• Reduced planting, high temps reduce Cal tomato crop for '01

STOCKTON, Calif. -- California's processing tomato industry has again made substantial reduction in contracted acreage for 2001 in an effort to bring inventories into balance. Following a 16 percent reduction in tonnage processed last year, processors are again reducing their pack for 2001.

A recent survey conducted by the California Tomato Growers Association, Inc. (CTGA) revealed actual acreage planted in the state to be 255,280 acres, slightly more than the 255,000 acres reported by the California Agricultural Statistics Service in its Processing Tomato Contract Tonnage Report released last week. Utilizing a three-year average yield by county would project the 2001 crop to produce 9.1 million tons, down 13 percent from the total harvested in 2000.

However, with May being the hottest on record, bringing nine days of 100 degrees or more to Fresno County, growers up and down the state are warning that yields for the 2001 processing tomato crop could be off as much as 3 to 5 percent.

If these predictions are realized, the crop would be reduced by an additional 270,000 to 450,000 tons. While any reduction in crop yield is bad news for growers, a smaller overall crop will help bring industry inventories into better alignment.

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