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Prune Crop Estimates and Harvest News August 2017

As of this writing, summer conditions in California have been good and while there has been some significant drop of fruit, many growers and processors think the crop may exceed the 2017 estimate slightly. Fruit size should be good with processors hoping for a full range of sizes available throughout the 2017 crop season. Harvest should begin in the middle of August (organic prunes typically start harvesting a bit earlier than conventional). There are no price indications as of this writing.

The 2017 official NASS California Prune Crop estimate totals 105,000 short tons, up from the 51,000 short tons produced in 2016. This equates to a 106 percent increase over last year’s production. Bearing acreage is estimated at 44,000 acres; down 2% from the previous years. 

Bearing acreage in California has been steadily decreasing from the high of 86,000 bearing acres in 2001. However, growers are still investing in future prune crops. Reports show that 2017 nursery sales of plum trees for prunes have increased almost 14% over last year’s sales. This is a bit of a reversal as growers were pulling fruit orchards and planting nuts.

A successful harvest will stabilize supply for at least the next year. The new plantings suggest that growers are again investing in their prune businesses which would stabilize supply for an extended period.


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