Pruning and shredding were the month’s main reported activities, as well as application of pre-emergence herbicides on nut trees, and fumigating for replanting. The export of stored table grapes had mostly ended. Kiwifruit continued to be packed and exported for domestic and foreign markets. Avocados were harvested. Persimmons continued to be harvested and sold at roadside stands. Minimal damage from mid-month cold temperatures was reported in a few isolated spots. The sale of stored nuts continued to be dominated by domestic markets.
Some early bud-swell was reported in almond orchards and walnuts were thinned. Weed spraying picked up in the vineyards and orchards late in the month. Copper sprays were applied on cherry orchards.
CALIFORNIA CITRUS: The color in navel oranges has been reported to be improving and exports were on the rise. Mandarin oranges, Navel oranges, Cara Cara, grapefruits, finger limes, and lemons continued to be packed. Growers treated citrus groves for fungal diseases and the Fuller Rose Beetle to maintain good quality and meet export requirements.
FLORIDA CITRUS: Across the citrus growing region, reported rainfall amounts were slightly less than average. Most citrus growing counties recorded two inches of rainfall or less during the month; while some East Coast counties and northern counties had slightly more rainfall. Daily high temperatures were mostly in the 70s, while minimum temperatures were usually in the 40s. All citrus producing areas were void of abnormally dry or drought conditions throughout the month.
Processing plants were up and running at full capacity, taking both eliminations and field run fruit. Early-mid orange varieties harvested for processing included both Hamlin and Pineapple oranges. Some plants closed over the weekends in order to eliminate the gap between the early-mid and late variety oranges. Early variety fruit harvested for the fresh market included Navel oranges, Sunburst tangerines, white and colored grapefruit, and tangelos.
Grove activity included spraying, irrigation, and mowing in preparation for harvest. Citrus growers continued field practices to combat greening. Field workers across the citrus region observed patchy pinhead bloom on early oranges.
SUMMARY OF GRAPE TONNAGES AND PRICES: The 2014 crush totaled 4,160,444 tons, down 11 percent from the record high 2013 crush of 4,700,377 tons. Red wine varieties accounted for the largest share of all grapes crushed, at 2,134,995 tons, down 12 percent from 2013. The 2014 white wine variety crush totaled 1,775,183 tons, down 3 percent from 2013. Tons crushed of raisin type varieties totaled 155,643, down 53 percent from 2013, and tons crushed of table type varieties totaled 94,623, down 25 percent from 2013.
The Grape Crush Report includes the total number of tons crushed for concentrate production. In determining grape tonnage crushed for concentrate production, each processor was required to report the estimated equivalent tons of grapes crushed for grape concentrate. For the 2014 season, this total was 469,927 tons, 11 percent of the 2014 grape crush total. This report provides only the aggregate figure for grapes crushed for concentrate production and does not include information by district, type, or variety.
The 2014 average price of all varieties was $734.18, up 3 percent from 2013. Average prices for the 2014 crop by type were as follows: red wine grapes, $883.45, up 4 percent from 2013; white wine grapes, $588.30, down 6 percent from 2013; raisin grapes, $232.56, down 9 percent; and table grapes, $232.87, up 5 percent.
LEADING GRAPE VARIETIES AND DISTRICTS: In 2014, Chardonnay continued to account for the largest percentage of the total crush volume with 17.2 percent. Cabernet Sauvignon accounted for the second leading percentage of crush with 12.3 percent. The next eight highest percentages of grapes crushed included wine and raisin grape varieties. Thompson Seedless, the leading raisin grape variety crushed for 2014, held 3.2 percent of the total crush.
District 13, (Madera, Fresno, Alpine, Mono, Inyo Counties; and Kings and Tulare Counties north of Nevada Avenue (Avenue 192)), had the largest share of the State’s crush, at 1,363,860 tons. The average price per ton in District 13 was $305.69.
Grapes produced in District 4 (Napa County) received the highest average price of $4,064.95 per ton, up 10 percent from 2013. District 3 (Sonoma and Marin counties) received the second highest return of $2,313.82, up 3 percent from 2013. The 2014 Chardonnay price of $858.26 was down 1 percent from 2013, but the Cabernet Sauvignon price of $1,412.92 was up 5 percent from 2013. The 2014 average price for Zinfandel was $621.84, down 5 percent from 2013, while the Merlot average price was up 2 percent from 2013 at $771.21 per ton.
The Preliminary Grape Crush Report includes all grape tonnage crushed during the 2014 season. It also includes purchased tonnage and pricing information for grapes with final prices prior to January 10, 2015. The Final Grape Crush Report, to be published on March 10, will contain any late reports or corrections to the preliminary report.