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As harvest is now over in the southern hemisphere and planting is finishing in the northern hemisphere, the total forecast for the 2023 season is slightly reduced to 42.5 million tonnes. More than in other years, however, expectations are that this volume may not be achieved due to risks linked with a late harvest in many regions following delays in planting and development of diseases because of a generally wet spring.
The summer crop is now starting. Due to increased surfaces planted (15,000 hectares instead of 12,500), the total forecast is now raised to 600,000 tonnes.
The planting is now finished in the south-west where conditions have been good, but delayed in the south-east due to rains at the start of the spring and storms most evening in the last two weeks. Planting should finish by mid-June. Wet conditions are starting to favour the development of blight on some localised fields. The forecast remains 160,000 tonnes for a total of 2240 hectares.
The weather has been quite erratic with unseasonable rains most days which has not caused any damages yet but some delays in plant development and a need for treatment against Alternaria and phytophthora development. There is currently a warm spell with about 30°C over the last two days. The forecast remains unchanged at 440,000 tonnes.
The weather is good, and planting was done in time with only very short delays due to rains. Plant development is good. The total surfaces planted are 1,350 hectares for an expected production of 100,000 tonnes.
Unfortunately, there is no data available so far now from any governmental departments for indications of tomato this year, the only indication is that this year’s crop will be similar to last year so 6 to 7 million tonnes for a tomato paste production of 600,000 to 700,000 tonnes. This means that the current estimates for Iran (1.3 million tonnes) are probably too low. Hopefully more information can be provided soon.
The crop in the south of the country has already been harvested, while in the North-East and North-West, planting is finished for a start of the harvest in July. Temperatures are cooler than normal.
In the North, as reported in the news the month of May has been very rainy with floods in the province of Romagna (Ravenna, Forlì, Cesena) that also affected tomato cultivation and mainly organic crops. Farmers had to stop transplanting for about two weeks and this will give some trouble in the harvesting. To date about 95% of the area has been planted and it will be completed this week. The final figures on the total hectares will be available end of June.
Cooler temperatures slow the development of the crop, and the harvest will probably start with a delay of one week.
There is not a clear picture yet of the real damages caused by the floods and the yield achievable on the recovered cultivation, but we expect a general reduction in the yield and for this we reduce the forecast for the north to 2.75 million tonnes.
A price agreement of 151 euro/t for integrated crop and 181 for organic (ex field) was reached.
In the South, the situation is similar to Emilia with low temperatures after rains stopped planting for at least two weeks. This means that only about 85-90% of the total surface has been planted to date which could lead to a delay of maybe two weeks and some risk of stoppages during the harvest, although this will be confirmed later in June or in July. Surfaces will also be confirmed later with the satellite survey. Farmers have requested to wait another couple of weeks to restart negotiations to give them time to assess the surfaces actually planted. They want least 10 euros more per tonne for long tomatoes compared to round but processors only offer 5 more as there is little difference in yields and costs of production. If and when a IGP label is granted, a larger price difference could be considered.
In view of the issues, the total forecast for Italy is reduced from 5.7 to 5.6 million tonnes. More than ever in view of the delays, September will be important to achieve this number.
The situation is virtually similar to the one we described in the last report: the weather continues to be favourable, the temperature moderately warm and the light rains did not affect the plantations which ended in the first week of June. The crop continues to look good, but the recent weeks have been cool, so the start of harvest which was expected to be exceptionally early will now more probably start during the last week of July. The forecast remains unchanged at 1.5 million tonnes.
Planting is finished in Andalusia and nearly done in Extremadura. The weather recently has been mild to regular in the last few weeks, with April mostly hot and May cooler. Some storms were forecast for the end of w/s 6 June with unknown effect. The forecast remains unchanged at 2.6 million tonnes.
Due to the cool weather and the rains, planting is only at abut 80% in the Bursa region, when it should normally be finished although no change is expected in the total surfaces. Plants are growing slowly so a late crop is expected. No change to the total forecast which remains 2.5 million tonnes. The devaluation of the lira continues with another 6% today.
Planting of in-season tomatoes is now complete, but work remains in progress for the late season, with a total of around 10,300 hectares. Agricultural production is forecast at between 670,000 and 690,000 tonnes of tomatoes, of which 500,000 tonnes should be processed. The water situation as of 1st June stood at 760 million m3 in 36 reservoirs (representing 33% of their filling capacity).
Transplanting is on the way with normal weather and lack of field labour. Generally, the crop is two weeks behind schedule and processing season will be delayed as well. The latest act of terrorism from Russia may not affect tomato growing operations this year. To tell more about potential risks and damages we need to wait till the water released from the Kakhovka dam goes down. At this point the forecast remains 600,000 tonnes.
