California tomato processors contract for 11.9 million tons
California’s tomato processors reported in May they were contracting for 11.9 million tons of processing tomatoes during 2018, according to a report from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.
This production is a slightly less than a January forecast, but 14.3 percent above the final 2017 contracted production total. The May contracted acreage of 238,000 is 0.8 percent below the January intentions forecast and 3.9 percent above last year’s final contracted acreage.
Fresno County remains the top California County in contracted planted acreage for 2018 with 75,200 acres. Yolo, Kings, Merced, and San Joaquin make up the remaining top five counties, accounting for 76 percent of the 2018 total contracted planted acreage for California.
Winter was mostly dry, but spring rains eased concerns about water availability. Unfortunately, the inconvenient timing of the late season rain caused some delays in planting. Early reports on the crop were optimistic, with mild temperatures encouraging strong growth and low pest and disease pressure. Growers and processors hope a cooler summer than the last will boost yields. Harvest is expected to begin mid-July.
The processing tomato estimate is funded by the California League of Food Processors, in cooperation with the California Department of Food and Agriculture.