Processing tomato production to rise

Processing tomato harvestProcessing tomato harvestThe U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that although the processing tomato crop is off to slow start, production will jump sharply this season.

As of May 24, California’s tomato processors reported they have or will have contracts for 12.9 million tons of processing tomatoes for 2012, up 8.4 percent from the final contracted production total from last year.

The May contracted acreage of 260,000 is 6,000 acres below the January intentions forecast, but 6,000 acres above last year’s level of 254,000 acres.

Fresno County remains the top California county in contracted planted acreage for 2012 with 97,000 acres. Yolo, San Joaquin, Kern and Kings County make up the remaining top five counties for contracted planted acreage, respectively. These counties account for 76 percent of the 2012 total contracted planted acreage for California.

Cool temperatures and late rains slowed development, subsequently causing planting delays. Tomato beds were formed and received pre-plant herbicides in February. Processing tomato transplants were planted in early spring as allowed by weather and soil conditions.