The USDA-NASS, California Field Office has released the crop production forecast for July for almonds, apricots, peaches and grapefruit.

Almonds – California’s almond production forecast is 1.05 billion meat pounds, 15 percent more than last year’s crop. The average nut set per tree is 23 percent above 2005. Bearing acreage is estimated at 580,000, unchanged from 2005.

Apricots – California’s apricot production is forecast at 39,000 tons, up 5 percent from the June forecast, but 48 percent less than the 2005 crop. Bearing acres are estimated to be 13,800. Detrimental weather negatively affected this year’s crop, resulting in the lowest expected crop size on record. An unseasonably warm winter initially threatened chilling requirements, and in some locales bloom was extended over a long period as the mild winter temperatures forced some orchards to bud early. Freezing temperatures arrived in mid-February affecting some early blooming orchards. The weak and staggered bloom was then impacted by rain and hail storms. Despite the poor bloom, the thin crop was sizing out exceptionally well. Harvest began about a week later than normal, and was expected to be complete by mid-July.

Peaches – The 2006 California Freestone peach crop forecast is 380,000 tons, unchanged from the June forecast, but 1 percent below the 2005 crop. Bearing acres are estimated at 36,000 thousand. Wet and cool weather during the spring delayed progression of the Freestone peach crop. Set in the early varieties was reported to be fairly normal, but set in the mid to late season varieties was reported to be lighter and inconsistent. The 2006 California Clingstone peach crop forecast is also 380,000 tons, unchanged from the June forecast, but 21 percent less than the 2005 crop. Bearing acres are estimated at 26,300. Rain during March and April along with below average temperatures raised concerns about the Clingstone peach crop. Set in Yuba and Sutter counties was reported to be down from last year, while the set in the Modesto area was reported as normal. Harvest began in Kingsburg on June 22, 11 days later than last year. Harvest was expected to begin in the Yuba and Sutter areas around July 15. Fruit sizes were reported to be excellent, but quality was expected to be less than average due to gum and split pits.

Grapefruit – The 2005-2006 California grapefruit forecast is 12 million cartons, unchanged from the April forecast, but 3 percent above last season. Star Ruby variety grapefruit was harvested in Riverside County. Overall quality was reported as good with smooth texture. Sizes were reported to be small.