California’s 2008 Upland cotton production is forecast at 370,000 bales as of Dec. 1, 3 percent below the November forecast, and 43 percent below last year, according to the California Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

This is based on 117 thousand acres for harvest, with an average yield of 1,518 pounds per acre. The Upland cotton harvest was behind last year due to cool weather in the early fall months.

American-Pima cotton production in California is forecast at 400,000 bales, 50 percent below last year’s crop. The 151,000 acres for harvest are 41 percent below last year. As of Dec. 1, cotton harvest was nearly complete throughout the growing area.

The U.S. all cotton production is forecast at 13.6 million 480-pound bales, up 1 percent from the November forecast, but down 29 percent from last year. Yield is expected to average 843 pounds per acre, up 6 pounds from last month, but down 36 pounds from the record high yield in 2007.

Upland cotton harvested area, at 7.59 million acres, is unchanged from the November forecast, but down 26 percent from last year. American-Pima production is forecast at 444,000 bales, down 3 percent from November and down 48 percent from last year. Harvested acres are unchanged from last month, but down 41 percent from last year.

Dry edible beans

California’s 2008 dry bean production is estimated at 1.05 million cwt., 13 percent below last year. Harvested acreage totaled 52,000, 11 percent below last year. The overall yield was 2,030 pounds per acre, down 3 percent from last year.

Large lima production, at 340,000 cwt., was 13 percent higher than the 2007 crop. Baby lima production, estimated at 270,000 cwt., was 28 percent below last year. Light red kidney production, at 30,000 cwt., was 36 percent above last year.

The blackeye crop of 145,000 cwt. was 46 percent below last year. Production of garbanzos totaled 117,000 cwt., 3 percent above last year.

Fall potato production

California’s fall potato production is forecast at 3.94 million cwt., up 4 percent from 2007. Favorable weather conditions resulted in excellent crop quality and yields.

U.S. production of fall potatoes for 2008 is forecast at 374 million cwt., up slightly from the November forecast but down 8 percent from 2007. Area harvested, at 921,000 acres, is virtually unchanged from the November forecast, but 8 percent lower than 2007. The average yield, forecast at 406 cwt. per acre, is down 1 cwt. from November’s forecast and down 3 cwt. from 2007’s record high yield.

California fruit, nut review

Post-harvest activities in California were underway in grape vineyards during November, including irrigation, soil treatments, pruning, shredding, and treatments for weed, disease, and insect control.

Several table and wine grape varieties continued to be harvested and shipped. A small portion of the raisin crop remained to be boxed. Irrigation, pruning, and insect and weed treatments were underway in stone fruit and pomegranate orchards, and new pomegranate orchards were being planted.

Early Foothill, Wonderful, and Flamingo pomegranate harvest continued. Rain caused splitting on some pomegranate fruit still on the tree.

Angeleno plums and Flavor Fall pluots were harvested. Other fruit harvested during November included quince, kiwifruit, Fuyu and Hachiya persimmons, apples, Asian pears, olives, and jujubes. Strawberry harvest was concentrated in the Oxnard district. New blueberry bushes were planted.

Almond, pistachio, and walnut harvests were nearing completion, but hullers remained busy. Nut trees that had entered dormancy were being pruned and zinc was applied to some trees to burn off leaves. Pre-plant fumigations were also underway and some new almond and pistachio orchards were already being planted.

California’s Valencia oranges were packed during November. Most of the remaining fruit was being field harvested directly for juice or headed for the domestic market.

Navel orange harvest continued, with lagging fruit color and high sugar content. Varieties of navels picked included Early Beck, Bonanza, Fukumoto, and Washington.

Lemons were harvested and supplies were plentiful for most sizes. Mandarin varieties picked and packed included Owari satsumas and Fina clementines. Satsuma mandarins were showing high maturity. Chandler pummelos, Melogold and Cocktail grapefruit were also harvested. Citrus harvest had slowed in some areas due to low market prices.