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Tomato production in the US would fall 2%

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) projects that the production of processed tomatoes in the United States will decline by 2%, to 11.6 million short tons in 2021.

According to the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS), the tomato is one of the most widely consumed vegetables in the country. In 2020, American farmers produced 24.1 billion pounds of tomatoes and California produced more than 97 percent.

The forecast released Aug. 31 by the California Agricultural Statistics Service shows that California growers delivered 11.1 million short tons of tomatoes for processing this year, down 2% by 2020.

Although processors initially planned a larger harvest, coming from a larger area than the previous year, the area for harvest in the state decreased slightly due in large part to the ongoing drought and the availability of irrigation water.

Since reaching a record high in 2018, California’s yield per acre has stabilized and decreased by at least 1% from the prior year, to a projected 48.9 tons per acre.

According to the USDA, for the past three seasons, drought, excessive heat, smoke from wildfires, and pests have combined to limit California’s tomato harvest.

Tomato production

The 30-year trend (1991-2020) for California’s 2021 crop yield was 51.75 tonnes.

Also, according to preliminary (and incomplete) data from the California Processing Tomatoes Advisory Board (PTAB), production in California through the week of October 16, 2021 totaled 10.6 million tons, 2% less than a year before.

The industry anticipates that another 0.5 million tons will be processed in other states (mainly in the Midwest).

Through the week of October 16, 2021, PTAB data indicates that 19 counties delivered tomatoes for processing in California, led by Fresno County with 27% of the state’s production, followed by Yolo counties ( 15%) and Kings (13 percent).

The late tomato harvest effectively ended after heavy rains on the weekend of October 24, 2021


Redacción Opportimes

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