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Tomato forecast at 12.3 million tons

Contracted production at 45.90 tons per acre. Tomato harvest 10-14 days behind schedule.

Contracted production for California processing tomatoes is forecast at 12.3 million tons, averaging 45.90 tons per acre. After a record processing tomato crop in 2009, forecast production is 7.6 percent lower for the 2010 crop.

Above average rainfall during the winter improved water allocations in growing areas. In the spring, wet weather and cool temperatures continued, causing delays in field preparation and planting schedules.

There were occurrences of bacterial speck in early-planted fields. The combination of disease and cool temperatures slowed plant growth. As a result, harvest started about 10 to 14 days behind schedule in mid-July.

By August, harvest was well underway. The industry is paying close attention to the maturity of the crop — if too much is ready at the same time, it could cause delays at processing plants and gaps in production.

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