August 29, 2018

California estimates 2018 processing tomato crop

Contracted production for California processing tomatoes this year is forecasted at 11.8 million tons, averaging 50.4 tons per acre, according to a release from the  National Agricultural Statistics Service’ Pacific region office.

The current forecasted production is 13.4 percent above the 2017 crop, and 0.8 percent below the May forecast. The projected harvested acreage of tomatoes grown under contract is 234,000 acres, an increase of 5.9 percent compared to 2017.

The forecast for 2018 is still lower than the state record for production, 14.3 million tons, set in 2015.

High summer temperatures resulted in the crop developing sooner than planned in some areas of the state. Harvest began in early July, with a slightly slower start than in 2017, but caught up by the third week. Yields were reported to be good and above-contracted levels.

With a larger crop, sugars are expected to be lower compared to last season. Water availability has not been an issue and there were minimal concerns about disease and pest pressure reported.

The shipping reports published by the Processing Tomato Advisory Board showed that shipments through August 25, 2018 were running 8.5 percent above those of 2017.

This processing tomato estimate is funded by the California League of Food Processors, in cooperation with the California Department of Food and Agriculture.