California’s tomato processors reported to USDA/NASS they have or will have contracts for 11.8 million tons of processing tomatoes for 2007. This production is 18 percent more than the contracted production of last year.

The production for 2007 is expected to come from 293,000 acres. The estimated acreage is 5 percent more than last year’s contracted planted acres. The May acreage is 4 percent less than the January intentions forecast of 305,000 acres.

Fresno County retains the top spot over all the counties in contracted planted acreage for 2007 with 122,000 acres. Yolo County grabbed the number two position with 36,000 contracted planted acres. Rounding out the top five counties for contracted planted acreage in 2007 were San Joaquin, Kings, and Colusa.

This season's processing tomato crop is reported to be in very good condition thus far. Warm early spring weather accelerated planting and transplanting, and weather conditions have remained ideal for plant growth. The dry conditions accelerated demand for irrigation water. There was no indication of major quality issues or insect problems. However, growers continued to monitor infestations of brown apple moths, and yellow leaf curl virus. Both pests have been found and the areas quarantined in the Golden State. Neither pest has been discovered in tomato growing areas.

This early processing tomato estimate is funded by the California League of Food Processors, in cooperation with the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The USDA estimate for all states will be issued on July 10.