Contracted production for California processing tomatoes is forecast at 11.1 million tons, averaging 48.9 tons per acre. The current production forecast is 1.9% below last year’s contracted production, and 4.3% below the May forecast. The projected harvested acreage of tomatoes grown under contract is 227,000 acres, which 0.4% lower than in 2020.
Drought concerns impacted planting decisions for the 2021 processing tomato crop and acreage has decreased significantly from early season intentions. Extreme high temperatures in May and throughout the summer lowered expected yields and slowed down operations at the canneries. Crop quality is reported to be average or slightly above average.
Harvest began the first week of July and the flow of tomatoes has generally kept pace with the previous two years. The Processing Tomato Advisory Board published shipments through August 28, 2021, showing a 4.3% decrease compared to the end of August in 2020.
This processing tomato estimate is funded by the California League of Food Producers.