Monterey County, one of California’s top agricultural producers and premiere travel destination, posted an almost 8 percent gain in its gross farm value in 2015.
The gross value of all agricultural products produced in the county hit a record $4.8 billion on the year. The dollar figure does not represent profits or net income to growers, only what buyers paid for commodities produced by farmers.
While gains were spread across a variety of crops produced, notable increases were seen in leaf lettuce, strawberries and lemons, according to the annual crop report released by county Agricultural Commissioner Eric Lauritzen.
Leaf lettuce, strawberries and head lettuce maintained their top-three rankings in value compared to the previous year, though the overall gap between leaf lettuce and strawberries was within a few million dollars.
Aside from its notoriety as a big vegetable-producing region, wine grapes are a popular crop for the region. Chardonnay grapes remain the most popular white wine varietal at more than 64,000 tons produced on just over 17,000 acres planted. Growers produced over 20,000 tons of Pinot Noir from over 8,300 acres, making it the most popular red varietal grown.
Total wine grape values were down 25 percent on the year as total yield fell nearly 30 percent. At 140,300 tons crushed that was the lowest total yield, with exception of the 2011 crop, in the past decade, according to the annual crop report.
Grape bearing acreage was little-changed, statistically speaking, at nearly 44,300 acres.
Though not a big citrus growing region, lemon farmers saw a 62 percent boost in prices for their 2015 crop.
Lemon growers enjoyed production figures of just over 35 tons per acre, five tons higher than last year and a price that averaged $451 per ton higher than the previous year.
Nearly 1,300 acres of lemons are grown in the county.
Cattle and calf producers saw their production more than double on more head sold and softer prices.
Lettuce exports to foreign countries were down almost 10 percent by volume compared to the previous year. Even so, over half of the county’s lettuce crop was exported.
Strawberry exports were also down slightly by volume as 13 percent of the crop was shipped overseas.
Total exports were off about 8 percent from the previous year.
The Monterey County Crop Report can be viewed online.