Modesto/Madera peach thinning continues in Andross, Kingsburg and Klamath varieties. Thinning appears to be going well for most. Some growers are still having labor issues, but feel confident thinning will get done on time. Organic peach thinning finished up on May 19th. The organic set still looks to be lighter than last year, but size and quality should make up some lost tonnage. Anticipated start date is June 5th to June 7th. Growers in the Yuba City district are thinning and mowing their orchards. Growers are saying that labor is still tight. Reference date +10 day samples were taken on May 17th. Growers are reporting that the crop looks to be an average crop.
Pears are turning down in the River and Linden Districts. Mother Nature continues to drop pears on the ground. Fruit is growing nicely. Pears currently range in size from 1” - 1.5”. This is almost a half an inch smaller than this time last year. The Mendocino and Lake District crops are growing nicely and quality looks good to date. Crop volume in both districts looks to be slightly above average. Growers are starting to irrigate their orchards.
Girdling in Bakersfield is underway and tipping will start once completed. Girdling and tipping should begin in Madera in a week or two. Irrigation continues in both districts and timing still appears to be a week behind last year.
Girdling is the removal of a strip of bark around the entire circumference of the vine. Tipping involves removing the top 2cm of the growth tip of a shoot.
Fruit is beginning to turn a pale green in most orchards. With a few exceptions, fruit that is beginning to turn color has already achieved minimum size requirements and we still have a few weeks of sizing left. Anticipated start date appears to be sometime around June 9th.
Organics: Crop is still looking good and maturing very well.
Pear Tomatoes: Progressing as expected and maturing nicely.
Conventional Tomatoes: Early plantings are maturing and growing. They are starting to show blooms with regularity. Transplanting continues with a few growers finishing this week and the majority finishing next week.
New production started in early April but they are off to a slow start. The initial harvest of oysters is weak with raw materials being on the smaller size. Packers forecast that raw material size and volume will improve by early May. Overall, growers and production facilities are forecasting similar volumes to 2016. Oyster harvest is March through July for both Korea and China; boiled production is March through May and smoked is June through July.
Our mandarins come from the Zhejiang and Hubei Regions. Zhejiang is one of the most densely populated and affluent provinces in China. Zhejiang is among the leading Chinese provinces in farm productivity and leads in the production of tea and in fishing. The Province area is 101 thousand square kilometers and has a population of 54.43 million people. Hubei, a province with numerous rivers and lakes, has been called the “land of thousand lakes”. Hubei has been said to be one of the originating places of the Chinese people. The Province has an area of 180 thousand square kilometers and a population of 57.24 million people.
The average mandarin fruit cost in Zhejiang is higher than the initial projections and the average fruit costs in Hubei are relatively in line. The fruits output dropped 40-50% in Zhejiang, and the fruits output increased by 40-50% in Hubei, which are in line with estimations (the Zhejiang province exports 67% and Hubei exports 4%). The fruits in Zhejiang were soft and loose before December, so almost all Zhejiang factories bought fruits from Hubei until late December. Beginning in 2017, Zhejiang factories began to use local fruits. Canned Mandarins are by far the most canned exported fruit from China (peaches, pears, lychee, pineapple and cherries are also exported from China). Mandarin Orange harvest is middle of October through January.
Production: Pineapple in Thailand grows year-round. However, the volume at this time does not support a year-round production. The Thailand summer production is March through June; Thailand winter production is the middle of September through February. Indonesia production is year-round with a one month break in July.
Thailand Crop Update: Less than a year after the end of El Niño, weather forecasters around the world are predicting that it may come back and cause a drier-than-normal condition in Southeast Asia to develop around July to August and last through the end of this year. The 2016 winter crop has almost ended and the quality of raw material did not improve. The fruit was immature, un-ripe and small in size with high nitrate levels and low recovery percentage (solids and juice). If El Niño were to return for 2017, it will dry up the Thailand crop output, especially the winter crop output.