WPTC crop update as of 25 January 2024
- 2024 Season
Although the first global production estimate for 2024 will only be available after the WPTC meeting scheduled in Sacramento on 13 February, the first processing intentions have been released for AMITOM countries and for California. Meanwhile, production is starting in most countries in the Southern Hemisphere.
The current estimate is to process about 40,000 tonnes.
In 2024, the same volume of 600,000 tonnes as in 2023 is expected. Now it is the peak of the winter crop with tomatoes coming from the deep south of Egypt.
It is still early, but intentions are to process about 190,000 tonnes in 2024, up from 160,000 tonnes in 2023.
The current estimate is that production could increase to 480,000 tonnes, 10% more than last year’s intention of 440,000 tonnes (final production was reduced to 390,000 tonnes). Surfaces could increase mainly in the Centre/North as competitive crops are not as profitable as tomatoes, while remaining stable in the South.
The intention is to process 120,000 tonnes in 2024. Farmers are keen to plant tomatoes as competitive crops (corn, sunflowers, ...) are not as profitable currently. One of the main goals is to develop the irrigation system in the growing region.
Production may be reduced slightly to maybe 1.9 million tonnes, from an estimated 2 million tonnes in 2023. There has been little rain this winter and there may be water issues, although there are water reserves and no restrictions at the moment, water availability could become an issue in the middle term.
The current estimate is 5.6 million tonnes, the same as last year’s initial forecast (final production was 5.4 million tonnes). Farmers are very keen to plant tomatoes, but processors want to limit production due to market conditions.
Discussions with growers have just started so it is very early to forecast but production should remain at about 1.4 million tonnes.
The conditions are difficult due to the current water situation. There is no water in Andalusia so a question mark over the number of hectares which will be planted in the region. In Extremadura, the water situation is worse than last year and there are question marks over the water allocation to farmers. It is too early to give a precise forecast, but production could be down to about 2.3 million tonnes.
At 18/01/2024, the overall stock at the dams was 762 million m3 compared with 632 million m3 at the same date last year, i.e. 32% of storage capacity. Given this situation, and despite the slight improvement compared with the same period last year, water stocks remain limited, so it is possible to achieve the same results as last year in terms of production and processing (774,000 tonnes processed for 11,150 ha planted). So far, initial estimates of the area planted remain unchanged from last year at around 12,000 hectares, but it is too early to give a volume forecast. Planting will start in mid-February and finish in mid-June.
Farmers are again this year keen to plant tomatoes as competing crops let them down in 2023 so the forecast remains stable at 2.7 million tonnes.
OTHER NORTHERN HEMISPHERE COUNTRIES
According to the USDA/NASS report released on 24 January, as of January, California’s tomato processors reported they have, or will have, contracts for 11.6 million short tons (10.5 million metric tonnes) in 2024, which is a decrease of 10% compared to 12.9 million contracted short tons (11.7 million metric tonnes) forecast in the August 2023 California Processing Tomato Report. Processors estimate that the contracted production for 2024 will come from 232,000 acres (93,900 hectares), generating an average yield of 50.0 tons per acre (112.2 metric tonnes per hectare). This year’s contracted planted acreage forecast is 9% below the 2023 estimate of 255,000 planted acres (103,200 hectares) under contract in the August forecast.
The USDA-NASS Pacific Regional Office surveyed California’s tomato processors for their intended contract acreage and tonnage for the upcoming 2024 season. The data reported by processors was either tonnage with derived acreage, or acreage with derived tonnage.
SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE COUNTRIES
Total surface in Argentina is 8,100 ha where 6,500 ha are in Mendoza and San Juan, total forecast is 660,000 tonnes, harvest started in the North of the country at the beginning of November 2023. Now, the harvest is located in San Juan and La Rioja Provinces under fair weather conditions. No tomato brown rugose virus was detected.
The forecast in Australia has been adjusted downward to 223,000 tonnes following a prolonged period of intense rainfall and multiple storm weather occurrences extending from December 24th to January 9th. The severity of these storms is evident in multiple reports of hail, flash flooding and extreme winds, including a suspected twister incident, resulting in some significant individual crop losses. The revised forecast amounts to a 15% reduction across the industry.
The commencement of the harvest season for the industry is projected to commence around January 26th.
The surfaces planted remains unchanged at 14,750 hectares. The harvest will start later than normal because November 2023 was the coldest November since many years, and December was also below the normal average. For this reason, it is estimated that the harvest will only start from the second week of February, instead of the normal start at the end of January. It is difficult to date to make an estimate on the field yield.
South Africa planned a 160,000 tonnes crop for 2024. The summer processing harvest will start the end of January.
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California 2024 processing intentions
WPTC crop update as of 26 October 2023