California prune crop down almost 50 percent

The 2007 California prune crop forecast is 95,000 dried tons, down 47 percent from the 2006 crop, according to the USDA/NASS California field office.

Bearing acreage is estimated at 65,000 acres, resulting in a yield of 1.46 tons per acre. The 2007 prune crop experienced an extremely warm period during bloom. The bloom was also one of the shortest in memory. As a result of poor pollination, the set was small.

Several growers reported loss of fruit due to the dry weather conditions that hampered bee pollination activities. Production was also hindered as a result of stressed orchards recovering from the previous year's high production. Many growers in Yuba and Sutter County described evidence of extremely low yields.

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