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California Fruit and Nut Review

June crop comments

The olive bloom concluded in June and good development and heavy fruit set were reported. Strawberry, blueberry and blackberry harvests were ongoing in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV).

Sulfur applications were made to grape vineyards in the Napa Valley. Fungicide, herbicide and fertilizer applications, plus irrigation, were ongoing in SJV grape vineyards.

Insecticide applications to control European grapevine moth were made in Napa Valley vineyards, along with suckering, shoot removal, and row cultivation. SJV grape vineyards showed good canopy growth.

The cherry harvest neared completion, though split damage from rain had negatively impacted the quantity and quality of the crop. The apricot harvest continued. The picking of peaches, plums, and nectarines began.

Fruit orchards were irrigated across California and showed good development overall, but development is behind normal due to earlier weather conditions.

Cool temperatures delayed development in almond orchards, although trees remained healthy with minimal insect presence. Orchards were sprayed to control mite populations. Blight and herbicide applications, along with irrigation, were ongoing in walnut orchards. Walnut, pistachio, and pecan nuts were reportedly sizing well.

While nut orchards showed healthy development statewide, progress appeared two weeks behind schedule due to ongoing cool weather. Irrigation and weed control were ongoing in nut orchards in the Central Valley.

The picking of Valencia oranges continued in the SJV while the Navel orange harvest slowed. The SJV lemon harvest neared completion but continued along the coast. Warm weather led to increased citrus budding.

Non-citrus fruit

• Apricots

California's 2010 apricot production, projected at 60,000 tons, is unchanged from the June 1 forecast, and slightly above last year's production. The California apricot crop represents 89 percent of the 2010 U.S. production.

Harvest continued throughout the Central and San Joaquin valleys. Mostly favorable weather helped the crop remain in good condition.

• Cherries

The 2010 California sweet cherry crop forecast is 90,000 tons, up 15 percent from 2009. Spring weather generated occasional rain and cool temperatures during the critical development of the crop. A strong bloom occurred in March.

• Peaches

The California Clingstone crop is forecast at 420,000 tons, up 2 percent from the June 1 forecast, but 10 percent below the 2009 crop. The crop experienced an adequate number of chilling hours for tree requirements.

Full bloom on a statewide basis was declared March 9, six days later than 2009. This season’s bloom was not as strong as last year and occurred over a longer period of time. Rain and colder spring temperatures slowed crop development.

The Late and Extra Late varieties are reported lighter than normal. Harvest began June 23, five days later than last year.

The California Freestone crop is forecast at 355,000 tons, down 3 percent from the June 1 forecast, but 1 percent above the 2009 crop. Bloom started out quickly, but slowed due to cool spring temperatures. The lack of warm weather resulted in pollination problems. Hail damage affected various growing areas throughout the spring.

Harvest continued during June with June Flame, Country Sweet, Earlirich, and Rich Lady the major varieties harvested.

Citrus fruit

• Oranges

The California all orange forecast is 116 million cartons (2.18 million tons), down 2 percent from the previous forecast, and up 25 percent from last season’s revised final utilization.

The Navel orange forecast is 84 million cartons (1.58 million tons), unchanged from the June 1 forecast, and up 22 percent from last season.

The Valencia orange forecast is 32 million cartons (600,000 tons), down 6 percent from the previous forecast, but up 33 percent from last season’s revised final utilization.

• Grapefruit

The California grapefruit forecast is 8.4 million cartons (141,000 tons), unchanged from the previous forecast, but 13 percent lower than last season.

• Lemons

California lemon production is forecast at 40 million cartons (760,000 tons), unchanged from April 1, but down 5 percent from last season’s final utilization. The lemon harvest was complete in the desert region and Central Valley, but continued in the coastal region.

• Mandarins and mandarin hybrids

The California mandarin and mandarin hybrid forecast is 19.8 million cartons (371,000 tons), up 9 percent from the June 1 forecast, and up 48 percent from last season. Harvest was complete in late May. California growers produced a record crop for the second year in a row.

• 2010 California almond forecast

2010 California almond production is forecast at 1.65 billion meat pounds, up 8 percent from May's subjective forecast and 17 percent above last year's crop. The forecast is based on 740,000 bearing acres.

Production for the Nonpareil variety is forecast at 640 million meat pounds, 18 percent above last year’s deliveries. The Nonpareil variety represents 39 percent of California’s total almond production.

Despite a variable spring, weather in 2010 had few negative effects on the coming almond crop. Bee activity was hampered some by rain, but the overlap of varieties was excellent. Nut sets are higher than in 2009. Nut weights and measurements are higher as well.

High winds resulted in some nut and tree losses, but the damage was not significant. Wet weather increased concerns about fungal infections and rot, but additional sprays have kept the problem in check.

A benefit of the cool weather has been low insect pressure. Overall, trees are growing well and the crop is developing in good condition.

The average nut set per tree is 5,956, up 7 percent from 2009. The Nonpareil average nut set of 5,583 is up 9 percent from last year’s set. The average kernel weight for all varieties sampled was 1.72 grams, 9 percent above last year. A total of 98.7 percent of all nuts sized were sound.

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