As of mid-January, California processors expect to have contracts for 12.6 million tons of processing tomatoes for 2010, according to the Sacramento, Calif., Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

This production is 5 percent lower than the contracted production in 2009.

Tomato processors estimate 2010 contracted production will come from 280,000 acres producing an average of 45 tons per acre.

The contracted acreage forecast is 28,000 acres less than was reported to be planted under contract in the August 2009 report.

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 April 1.