Home Industry News Economics Fresno County Leads Nation in Processing Tomato Production (May California Forecast)

Fresno County Leads Nation in Processing Tomato Production (May California Forecast)

As of May 15, California’s tomato processors reported they have or will have contracts for 11.5 million tons of processing tomatoes for 2024. This production estimate is 1 percent below the January intentions forecast of 11.6 million tons and 10 percent below the final 2023 contracted production. The May contracted acreage of 228,000 is 2 percent below the January intentions forecast of 232,000 acres and 40,000 acres less than last year’s final contracted acreage.

Fresno County remains the top California county and leading the national in contracted planted acreage for 2024 with 53,000 acres. Yolo, Kings, Merced, and San Joaquin make up the remaining top five counties, accounting for 65 percent of the 2024 total contracted planted acreage for California.

Mild spring temperatures and adequate water have aided the development of the processing tomato crop. Planting began in late February in warmer areas of the state and has progressed with little to no weather delays. There were reports that the beet leafhopper has been detected in some areas, warranting close monitoring and increased pest control. At this point, yields are projected to be a little higher than last year. Harvest is expected to start in early July.

Tomato supplies were replenished after growers in 2023 produced the largest crop in years. As a result, contracted acreage has decreased in most counties. Planted acres in Kings County increased significantly, as cropland that was previously under water has since been recovered. Processors anticipate that this year’s tomato harvest will be on schedule and will not extend beyond normal timelines, reducing the need for late- season deliveries.

This early processing tomato estimate is funded by the California League of Food Producers.

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