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California olive crop near wipeout, Bartlett pear crop up sharply

California olive crop forecast is for 50,000 tons, down 65 percent from last year’s crop of 142,000 tons.

Bearing acreage is estimated at 31,000 for a yield of 1.61 tons per acre, down 64 percent from last year’s yield. Olive growers across California are reporting that the 2006 olive crop is the worst crop in many years. If realized the crop forecast of 50,000 tons would be the smallest since 1981, when 44,900 tons were produced.

From Northern counties to the Central Valley, reports of little to no crop are consistent, according to USDA/NASS. Both areas were heavily impacted by uncooperative winter and spring weather conditions. Extremely warm weather in January followed by freezing temperatures in February damaged fruit buds. Heavy rains and cool temperatures arrived in April and May, during the peak of olive bloom, knocking blossoms off trees and destroying any opportunity for proper pollination.

Manzanillo and Sevillano olive varieties are expected to produce 76 percent and 20 percent of the total olive crop, respectively. The remaining 4 percent are expected to come from all other varieties. The majority of the total production will be utilized for canning. USDA/NASS estimates that approximately 45,000 tons will be canned with the remaining 5,000 tons used for olive oil and other specialty products.

California’s Bartlett pear crop this year is forecast to reach 195,000 tons, up 17 percent from 2005.

The 2006 other pear forecast for California is 40,000 thousand tons, up 11 percent from 2005.

According to USDA/NASS The Bartlett bloom period was lengthened, particularly in the Sacramento River and Mendocino areas, due to rain and cool temperatures. Small fruit sizes were expected. Harvesting of other pears continued. Pear orchards were treated just ahead of harvest to control to control the leaf-footed bug, worms, aphids, and hoppers.


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