ConservasEne. 30, 2013
Tomates/EE.UU: productores californianos esperan procesar 13 millones de toneladas
California tomato processors expect to contract with farmers for 13 million tons of production this year, up slightly from the 12.9 million tons in contracted production reported in 2012, federal and state farm officials recently reported.
If accurate, it could signal the second-largest processing crop for the state. And while it would be a big crop historically, it’s not much different from what California has seen since 2007, as the processing tomato harvest has run roughly from 12 million to 13 million tons annually.
“When you look at it year over year, it’s just steady as she goes,” said Mike Montna, president and chief executive of the California Tomato Growers Association.
One thing that is changing is increased export demand for California tomato products, he said. Another is average yield, meaning farmers get more tomatoes from every acre planted.
This year, according to the report from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Office in Sacramento, processors expect nearly 50 tons per acre.
That means planted acreage is shrinking even as the size of the crop goes up. In the late 1990s, for example, statewide processing tomato crops averaged 10.3 million tons from about 300,000 acres harvested.
This year, the 13 million tons of contracted tomatoes will come from 261,000 acres.
“Producing more tons off less acres is a good thing for the industry,” Montna said.
Tomatoes were San Joaquin County’s fifth most valuable crop in 2011, worth about $108 million, according to the latest figures available from the county Agricultural Commissioner’s Office. Of that, about $82 million was from processing tomatoes – the fleshy Roma type fruit preferred for canning – and the balance from tomatoes for the fresh market, sold in supermarkets and to restaurants.
Processing tomato plantings in the county vary from year to year but recently have been in decline, from 42,000 acres reported harvested in 2006 to 2011, when 27,300 acres were harvested for cannery use. Adverse weather may have had a hand, too, in that lower acreage.
Publication date: 1/28/2013