California Field Crop Review

The following is the latest California Field Crop Review from the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Sacramento, Calif., Field Office:

• Cotton

California's 2009 upland cotton production is estimated at 250,000 480-pound bales as of Jan. 1, a decrease of 32 percent from last year. This is based on 70,000 acres for harvest. The average yield is 1,714 pounds per acre.

Upland producers in California completed planting in mid-June. The upland crop developed slightly behind normal throughout the summer. By late August, hot dry weather aided development and the crop progressed ahead of normal. Harvest was underway by the end of September. Harvest throughout the region was complete by early December.

California's 2009 American Pima cotton production is estimated at 350,000 480-pound bales, 13 percent below last year's crop. The yield of 1,448 pounds is 13 percent above 2008.

• Hay stocks

Stocks of all hay on California farms totaled 2.4 million tons as of Dec. 1, 2009. This was 1 percent above the 2.38 million tons on hand a year earlier.

• Winter and durum wheat seeding

California farmers are expected to seed 505,000 acres to winter wheat for the 2010 crop, 14 percent below the 2009 crop. By Dec. 6, emergence was evident on 78 percent of the acreage, well ahead of the 5-year average.

Durum wheat seedings in Arizona and California for 2010 harvest are estimated at 205,000 acres, down 33 percent from the 2009 level. Planted acreage is down 35,000 in Arizona and down 65,000 in California. Planting is ongoing in California's San Joaquin and Imperial valleys. No major problems with the crop have been reported.

• California rice up 11 percent

California farmers produced 47.8 million cwt. of rice in 2009, 11 percent above the 43 million cwt. produced in 2008. The 2009 crop included 330,000 cwt. of long grain rice, 47 percent below the 621,000 cwt. produced in 2008.

Medium grain production totaled 43.7 million cwt., 11 percent above the 2008 crop. Short grain production was 3.77 million cwt., 16 percent above the previous year. The overall yield of 8,600 pounds per acre was 275 pounds above 2008.

• California Dec. 1 rough rice stocks

On Dec. 1, California rough rice stocks in all positions totaled 41.4 million cwt., 15 percent above last year. Off-farms stocks, including stocks at mills, elevators, warehouses, ports and in transit, totaled 38.2 million cwt. of the total rough rice stored. Stocks stored on farms accounted for 3.22 million cwt.

• Grain stocks

Stocks of wheat in California on Dec. 1, 2009 totaled 524,000 tons, 3 percent above the 507,000 tons on hand a year earlier. U.S. stocks of all wheat totaled 53 million tons, 24 percent above a year ago.

Barley stocks in California on Dec. 1, 2009 totaled 26,100,000 tons, 12 percent above a year earlier. U.S. barley stocks at 4.88 million tons were 18 percent above the Dec. 1, 2008 total.

Off-farm stocks of corn in California totaled 257,000 tons on Dec. 1, 2009, 21 percent below a year earlier. U.S. stocks of corn in all positions totaled 306 million tons.

• California field crop prices

Prices received by California farmers at mid-December were above November for dry edible beans and cottonseed. Prices for fall potatoes and all types of hay were below November. Mid-December prices for wheat and upland cotton were not published due to possible disclosure of individual operations. There was insufficient data to establish a mid-December price for barley.

• Fall potato production – Jan. 1 stocks

California's fall potato stocks were estimated at 1.7 million cwt. as of Jan. 1, 2010, 13 percent above last year. The amount in storage on Jan. 1 represents 41 percent of the production, compared to 38 percent a year ago.

• Winter potato production

In order to better provide accurate and useful statistics to the potato industry, NASS has decided to merge the California winter and summer potato seasons with the California spring potato season for future forecasts and estimates.

As a result, there will be no further data published regarding California winter and summer potatoes. Instead, NASS will publish forecasts and estimates for California potatoes regarding the spring and fall seasons, where the spring season will encompass all acreage and production previously considered to be winter, spring, and summer potatoes.

This merging of seasons will produce more understandable results, as nearly all fall potato acreage is in the northern region of California, while all other potato acreage is in the southern region. Overall, this change will allow for more efficient and accurate data collection, which in turn will lead to more accurate and useful potato estimates for California.

• Sweet potato production

Excellent growing conditions in California resulted in 2009 sweet potato production estimated at 5.92 million cwt., a 36 percent increase above last year’s crop. Harvested acres are estimated at 17,400 acres, 18 percent above 2008.

The yield of 340 cwt. per acre is 15 percent above last year and 6 percent above the previous record high yield of 320 cwt. per acre set in 2007.

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