According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the acreage of California raisins that are mechanically harvested has declined overall, but the percentage has increased. USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, in cooperation with the California Department of Agriculture, has detailed the prevalence of mechanical harvesting for raisin grapes. Thirty-one percent of California’s raisin grape acreage was harvested mechanically in 2020, for a total of 42,383 acres. In 2019 however, 44,091 acres were harvested by mechanical means, equaling less than 30 percent of California raisin grape acreage.
The Overhead Trellis System was used on nine percent of raisin acreage, for a total of a little more than 13,000 acres. Fresno and Madera counties accounted for nearly all the Overhead Trellis acreage – which has led to an increase in dried-on-the-vine raisins, increased machine harvesting, and decreased hand labor use. Mechanical harvesting by variety shows that 64 percent of Selma Pete acreage, 48 percent of Fiesta grape acreage, and 26 percent of Thompson Seedless grape acreage was harvested by mechanical means.
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