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California: Crop situation as of September 30, 2023 (revised)

02/10/2023 - François-Xavier Branthôme - 2023 Season
According to figures collected by PTAB, the California’s 2023 processing tomato harvest tonnage for the week twelve (ending September 30th) is estimated to deliver 878,890 t (metric tonnes) (968,810 short tons) to the factories.

Week thirteen (ending October 7th) is estimated to be 851,537 t (938,659 short tons) which would bring the year-to-date total to an estimated 9,357,695 t (10,315,093 short tons). 
For actual tonnes delivered (7.627 million t) through week eleven, California is tracking above (+3.8%) the five year average (7.35 million t).


The 2023 California Organic processing tomato deliveries for the week eleven (ending September 23rd) were 21,360 t (23,548 short tons). The total tons YTD for week eleven is 542,535 t (598,043 short tons), or 7.1% of the actual total delivered quantities.
The current total is currently the third largest in the history of California organic production. Provisional total is 18% higher than the final amount harvested in 2022 and 5% higher than the average quantity processed during past three seasons at this time.


If the weekly projections come true, the projected quantities on October 7 would represent approximately 86% of the California processors' target (10.89 million t).

According to California press, “however, this year’s harvest poses a challenge for local growers that’s not obvious to the casual observer. Farmers are worried the fruit may rot before they can get it to the canneries.
California Tomato Growers Association (CTGA) Board Chairman Bruce Rominger said growers are looking at a bottle neck scenario.
“A cannery might say, ‘I’m going to contract with growers to bring me 200 loads per day,’” Rominger said. “Well, now all of a sudden, there’s 400 loads that need to be harvested. So, the concern is we’re all jammed up, and some tomatoes sit in the field too long and get rotten.”

Heavy spring rains were welcomed after three years of drought, but those showers disrupted the planting schedule.
“It was raining like crazy in March, so nobody could really get in and plant, so we were basically three weeks to a month late,” said Rominger. “We have more tomatoes scheduled to be harvested in October this year than we ever have before.”

The state’s tomato processors contracted 12.7 million tons of processing tomatoes this year, and acreage is estimated to be 254,000, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Growers have a big incentive to get their tomatoes to the canneries on time and in healthy condition. Processors offered a record price agreement of USD 138/short ton (144 Euro/t) for conventional tomatoes and USD 190/short ton (198 Euro/t) for organic


Sources: PTAB, CLFP,
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