Thinning has begun in select Extra Early orchards. Recent warmer weather is helping fruit development and causing smaller fruit to slough off the tree. Some growers feel they may not need to thin some varieties due to a lighter set. Warmer temperatures have helped growth in our organics. Organics are a little lighter as well, butwith younger trees now a year older we should not see a drop in tonnage. The higher than normal temperatures last week in the Yuba City area has allowed growers to mow and disc some of the blocks that had still been wet from the last round of storms. Thinning has ramped up and more growers have stated they will begin next week.
Fruits continue to grow. Sizes range from just under 3/4 inch in diameter to just over 1 inch. Large clusters of more than 3 fruits are still visible throughout the orchards. After the drop is complete, growers will have a better estimate on their crop size. Linden orchards have more singles and doubles. Fruit is sizing well and appears to be clean.
Bunch counts in Madera are averaging 26 bunches per vine which is about 9 bunches less than last year. Timing continues to look about 5 to 7 days later than last year. Bunch counts from both districts confirm crop potential is below average, but should be adequate for pack plan.
Required thinning is complete. Sizing samples will be taken next week. Recent warmer weather has accelerated fruit growth. All growers still look to have their required membership tonnage.
Organic Tomatoes – Looking very good and maturing nicely. Looks like the plants are in full bloom. Pea sized fruit can be seen with regularity in earlier plantings.
Pear Tomatoes – They are looking good and maturing as expected.
Conventional Tomatoes – Transplanting continues. Rain has not been a problem, but strong north winds and unseasonable heat have been an issue. This has slowed some growers’ transplanting capabilities. However, it still looks like transplanting will be completed within a reasonable time.
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.
Lodi Weather Update