California’s contracted processing tomato production is forecast at 12 million tons, up 2 percent from the May forecast and 20 percent above the 2006 season, according to USDA/NASS.

Processors expect this production to come from 293,000 acres producing an average 40.96 tons per acre.

It has been an outstanding year for processing tomato growers, according to reports from growers. In January, processors were fairly confident about the year. The weather patterns have been conducive for successful fruit setting and harvest has been extremely good throughout the season. Warm weather accelerated crop progress in the early spring, and harvesting began earlier than usual in many areas and on time in some growing areas.

Crop conditions have generally been excellent, and problems with weeds and insect pests were reported to be at or below typical levels this season. Vigorous plant growth was noted during the first weeks of summer, and exceptionally high yields have been reported in most growing regions.

By Aug. 18, the total statewide inspected tonnage of tomatoes delivered (5,567,988 tons) was 41 percent higher compared to the same time one year ago (3,938,841 tons).

This forecast was funded by the California League of Food Processors, in cooperation with the California Department of Food and Agriculture.