Combined gross agricultural receipts were up 12 percent in Stanislaus County, Calif. in 2017, a trend that is starting to be seen in other farm counties in the state.
The county’s 4,243 farms combined to produce a gross $3.64 billion in products ranging from tree nuts, dairy and livestock, to vegetables and fruits. Though improved after a slide in values seen in 2015 and 2016, the new number is still significantly short of the $4.4 billion record set in 2014.
Part of this boost can be credited with organic food production, which doubled in value to nearly $200 million on acreage that remained little-changed at over 8,500.
The largest increase in a single commodity for 2017 was seen in almonds. A 3 percent boost in bearing acres to 188,000 and an 8.6 percent jump in per-acre yields to 2,260 pounds pushed overall almond values up by about $125 million, according to Stanislaus County Agricultural Commissioner Milton O’Haire.
The total almond value of $1.05 billion reflects gross sales of almond kernels, hulls and shells based on 212,000 tons of almond kernels. Grower prices were little-changed at about $2.42 per pound, on average. Almond hull and shell prices remained little-changed as well. Stanislaus County produces almost 14 percent of the state’s almond crop by volume.
Almonds overtook dairy in 2013 as the single-highest valued commodity. It has remained in the No. 1 spot ever since.
At No. 2 in value, milk production remained surprisingly stable given the precipitous decline in milk herds throughout the state as farmers complain about unprofitable dairy prices. Even so, milk prices from dairy cows rebounded $1.50 per hundredweight in 2017. Goat milk production and pricing fell significantly in 2017.
Stanislaus County is home to a large goat milk processor. Meyenberg Goat Milk produces a variety of products from goat dairies in the region.
Also seen in 2017:
- Chicken egg production was up by almost six million dozen as grower prices for a dozen eggs climbed 20 cents to $1.45;
- Silage crop acreage grew 6 percent as corn grown for silage saw a $2-per-ton increase to $41;
- Cherry farmers had a better year in 2017, harvesting 7,700 tons of the fruit from just over 3,000 acres of farmland. Prices were little-changed;
- Apricot yields were down slightly to 8.2 tons per acre with softer grower prices;
- Freestone peach prices improved to $1,674 per ton on 8,300 acres of production. Farmers also harvested 84,000 acres of cling peaches; and,
- Walnut acreage was little-changed as prices rose from 96 cents per pound to $1.20 per pound.
The Stanislaus County Crop Report is available online.