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August 30,2014

Processing tomatoes are a major job producer in the Valley

Processing tomatoes are a major job producer in the Valley

The extreme drought in California has forced growers to fallow land and cut back on the acreage for many crops, but the impact on tomato acreage appears to be limited reports USDA. The projected harvested acreage of tomatoes is 288,000 acres, a 12.5 percent increase from 2013. A good portion comes from the parched fields of the westside of the San Joaquin Valley.

Farmers have contracted production of California processing tomatoes at a record high 14.0 million tons, averaging 48.61 tons per acre, according to a survey conducted by the National Agricultural Statistics Service. The current forecasted production is 17.6 percent above the 2013 crop, but unchanged from the May forecast.

Harvest started the last week of June in the Southern growing areas (Kern,Kings,Fresno) and is expected to run through mid-October. The 2014 crop year has had low disease and pest pressure.

Harvest Going Well

The primary issue affecting yield has been availability of water. Still the shipping reports published by the Processing Tomato Advisory Board show that shipments through August 23, 2014 are running 13.7 percent above that of 2013.

Helping to keep production high growers have planted the most acreage in the state since 2009. This year they have planted 290,000 acres, up from 259,000 acres in 2013. Despite water issues the yield continues above 48 tons per acre similar to the yield for the past 2 years.Yields in processing tomatoes have increased in the past few decades from 31 tons in 1991 to near 49 tons today.

The total  tonnage expected at 14 million is far above totals from the past few years at around 12 million tons.

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