Contracted production for California processing tomatoes is forecast at 14.5 million tons, averaging 49.5 tons per acre, according to a recent report from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).
The current forecasted production is 4% above the 2014 crop, and 1% above the May forecast. Harvest began the first week of July in the Southern growing areas and is expected to run through mid-October.
The 2015 crop year has had low disease and pest pressures and cooperative weather. As in 2014, the primary issue affecting yield has been availability of water. The ongoing, extreme drought in California has forced growers to fallow land and cut back on the acreage for many crops. However, despite the water concerns, the acreage devoted to processing tomatoes has increased from last year.
The projected harvested acreage of tomatoes is 293,000 acres, a 3% increase from 2014. The shipping reports published by the Processing Tomato Advisory Board show that shipments through Aug. 22, 2015 are running 8% above that of 2014.