The 2015 California dried plum (prune) crop is forecast at 100,000 tons, down 4 percent from the 104,000 tons produced in 2014. Total 2015 bearing acreage is estimated at 48,000, equal to the previous year. 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, National Agricultural Statistics Service, Pacific Regional Office from May 8 to May 27, 2015. 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 22, 2015 with return requested by May 8. Non-respondents were telephoned. Responses were received from 222 growers whose acres represent 49 percent of the total bearing acreage. The 2015 dried plum set appears to be very good. A warm and early spring may cause an increase in the amount of smaller fruit. Harvest is expected to begin around the middle of August.