- Sophie Colvine
- 2019 Season
The 2019 WPTC world production estimate is down to 37 million tonnes as two largest processing countries, California and Italy, reduce their forecast
Situation in the European Union
In Greece, the weather was very warm until two weeks ago and now back to usual levels. TWo weeks ago about 50 hectares were hit by hail in the centre with expected yield losses of between 50% and 100%. So far, the crop is looking very good with expected higher yields but there is currently a weather front with heavy rains, with uncertain consequence so the forecast is maintained at 400,000 tonnes.
In Hungary, the extreme storms have avoided the tomato fields until now. The weather is normal nowadays without too high temperature (not higher than 30°C). Pathogens are manageable as well, so there isn't any reason to modify the previous yield forecast.
Overall, the forecast for Italy is reduced to 4.85 million tonnes, but with a wide margin of error as yields are uncertain.
In the North of Italy, during the last three weeks thunderstorms have affected bout 100 hectares in the Piacenza area with damages estimated at -30 to -50% yield. After a very hot weather in the second half of June, temperatures are now normal with some rains and storms. The crop will be late compared with last year and will start during the last week of July or the first week in August, with lower yields expected for the first part of the harvest. Later fields look good at present, but it is too early to estimate the yield. The total volume expected is reduced to 2.45 million tonnes.
In the South & Centre of Italy, the situation is similar to the north with also some localized damages of fields due to storms and hail last week. The harvest will start with a delay of about a week with low initial yields due to the rains in May. As planting continued until the end of June, two weeks later than normal, the harvest will continue into October, with the risk associated with a late crop. The satellite survey confirmed a 9% increase of the total surface planted this year with more than 28,000 hectares which should bring a total volume of 2.4 million tonnes in the region.
In Portugal, the weather remains unstable with temperatures fluctuating a lot, from very hot one day to cool another. The harvest will start during the last week of July on some sandy soils but there not be any large volumes processed until the 2ndor 3rdAugust. No change to the overall forecast (1.263 million tonnes).
In Spain, the harvest started on 8 July in Andalusia but slowly as the cool weather in June and July has slowed maturity and there are many green tomatoes. Full capacity should be reached this week. In Extremadura, the crop looks good and the harvest should start next week, on 22-23 July, but mostly in the last few days of July. In the Ebro valley, major floods of the Cidacos river and storms with hail have completely destroyed about 60 hectares and damaged about 100 hectares. Only about 60,000 tonnes have been delivered to date out of the total volume which remains estimated at 3 million tonnes.
Situation in other AMITOM members
In Egypt, the situation is good. Harvesting of the summer crop start about one month ago. Weather has been good with no heatwave or rain and pest pressure is low. The quality of the crop is very good and the quantity good.
In Russia, the weather conditions were good in June - early July. Due to delay in planting the harvest should only start on 9-12 August. It is expected that only 30-35% of the volume will be harvested in August (instead of normal volume 50%). The forecast remains 550,000 tonnes but the total volume will depend on the weather condition in September and October.
In Tunisia, until July 14, 250,000 tonnes were transformed, which is about 25% of the total harvest. The harvest is almost complete in the Kairouan region (60%), but it has just started in the other regions (from 10% to 25%) with a daily supply of around 20,000 tonnes of fresh tomato to the 24 factories operating this year. The forecast remains 880,000 tonnes.
In Turkey, the harvest will start on 22-23 July in the south. The weather is mild with some rains, but it is difficult to predict field yield until the start. Overall, the crop looks good and the forecast is now raised from 1.9 to 2.1 million tonnes. The increase will however mostly enable processors to replenish their stocks to cover the domestic market after the low 2018 production, and export cans to Iraq and Syria and should not affect the export market. Moreover, the spot price may be lower than contract prices. The lira is strengthening and contributing to making Turkey uncompetitive on the international market.
In Ukraine, June summer showers and hails continued in July. Heavy rains with temperature split caused the development of bacteriosis and fusarium in some territories. Despite the aforementioned weather conditions and diseases, tomato development remains stable as well as the final volume forecast. Harvest should start on the first week of August.
Situation in other WPTC members
In Brazil, there is a drop of 13% in surface area. We estimate 1.2 million tons processed at the end of season. Most of this reduction is due by high tomato pulp stocks. This year during early season we had problems with heavy rains that reduce some potential yield. We still estimate our average yield between 83 to 85 tonnes per hectare.
In California, the estimate is to process 583,000 short tons (529,000 metric tonnes) for this week. At the end of this week (20 July) the industry will have processed approximately 857,192 short tons (777,632 metric tonnes), similar to last year. In the Southern part of the state all processors have started at this point. As we reported in June about 16,000 acres (c. 6,500 hectares) were impacted by a severe hail storm. Some of those acres were removed completely and for a majority the decision was made to take them to harvest. Based on early indications from fields harvested that were impacted from the hail and adding in the acres that were a total loss, it is believed that the impact to the crop for hail alone could amount to a 500,000 short ton loss (454,000 metric tonnes). Although we have only been harvesting for a few weeks (6% of total harvested) fields that were not impacted by the hail in the Southern part of the state yields are ranging between 5-10 percent below contract. Assuming yields return to contract levels in the coming weeks it appears that an estimate closer to 11.5 million tons (10.4 million metric tonnes) is more realistic at this time. To date solids and quality are performing close to historical averages for this time of year. The cooler than normal temperatures have slowed down the ripening process a little bit at this time. The Northern part of the State is expected to begin harvest close to the end of the month and maybe the beginning of August. Based on reports from the field that crop looks to be developing well and we will know more as we begin to harvest.
Meanwhile, the Midwest has returned to a more normal summer pattern of higher temperatures and reduced rainfall. After a very wet May and early June, the rain has essentially shut off and some showers would be beneficial. But we have avoided large rain events and though late, the crop is looking strong.
In China, the weather presented high temperature recently. Growth is normal and the forecast remains unchanged.
In Japan, the 2019 crop estimate in the middle of July remains an estimated surface planted of 430 hectares and volume of 30,000 tonnes. Lack of sunlight and low temperature continue in this July, so we're anxious that the quantity of crop may decrease.
In South Africa, the season has ended in the Summer region and the total tonnage reamins estimated at 40,000 tonnes. Meanwhile, in the Winter region, the season harvesting is slowing down as we near the end. We are keeping to our previous estimate of 90,000 tonnes, therefore the total South Africa tomato production remains estimated at 130,000 tonnes.