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Smaller Avocado Crop Expected

April 27,2017-

from California Farm Bureau

The California Avocado Commission estimates farmers will ship 200 million pounds of fruit this season—only about half of what they sold the previous year, in part due to the cyclical nature of avocado production. Farmers say this year’s wetter winter and other signs point to a larger crop in 2018.

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 7.15.41 AMThose planning Cinco de Mayo parties might want to boost their guacamole budgets: Last fall, California avocado growers foresaw lower volumes for this year, and so far those predictions are bearing fruit.
“My crop is down quite a bit,” said Paul Van Leer, who grows avocados near Gaviota along the Santa Barbara County coast, citing the impact of multiple drought years that put his trees “in a little bit of a shock situation” as salts and minerals built up in the soil.
This past winter, Van Leer said, 25-plus inches of rain fell.
“It’s definitely leached all the salts and minerals out of our root zone,” he said. “The trees are just starting to wake up. They’re starting to bloom, they’re starting to flush. They should be happy. Mind you, we had to stump a lot of trees, us personally, because of the lack of water availability.”
As of April 11, a 48-count box of avocados was bringing $50.25 to $52.25 at the point of origin, according to latest figures from the California Avocado Commission, with farmers earning $1.80 to $1.88 per pound. In April 2016, growers were earning about 64 cents per pound, according to commission figures.
Avocado grower David Schwabauer of Moorpark confirmed avocado farmers are seeing good prices.
“The challenge is you don’t have the volume of fruit that you did last year, so you hope that the increase in price is going to help compensate for the lack of volume,” Schwabauer said.
Van Leer said he recognizes that, while the prices have risen for growers, they’re not so favorable for grocery shoppers.

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