2012 California prune crop expected to be smaller than 2011 crop
California dominates U.S. prune production with virtually all of its production destined for the processing sector--mostly to dried fruit processors. The California prune crop for 2012 is forecast at 120,000 dry tons, down 12 percent from the 2011 revised estimate of 137,000 tons and 15 percent smaller than the 2008-10 average crop size. In 2007, however, the crop totaled only 83,000 tons and in 2004, even smaller at 48,000 tons. Bearing acreage continues to decline for the third consecutive year in 2012 and the average yield per acre, at 2.18 dry tons, is 8 percent below the yield last year, reducing total crop size. As grower prices from 2009 to 2011 continued to fall below the 2008 average high of $1,500 per ton, prune trees were pulled after the 2011 harvest, reducing bearing acreage in 2012 to 55,000 acres, down 5 percent from a year ago. This chart comes from the Fruit and Tree Nut Outlook, FTS-352, June 2012.
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