The California Crop Report for April from the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Field Office in Sacramento, Calif., released April 8, 2011.
The 2010-11 Navel orange forecast is 96.0 million cartons, a 3 percent increase from January, and up 13 percent from last season. The Navel orange harvest hit its peak in March with excess supplies of fruit for all sizes.
Ongoing quality concerns stemming from oranges staying on trees longer than usual due to delayed maturity continued to be an issue, though due to the large size of the crop good quality fruit is expected to be available through June.
The 2010-11 Valencia orange forecast is 26.0 million cartons, unchanged from March, and down 13 percent from last season. Early-variety Valencia oranges were picked for export in late February and March as the large Navel crop continued to dominate the domestic market.
The harvest is expected to pick up over the coming months, especially after the Navel harvest is completed in late June or early July.
The 2010-11 California grapefruit forecast is 7.0 million cartons, unchanged from the January forecast, and down 22 percent from last season’s crop. Rio Red harvest began in the Desert region of California in early November. Pummelos and Oro Blancos were also shipped in November.
The grapefruit harvest continued in the desert and southern California through December, January, and February. The Rio Red grapefruit harvest was nearly complete by mid-March. Crop quality was excellent.
Movement of pummelos continued from the Central Valley through February, and by March the production was winding down for the season. The next variety of grapefruit to be harvested will be the Star Ruby.
The 2010-11 lemon forecast is 42.0 million cartons, unchanged from the January forecast, and unchanged from last season. The California lemon harvest was completed in the desert region as picking continued in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV) and along the southern coastal region. There were adequate supplies of all fruit sizes and grades.
The 2010-11 tangerine forecast is 19.2 million cartons, unchanged from the January forecast and down 3 percent from last season.
Minneola tangelo harvest was completed in the Desert Region in early March. The harvests of Shasta Golds, Pixies, and Gold Nuggets continued in the SJV in March. Fruit has good size, color, and flavor.
2011 strawberry production is expected at 25.3 million hundredweight, down 2 percent from last year. Harvested acreage is estimated at 38,000 with a yield of 665 hundredweight per acre. Some young strawberry fields along the Central Coast suffered from anthomyiid and sciarid infestations, but overall yields and quality are expected to be at least normal.
Production forecasts are released on a monthly basis and do not reflect final production estimates. The next production forecast will be issued May 11.