DECEMBER CROP COMMENTS – CALIFORNIA
The grape crop, which accounts for 88 percent of the 2014 United States utilized grape production, is down 12 percent from the previous year. The 2014 grape crop in California developed ahead of the previous year. Growers reported production was down for all three types of grapes. Hail during the bloom stage negatively impacted some vineyards. Drought conditions were also reported as a concern by many growers.
The California peach crop, accounting for 74 percent of the United States utilized peach production, is down 5 percent from 2013. In California, the Freestone peaches full bloom occurred approximately a week ahead of schedule and lasted longer than usual. Fruit set was variable. Growers reported the drought situation remained a concern, however many of them were able to offset reduced irrigation district water deliveries by utilizing wells to pump groundwater. Clingstone full bloom occurred in early-March, slightly earlier than last year. Growers completed spraying and pruning by the end of March.
In California, pear harvest began in the Sacramento-San Joaquin region the first week of July, similar to the prior year. Mostly fair weather occurred during harvest with quality reported as mostly fair to good. Sizing was reported to be good for early season pears.
Mandarin oranges, grapefruits, finger limes, and lemons continued to be packed and shipped to foreign markets. Growers treated citrus groves for fungal diseases and Fuller Rose Beetle infestation to maintain export quality.
Oranges – The 2014 – 2015 California all orange forecast is 100 million cartons, (2.00 million tons), the same as last season’s revised final utilization. The color in navel oranges was reported to be improving and exports were on the rise.
Lemons – The 2014 – 2015 California lemon forecast is 40.0 million cartons (800 thousand tons), unchanged from last season. In California, lemon harvest was well underway with reported rain during December having a positive impact on the crop development.
Grapefruit – The 2014 – 2015 California grapefruit forecast is 8.00 million cartons (160 thousand tons), unchanged from last season’s crop.
Tangerines – The 2014-15 California tangerine forecast (including mandarins and tangelos) is 31.0 million cartons (620 thousand tons), up 7 percent from last season. The Satsuma harvest is complete.