Peach, plum, and nectarine harvests continued as apricot harvest neared completion. Clingstone peach harvest began in the Sacramento Valley. Prunes progressed well as irrigation and potassium applications continued. Harvest of table grapes in the Coachella Valley finished, as harvest in the San Joaquin Valley began. In the San Joaquin Valley, wine grapes began coloring and sugaring as harvest approached. Napa Valley growers applied the second European Grapevine Moth application. Gala apple and Bartlett pear harvests began. Kiwi, fig, jujube, and pomegranate fruit continued to develop. The olive bloom completed and fruit began to size. Strawberries and blackberries were picked and packed in the San Joaquin Valley and coastal areas. Blueberry harvest was nearly complete. Almond hull split continued as growers applied hull split sprays. Good development was reported in walnut, pistachio, and pecan orchards. Walnuts were sprayed for weeds, coddling moth, and husk fly. Pistachio nut fill continued and some growers reported nut splitting.
Harvest of Valencia oranges, lemons, and grapefruit continued. Ethylene gas was used on Valencia oranges due to re-greening fruit. Netting was removed on tangerine and mandarin groves. Harvest of late Navel oranges neared completion.
California’s 2012 apple production is forecast at 140 thousand tons, unchanged from the 2011 crop.
The California 2012 all grape forecast is 6.60 million tons, down slightly from last year’s crop. California’s wine-type grape production is forecast at 3.70 million tons, and represents 56 percent of California’s total grape crop. It is up 9 percent from the 2011 crop. California’s raisin-type grape production is forecast at 1.90 million tons, 29 percent of California’s total grape crop. The raisin-type grape forecast is down 13 percent from last year. California’s table-type grape production is forecast at 1.00 million tons, down 3 percent from the previous year. California vineyards saw warm and dry growing conditions this spring. Mildew and European Grapevine Moth pressure have been low this year. Bunch counts for the Thompson grape variety were down significantly from 2011.
The 2012 California Bartlett pear crop forecast is 170 thousand tons, down 13 percent from the 2011 crop. Bartlett harvest began in the Sacramento Valley by mid-July. Quality and sizing were reported to be good with no unusual pest or disease pressure reported. The forecast for other pear types is 50.0 thousand tons, down 12 percent from the 2011 crop. Other pear harvest began in mid-July, which is slightly ahead of the previous year. Quality was reported to be good.
The 2012 California Freestone peach crop forecast is 390 thousand tons, up 3 percent from last year. California experienced an adequate number of chilling hours, thus benefiting the Freestone crop. Cool weather and rain during the spring also aided the crop. The forecast for the Clingstone peach crop is 380 thousand tons, down 3 percent from last year. Higher labor costs and a lack of workers to thin the Clingstone crop were a concern for growers as the good crop set required a great deal of thinning. Harvest is well underway. Sizes are reported to be small, resulting in slightly lower production from a year ago.
In the citrus growing areas, weather stations reported high temperatures ranging from the low to mid 90s. Rainfall was moderate across most of the citrus producing region. The majority of the citrus region has remained drought free, with the exception of an abnormally dry area extending from the northern shore of Lake Okeechobee to the gulf coast of Collier county. Late orange harvest ended. The primary grove activities were fertilizer application, summer oil spraying, young tree care, and grove maintenance.
The 2012 California olive crop forecast is 180 thousand tons, up 153 percent from last year’s crop of 71.2 thousand tons. Bearing acreage is estimated at 44.0 thousand for a yield of 4.09 tons per acre. Of the total production, an estimated 94.0 thousand tons will be utilized for canning, and the remaining 86.0 thousand tons are expected to be harvested for oil or specialty products.
The California Olive crop outlook is looking positive. Growers are anticipating a good crop, especially after last year’s poor crop. Weather conditions during the bloom period were generally good. In the north, there was a good set. Producers thinned their crop to allow the remaining fruit to grow bigger. In the south, there was an initial good fruit set, but after Easter, extreme weather events resulted in some false bloom. This decreased the set slightly, but will permit the fruit to grow larger.
The Manzanillo and Sevillano olive varieties are expected to produce 47 percent and 9 percent of the total olive crop, respectively. The remaining 44 percent is expected to come from all other varieties.
The California raisin-type variety grape forecast is 1,900 million tons, down 13.4 percent from the 2011 final production. Based on the objective measurement survey, bunches per vine totaled 29.1 compared to 38.7 recorded in 2011. Acreage of bearing age is 205 thousand. The 2012 California raisin-type grape crop is shaping up to be the smallest crop since 2006. Some growers reported spring frost damage. Dry, warm summer weather conditions have been good for crop development. Mildew pressure was low. The crop is a few days ahead of normal, and significantly ahead of last year’s delayed crop. The forecast is based on the results of the Raisin Grape Objective Measurement Survey conducted in July. The Raisin Administrative Committee provided funding for the 2012 Raisin O.M. Survey.