California’s 2012 olive crop is forecast to be 180,000 tons, up 153 percent from last year’s crop of 71,200 tons, according to NASS.

Bearing acreage is estimated at 44,000 for a yield of 4.09 tons per acre. Of the total production, an estimated 94,000 tons will be utilized for canning, and the remaining 86,000 tons are expected to be harvested for oil or specialty products.

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Growers are anticipating a good crop, especially after last year’s poor crop. Weather conditions during the bloom period were generally good. In the north, there was a good set. Producers thinned their crop to allow the remaining fruit to grow bigger. In the south, there was an initial good fruit set, but after Easter, extreme weather events resulted in some false bloom. This decreased the set slightly, but will permit the fruit to grow larger.

The Manzanillo and Sevillano olive varieties are expected to produce 47 percent and 9 percent of the total olive crop, respectively. The remaining 44 percent is expected to come from all other varieties.

A total of 324 growers were sampled for the survey.  Reports from 179 were used to establish this forecast. The sample is designed to provide a state estimate of all varieties; estimates by variety are less precise.

(For more, see: Large olive crop may benefit from chemical thinning)