast for October. The latest survey, which was conducted during the last week of September and the first week of October, included the following commodities:
Cotton -American Pima cotton production in California is forecast at 720 thousand bales, up 5% from the 2006 crop, but down 3% from last month's forecast. Harvested acreage is estimated at 257 thousand acres, resulting in a yield of 1,345 pounds per acre. Upland cotton is forecast at 570 thousand bales, unchanged from last month's forecast, but down 27% from last year. With harvested acreage of 194 thousand, the resulting yield is 1,410 pounds per acre. Harvest has begun for a small number of California cotton growers. In most parts of the State, defoliation is still taking place and harvest should begin soon in these areas. Weather conditions have for the most part been good for cotton this season. If good weather continues, the harvest should proceed quickly.
Grapes - Production of all grape varieties for the 2007 season is forecast at 6.18 million tons, unchanged from the August forecast, but up 7% from last season. Wine-type variety grape production for California is forecast at 3.20 million tons, unchanged from the August forecast, but up less than 1% from last year. The table-type grape production is expected to total 780 thousand tons, unchanged from the August forecast, but up 7% from last year. The California raisin-type variety grape forecast is 2.20 million tons, unchanged from the August forecast, but up 18% from 2006. Harvest of raisin and table-type grapes for fresh market use were complete in the Coachella Valley. Late table-type grape varieties were harvested with Crimson Seedless, Red Globe, and Autumn Royal the major varieties picked. The wine-type grape harvest was progressing well until rain and cool temperatures hit the State causing some growers to delay harvest until sugar levels returned to adequate levels. The quality of grapes is extremely good, although berry size is not as large as in some seasons.
Oranges - The 2007-08 California orange crop is forecast at 116.0 million cartons, up 29% from last season. California's Navel orange forecast is 86.0 million cartons, up 26% from the previous season. Packing sheds are preparing for the new Navel season. A limited number of varieties are already being picked. Set per tree is heavy, though sizes have been smaller than average. California's Valencia orange forecast is 30.0 million cartons, up 36% from last season. The Valencia crop has developed normally thus far, with no major problems reported. Growers are expecting a good production year for Valencia oranges.
Prunes (Dried Plums) - California's 2007 prune production is forecast at 90.0 thousand dried tons, down 5% from the June 1 forecast and 50% below the 2006 crop. The 2007 prune crop experienced an extremely warm period during bloom. The bloom was also one of the shortest in memory. As a result of poor pollination, a small set occurred statewide. Several growers reported loss of fruit due to the dry weather conditions that hampered bee pollination activities. Production was also hindered as a result of stressed orchards recovering from the previous year's high production. Many growers in Yuba and Sutter counties described evidence of extremely low yields.
Others - The grapefruit forecast is 9.00 million cartons, up 13% from last season; lemon forecast is 33.0 million cartons, up 3% from last year; tangerine forecast is 9.40 million cartons, up 62%; pecan production forecast is 4.20 million pounds, up 24%. The corn for grain production is 931 thousand tons, up 83%; alfalfa hay forecast is 7.03 million tons, down 2%; other hay production is 2.23 million tons, up 17%; dry edible bean production is 1.28 million cwt., up 6%; and the rice crop is 43.2 million cwt., up 8% from last year.