October rains bring hope to California growers, but drought conditions are far from resolving 

It’s time to close out another California processing tomato year. The 2021 season started with very dry weather for transplanting, a very hot spring and summer, and concluded with an atmospheric river, making these final weeks of the season slightly challenging. All of those issues contributed to a crop total ending 12% under the January 2021 forecast of 12,100,000 short tons.

While the atmospheric rain event at the end of October may seem hopeful, and does have California heading in the right direction, this one event is not a solution for the drought. The northern reservoirs remain 60% of normal and 30% of capacity and the central reservoirs are averaging slightly better with levels 74.5% of normal and 36% of capacity, as shown in Chart A. To date, the Northern Sierra Precipitation 8-Station Index sits at 15.6 inches, and, as shown in Chart B, is a level higher than the beginning of the 2016-2017 year, which was one of the wettest years for California. However, 2021/2022 precipitation levels will need to reach close to 140% to fill the reservoirs and push California out of it’s drought. It is much too early to hope the drought is behind us, but it is an optimistic start.

With the 2021 crop falling short there will be high demand from all California processors to make up some of this shortfall. This is a challenging task considering a few counties currently have little to no surface water.

Morning Star’s strong team of knowledgeable and experienced colleagues bring confidence and success to growers through ongoing ag research. This ensures growers are implementing the latest technologies and processes, and optimizing cost savings measures whenever possible.

Our focus remains razor sharp as we head into the 2022 season with the goal of fulfilling our customers’ demands.


California Water Supply Reservoirs - Nov. 11, 2021


Northern Sierra Precipitation Index, Nov. 12, 2021


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