California September crop forecast

California’s September crop production report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Sacramento Field Office:

• Walnuts

The 2009 California walnut production is forecast at 415,000 tons, down 5 percent from 436,000 tons in 2008. Bearing acreage is estimated at 223,000 resulting in a yield of 1.86 tons per acre. The forecast is based on the Walnut Objective Measurement Survey conducted during August.

Survey data indicates an average nut set of 1,523 per tree, up 8 percent from 2008's average of 1,416. The San Joaquin Valley set is 1,250, down 2 percent from last year, and the Sacramento Valley set is 1,758, up 10 percent from last year. The percentage of sound kernels in-shell was 97.9 percent statewide.

• Cotton

Upland cotton production in California is forecast at 218,000 bales, down 41 percent from the 2008 crop, but 5 percent above the Aug. 1 forecast. Harvested acreage is estimated at 70,000, up 9 percent from the previous forecast. Yield is forecast at 1,495 pounds per acre, down 4 percent from last month.

The forecast for American Pima cotton production in California, carried forward from last month, is 330,000 bales, down 18 percent from the 2008 crop. Harvested acreage is estimated at 127,000. Yield is forecast at 1,247 pounds per acre.

• Rice

All rice production in California for 2009 is forecast at 45.6 million cwt., up 6 percent from the previous year. The yield forecast is 8,300 pounds per acre, up 1 percent from the Aug. 1 forecast. Planted and harvested acreages are estimated at 552,000 and 549,000 acres respectively.

Rice has been heading and filling across the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys. Harvest is expected to begin during mid-September.

• Corn

Corn for grain production in California for 2009 is forecast at 630,000 tons, down 32 percent from last year’s crop and unchanged from the August forecast. With harvested acreage estimated at 125,000 acres, the yield is 5.04 tons per acre. Compared to the 2008 crop year, harvested acreage is down 26 percent, but yield is down 8 percent.

• Sugar beets

The 2009 California sugar beet production forecast is 984,000 tons, down 2 percent from the August forecast and from last season. Harvested acreage remains unchanged from last month with 24,600 acres resulting in a 40 ton-per-acre yield.

• Navel oranges

California’s initial 2009-2010 Navel orange forecast is 80 million 37.5-pound cartons, 16 percent above last season’s crop of 69 million cartons. Of that amount 78 million cartons are estimated to be in the Central Valley.

The forecast is based on the Navel Orange Objective Measurement Survey conducted in the Central Valley. Survey data indicated an average fruit set of 294 oranges per tree, with a Sept. 1 diameter of 2.34 inches.

NASS note: Production forecasts are released monthly and do not reflect final production estimates. Late summer and fall harvests may change these estimates considerably. The next production forecast will be issued Oct. 9, 2009.

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