California growers plan to de‐ liver 12.7 million tons of processing tomatoes this summer. Growers contracted for 266,000 acres and expect yields of 47.7 tons per acre, according to the USDA’s California Processing Tomato Report.
The crop, if reached, would be 6.4% larger than last summer’s 11.941 million tons and the second largest on record.
California growers have had a challenging season. The winter rains all but stopped after Octo‐ ber and drought conditions loomed with rainfall at the low‐ est levels seen in 80 years. But March and April brought above-average precipitation, taking away concerns over drought. Snowpack has neared normal and reservoirs are flush for the summer needs of the arid, agri‐ cultural state.
Although thankful for the water, growers did not like its timing. Typically tomato growers are heavy into transplanting by April when concern of frost has dissipated.
The late rains delayed transplanting. Growers who did get plants in the fields are burdened with some extra costs as they need to spray their tender plants to protect them against fungal disease that finds moisture and warmth attractive.
On May 3, the California Tomato Growers Association (CTGA) reached a contract agreement with about half the processors and expects the rest to follow. The contract price is $69.40 per ton, up $1.40 (or 2%) above last year’s price.
Late Season Premiums were ad‐ justed downward. The premium for tomatoes delivered from September 15‐21 dropped 40%, to $3 per ton. The remaining late season premiums fell, less sharply, or stayed the same.
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