California’s latest contracted processing tomato production is forecast at 11.6 million tons, down 1 percent from the May forecast and 3 percent below the 2007 season, according to the USDA/NASS California field office.

Processors expected this production to come from 276,000 acres producing an average 42.03 tons per acre.

This year’s processing tomato crop is about a week behind schedule. In January, processors were expecting acreage to fall due to water uncertainties and attractively priced alternative crops. The frosty weather in mid-April caused spot damage in tomato plants in some growing areas. Dry conditions and high winds during the spring delayed fruit setting. Some growers reported that the late July crop was slow in ripening and volumes were low which was unusual for that time of the year.

In other areas, crop conditions have generally been excellent with no significant insect problems. Growers continued to apply spray applications when necessary. Growers reported that they have high to variable yields this year.

As of Aug. 16 the total Statewide inspected tonnage of tomatoes delivered (4,439,504 tons) was 20 percent lower compared to the same time one year ago (5,567,988 tons).