OTHER NORTHERN HEMISPHERE COUNTRIES
The initial areas transplanted in February and March suffered from high volumes of rain, but practically all recovered well and, with the stability of the climate, regained productivity levels similar to those initially projected, so no situation that threatens the factory supply is foreseen now. In Goias, some plants will start the harvest in the week of 12 June, other industries will start during the month of July. In São Paulo and Minas Gerais, harvesting of cultivated areas for industry will start from 10 July. There is currently no issue with water volume, on the contrary, most reservoirs are full. The forecast is currently 2,008,675 tonnes from 19,553 hectares.
California is still experiencing below normal temperatures this spring. While this has allowed some windows of mild temperatures to finish planting (a small amount of planting remains and should be completed this week), it has extended the start of the season to the second to third week in July. The volumes in July will be very low and push a larger amount of tonnage in October from an historical perspective. Just like everyone else in agriculture, how this crop turns out will depend on if mother nature cooperates during the remaining growing and harvesting window.
On May 31st, NASS released its latest contracted tomato report that stated a crop of 12.7 million short tons (11.5 million metric tonnes) on 254,000 acres (102,800 hectares). Over the last three years the actual tonnage delivered versus the May NASS estimate has resulted in a 7.8% reduction. While the water supply improvement has allowed for more acres to be planted as stated above and in previous reports, it has delayed plantings for our normal harvest windows. Although it is too early to tell, and does not correlate to the USDA May reports, most do not believe the crop will be above the 12 million short tons (10.9 million metric tonnes).
Ontario preliminary contract tonnage is 583,800 short tons (529,600 metric tonnes). The crop experienced some early frost that impacted a significant number of acres and required replanting. With the weather being unseasonably warm and dry for the last few weeks some rain would be beneficial. Harvest is set to begin mid-August.
Tomato seedlings are covered in heavy snow, and some areas of tomato leaves are damaged by freezing. Through active replanting and direct planting, the direct impact is not significant at present. However, the impact of snow disasters on average field yield cannot be evaluated at present, and close observation is needed throughout the entire growth period. The estimated total amount of 7.3 million tonnes in China remains unchanged.
The processing plants have resumed production capacity, and the total amount of raw materials currently planted cannot meet the demand of the processing plants. The competition for raw materials in the 2023 production season will be fierce, which will lead to an increase in raw material prices. Our current estimated raw material price is RMB 600-650 yuan/ton.
In early June, a typhoon in Japan caused flooding and other damage in parts of Ibaraki Area, a major production area. The impact on overall yield is not yet known so the forecast remains 29,000 tonnes for now.
SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE COUNTRIES
The processing tomato season finished on the 3rd of June 2023 and saw a total delivery of 110,304 payable tonnes to processors.
The final result, being well below original forecasts, is directly attributable to persistent high rainfall events and widespread flooding at planting time, damaging hail events mid-season and cool weather throughout the entire growing period.
Poor weather conditions during the season reduced the final production from the 670,000 tonnes forecast to only 587,600 tonnes: 258,000 tonnes were produced in the Mendoza region, 219,000 in San Juan, 66,000 in northeast Argentina, 39,000 in Rioja and 5,200 in Rio Negro. The volumes lost were mainly in San Juan where there were two major hailstorms, a late frost in November and an early frost in February, plus heat waves in November and December reducing average yields from normal levels of c. 100 t/ha to only 80 t/ha. Mendoza was also affected by weather issues to a lower extent.
An early expectation for the 2024 crop is that 7,800 hectares will be planted (8,200 hectares for the 2023 season).
The final production was unchanged from the last estimate of 1.15 million tonnes. As described before, this reduction from the initial forecast is mainly due heat waves occurred during last December.
To date there has been no rain, only cold weather. It is hoped that El Niño will arrive soon so that there is water for the next season.
South Africa planted 2,630 ha of processing tomato for 2023. Currently about 65% of the total crop has already been already processed. No too extreme weather or water issues occurred, and the projection is for about 161,000 tonnes to be processed by the end of October.
Floods in May affected many fields in the east of the country, reulting in expected losses due to cryptogramic disases (blight, alternaria and oidium). The size of the total crop, howver, could remain in the order of the 1.35 million tonnes reported as the total surfaces planted were higher than expected and higher yeilds are expected in other regions.
The new forecast is 670,000 tonnes versus the initial planned 650,000 tonnes. This update is based on the 8,500 hectares planted in Astrakhan, Volgograd and Nalchick regions. The actual figures will depend on weather conditions, of course, and also on the yield of new seeds used this season, the efficiency and reliability of combines, machinery and equipment, the availability of spare parts and some other new factors. No doubt, it will be tough season.
USA- OUTSIDE CALIFORNIA
The expectation remains that c. 500,000 short tons (c. 450,000 metric tonnes) will be processed this year outside California.
It has been extremely dry in the Midwest, where planting is now finishing, but some rains were forecasted on Sunday 11 June. Everything on schedule for an August 12-15 start.
WPTC World production estimate as of 12 June 2023: