June 2, 2014–The 2014 California dried plum (prune) crop is forecast at 95 thousand tons, up 12 percent from the 85 thousand tons produced in 2013. Total 2014 bearing acreage is estimated at 49,000. Dried plum trees were pulled after the 2013 harvest, reducing acreage by 2 percent for the 2014 season. The French prune variety accounts for virtually all dried plum acreage grown in California. The production forecast is based on a survey of dried plum growers conducted by the USDA, NASS, Pacific Regional Office from May 6-27, 2014.
The survey used a random sampling design based on total dried plum acreage for each operator. The sample is designed to provide a State estimate of production for all growers.
Questionnaires were mailed to growers on April 21, 2014 with return requested by May 5th. Non-respondents were telephoned. Responses were received from 253 growers whose acres represent 48 percent of the total bearing acreage.
The 2014 dried plum bloom was a bit longer than usual, with warm temperatures mostly towards the end. This was a concern for some growers. Set in Yuba and Sutter counties is excellent, while set in other areas is erratic. Harvest is expected to begin around the middle of August.