California’s 2010 processed tomato crop is forecasted at 12.6 million tons, a 5.4% decrease from last year’s record 13.3 million tons, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

But looking at the volume alone doesn’t tell the whole story. The report shows contracted acres falling by 9.1% from last year, reflecting packers’ desire to cut the crop even further. Assuming the tonnage declines in proportion to the acreage, then Califori would only produce an 11.4 million ton crop.

The 5‐10% expected decline in tonnage is spurred by the exceptional volume packed in California last year. Following that record-smashing crop, packers have full warehouses and less need for raw tomatoes in the coming season.


Less need for tomatoes means that packers are not desirous to pay growers as much for them.

The field price of California’s tomatoes will drop for the first time in four years. Packers paid a record $80 per ton last year, a 60% increase since 2005.

For 2010, processors and growers have yet to come to an agreement on price. The California Tomato Growers Association is negotiating for a decrease of 10%, but packers are holding out for a more substantial drop of 20‐25%. The packers expect to pay less — with latest offers be‐ tween $60‐63 per ton.


Despite not having a contract price agreement, growers are putting tomatoes in the ground, so the crop will be ready for processors on schedule.

So far, 2010 is shaping up to be a great season. Mother Nature has cooperated with appropriate rain and dry times for field preparation and planting, allowing growers to implement the horticultural practices which make them the most productive in the world.

Unlike in the last few drought-stricken years, water allocations are improving with every announcement from the frugal federal and state water projects. The federal water project set al‐ locations at 30% for the Southern part of the state. Last year its allocations were only 10%.

Morning Star Newsletter now distributed electronically

As a reminder, Morning Star is now distributing our newsletters electronically using an email distribution vendor called Mailchimp. Your e-version will now include informative Morning Star videos and highlights. Depending on your company's firewall, these emails may initially be directed to you spam folder.

Subscribe Newsletter