The latest California vegetable update from the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Sacramento, Calif., field office:

• Contracted processing tomato production

The 2009 California processing tomato production is forecast at 13.5 million tons, 15 percent above 2008. The acreage, 307,000 acres, increased 11 percent from a year earlier.

The yield is forecast to be 43.97 tons per acre, 4 percent above last year’s 42.37 tons per acre. The season got off to a good start due to dry spring conditions. Crop progress benefited from warm weather in July.

Nationally, contracted tomato production is forecast at 14.1 million tons, up 16 percent from last year. An increase of 11 percent in contracted harvested area is accompanied by a yield increase of 1.73 tons per acre.

In Ohio, harvest was 15 percent complete by mid-August.

In Michigan, harvest began in early August and the crop progressed well throughout the growing season. Fruit size was reported to be larger than normal due to cool temperatures during June and July.

Indiana’s processing tomatoes are reported to be in fair to good condition.

• Asparagus

The California 2009 asparagus production is estimated at 322,000 cwt., down 24 percent from 2008. The harvested acreage was reduced by 3 percent from the 2008 season to the 2009 season.

The yield is estimated at 23 cwt., down 21 percent from last year. Rainfall and cold weather during early spring hampered crop progress. The harvest of the asparagus crop ended in late June.

Nationally, production from the 2009 asparagus crop is forecast at 797,000 cwt., down 16 percent from last year. The harvested area at 30,700 acres is down 5 percent from 2008. Fresh production of 601,000 cwt. is down 16 percent from a year ago. Processed production at 9,800 tons is down 16 percent from 2008.

In Michigan, harvest was complete in the Southwest region by mid-June. However, harvest in the West central region was behind schedule through June.

• Spring onion production

California's 2009 spring onion production is estimated at 2.46 million cwt., down 14 percent from the previous year. The yield calculates to 410 cwt. per acre, down 7 percent from last year.

The planting of spring onions in California began in most areas by early November. Hail was reported during the early season in the San Joaquin Valley. However, weather conditions during harvest were reported to be excellent for the spring onions crop.

The U.S. end-of-season spring onion production estimate at 9.43 million cwt is down 2 percent from last year. Area harvested at 27,000 acres, is down 5 percent from a year ago, but yield, at 349 cwt. per acre, is up 11 cwt. per acre from 2008.

The value of the spring crop is estimated at $210 million, 1 percent less than last year.

In Georgia, temperatures were slightly below normal during the winter months and near normal during the spring season. Harvest got underway by the end of April and the crop was reported in good condition.