The California Department of Food and Agriculture's (CDFA) Agricultural Statistics Service has released the latest crop production forecasts for October. The survey, conducted during the first week of October 2004, includes the following commodities:
Cotton - American Pima cotton production in California is forecast at 645,000 bales, an increase of 73 percent from the 2003 Pima crop and up 1 percent from the month earlier forecast. Harvested acreage is estimated at 219,000 acres, resulting in a yield of 1,414 pounds per acre. Upland cotton is forecast at 1.75 million bales, an increase of 3 percent from last month's forecast and up 17 percent from last year.
With harvested acreage estimated at 557,000 acres, the yield is forecast at 1,508 pounds per acre. Weather conditions have remained extremely cooperative, promoting rapid growth and steady development in both Upland and Pima cotton fields. The crops were ahead of normal by approximately 10 days to 2 weeks.
Harvesting was under way at the end of September in the San Joaquin Valley, with good yields reported. Bolls continued to open in several areas. Many fields were being defoliated as growers continue to prepare fields for harvest.
There have been areas infested with white fly in the last few weeks, but most growers were prepared and able to keep them under control.
Grapes - Production of all grape varieties for the 2004 season is forecast at 5.5 million tons, down 4 percent from the August forecast, and down 5 percent from last season. Wine-type variety grape production for California is forecast at 2.7 million tons, down 7 percent from the August forecast and 7 percent from last year. The table-type grape production is expected to total 750,000 tons, unchanged from the August forecast, but up 2 percent from last year. The California raisin-type variety grape forecast is 2.05 million tons, unchanged from the August forecast, and down 5 percent from 2003.
The 2004 grape harvest was one of the earliest on record. Grapes matured early due to a March heat wave, which caused vines to break buds early. Hot weather during the first half of September, however, caused some dehydration in wine-type varieties, affecting yields in some areas. Overall quality was described as excellent. The quality of raisins was also reported to be very good.
Increased demand and prices for both raisins and concentrate resulted in better economic conditions for growers. This year's table grape crop had large berries and bunch sizes with outstanding quality. After getting off to a good start, above normal temperatures in July and August and mid-August rains, resulted in reduced yields in some varieties. Quality and yield vary depending upon variety and location.
Oranges - The 2004-05 California orange crop is forecast at 124 million cartons, up 19 percent from last season. California's record high Navel orange forecast is 92 million cartons, up 21 percent from the previous season. The crop matured quickly this summer, due to higher than average temperatures. As a result, the developing fruit has shown a significantly larger size profile than in previous years.
The fruit were coloring well, but overall exterior quality was not as high as last year's. It was expected that a relatively high percentage will be diverted to processing. California's Valencia orange forecast is 32 million cartons, up 14 percent from last season.
Others - The grapefruit forecast is 10.4 million cartons, down 4 percent; lemon forecast is 39 million cartons, up 8 percent; tangerine forecast is 5.8 million cartons, up 7 percent; pecan production forecast is 3.4 million pounds, down 8 percent. The corn for grain production is 877,800 tons, up 15 percent; alfalfa hay is 7.56 million tons, down 1 percent; other hay production is 1.67 million tons, down 1 percent; and the rice crop is 48.6 million cwt., up 26 percent from last year.