June 19, 2008
The 2008 California apricot crop forecast is 87,000 tons, up 7 percent from the 2007 crop, according to the California USDA/NASS field office.
Bearing acreage is estimated at 13,400 acres, resulting in a yield of 6.5 tons per acre. Nearly perfect weather during bloom raised hopes of record yields. A late frost in April dashed those expectations for some growers, while many others were unscathed. Some early harvested fruit had wind damage. Cool May weather promoted sizing and quality is anticipated to be very good. Harvest began on time in mid-May. After the sizable crop last year, this year's large crop may be a challenge to market.
California sweet cherries
The 2008 California sweet cherry crop forecast is 86,000 tons, up 1 percent from the 2007 crop, according to USDA/NASS California field office.
Bearing acreage is estimated at 30,000 acres, resulting in a yield of 2.87 tons per acre. Spring weather has consisted of spotty light rain and cool temperatures for California's sweet cherry crop. Cherries started blooming in the month of March and harvest began in late April. Trees have a heavy set of fruit, which is expected to slow down crop maturity. There have been some reports of good fruit size by growers.
The 2008 California Freestone peach crop forecast is 430,000 tons, unchanged from the May forecast and the 2007 crop, according to USDA/NASS.
Bearing acreage is estimated at 36,000, resulting in a yield of 11.9 tons per acre. California experienced an adequate number of chilling hours, thus benefiting the Freestone crop. Weather during the bloom period was very accommodating, although cooler spring temperatures have slightly slowed maturity. The crop is reported to be of excellent quality, with good sizes. Harvest continues with the Spring Snow, Spring Flame, Crimson Lady, and Crown Princess the major varieties picked.
The 2008 California Clingstone peach crop forecast is 380,000 tons, down 5 percent from the May forecast and 24 percent below the 2007 crop. Bearing acreage is estimated at 25.3 thousand acres, resulting in a yield of 15.0 tons per acre. The Clingstone crop also experienced adequate chilling hours. Weather during the bloom period was favorable. However, unusually cold temperatures on April 19 and 20 have resulted in significant frost damage to the crop. The largest impact of the frost damage is in the northern growing areas, with some growers reporting 100 percent damage. There were also a large number of growers with loss in the Modesto area. However, fruit in the southern growing areas was not affected. Growers are waiting as long as possible before they start to thin to get a better idea of which fruit will drop and which will remain on the tree. Some blocks won't need to be thinned at all because their set is so light. Harvest of the crop will be slightly later this year due to the cooler temperatures.
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