CDFA forecasts 1.75 million bales

SACRAMENTO - The California Department of Food and Agriculture's (CDFA) Agricultural Statistics Service has released the crop production forecast for December.

Cotton - Upland cotton production in California is forecast at 1.75 million bales, unchanged from the Nov. 1 forecast, but up 17 percent from last year. Harvested acreage of 557,000 resulted in a yield of 1,508 pounds per acre. American Pima cotton production is forecast at 650,000 bales, up 75 percent from the 2003 crop, but unchanged from last month. With harvested acreage at 219,000 acres, the yield is forecast at 1,425 pounds per acre.

As of Dec. 1, harvest continued, but only a few thousand acres remained unharvested. Recent dry weather allowed many growers to rapidly harvest the last of their cotton. Quality, however, remained an issue. A great deal of cotton harvested after the rain began may be categorized as "discount."

Dry edible beans - Dry edible bean production is forecast to be 1.30 million hundredweight, 7 percent below last year. Harvested acreage of 65,000 decreased 13 percent from last year. The overall yield of 2,000 pounds per acre is up 7 percent from the 2003 crop. Lack of rain on the Central Coast early in the year reduced some local yields, but steady growth and development were observed in many dry bean fields during the growing season. Heavy rains in late October and early November, however, delayed harvest and drove some operators to disk in some beans.

California's Agricultural Statistics Service operates under a cooperative agreement between CDFA and the United States Department of Agriculture. Production forecasts are released on a monthly basis and do not reflect final production estimates. Late summer and fall harvests may change these estimates considerably. The next production forecast will be issued Jan. 12, 2005.

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