The latest Acreage Survey from the California Strawberry Commission is projecting 2020 to be a strong year for strawberry production. The California Strawberry Acreage Survey shows that a total of more than 34,000 acres of strawberries is expected for the coming year. Barring any type of atypical weather conditions, strawberry volume in California is expected to hit record levels in 2020. The survey information is received from strawberry handlers throughout the state and updated twice a year.
Between 2014 and 2018 overall strawberry acreage experienced a decline on a statewide level, however, the decrease in acreage has been offset by substantial growth in average yield. The survey data shows that planted acreage for the fall planting season was four percent higher for the 2020 crop year compared to the year prior. A total of 26,928 acres were reported for the fall planting, which will ultimately produce fruit for the traditional winter, spring and summer months. Based on the average volume over the previous three years, the expectation is for record volume between Easter and Independence Day this year.
Varieties from the University of California represent nearly 60 percent of California strawberry acreage, while the remaining acreage is planted with proprietary varieties. The survey also showed that organic acreage increased only slightly from the year before to 4,204 acres but demonstrates an increase of nearly 12 percent over 2016. Organic production is reported to account for 12.3 percent of all California strawberries.
Considerable growth in volume has been a trend for multiple years with California growers introducing higher-yielding varieties. Another increase in yield was expected in 2019, however, unseasonable rains in late May and early June interrupted fruit production. California is the largest state for strawberry production in the U.S. by a substantial margin, despite strawberry acreage only taking up less than one percent of the state’s farmland.