California tomato processors plan to issue contracts for 13.1 million tons of processing tomatoes this year, according to a May 24 report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) in Sacramento, Calif.

The production is a 4.5 percent increase from last year’s final contract production total.

Contracted acreage is 259,000, about 2,100 acres less than the January intentions forecast and about 1,000 acres above last year’s final contract acreage, NASS reports.

Fresno County remains the top California county in planted contract processing tomato acreage this year with 99,000 acres. Yolo, Kings, San Joaquin, Merced, and Stanislaus counties, respectively, are the remaining top five counties.

Growers in these counties grow 80 percent of the 2013 contracted planted acreage for California.

Want access to the very latest in agricultural news each day? Sign up for the Western Farm Press Daily e-mail newsletter.

Tomato beds were formed and sprayed with pre-plant herbicides in February. Processing tomato transplants were planted in early spring as allowed by weather and soil conditions.

The curly top virus is an issue this year with significant damage reported throughout California causing growers to replant some fields.

The early processing tomato estimate is funded by the California League of Food Processors, in cooperation with the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

More articles from Western Farm Press:

Brazil’s ag subsidies raise troubling questions

New hired hand at Western Farm Press

Cliff Young — the farmer who outran the field