There has been a small turn around in California strawberry fields following a three-year trend of declining acreage, while shipments are up significantly.
At least for this year, the trend for decreased acreage has been halted, with an estimate of a bit more than 36,000, on par with 2016 numbers, according to the California Strawberry Commission Acreage Survey for 2017.
In 2016, total strawberry shipments from California topped 196 million trays, representing about 3.4 percent gain over the previous year even with 5 percent fewer acres.
2017 has not gotten off to a very good start due to several rain storms having drenched California during the first six weeks of the season. However, it is still running ahead of 2016 though behind 2015. By mid-January, total California shipments were in the 750,000 tray range compared to half that in 2016, but 1.2 million in 2015.
However, shipments from both Mexico and Florida were well ahead of the past two years. In mid-January, Florida strawberry shipments loaded almost 3 million trays for shippin while Mexico topped 3.5 million. In 2016, by mid-January those two competing points of origin had only delivered a total of 2.5 million trays last year and about 3.8 million the previous year.
Central Florida strawberries – grossing about $1200 to Atlanta.
California growers continue to be the leading production region in the world and are expected to supply more than 79 percent of the volume shipped in the United States in 2017.
The acreage report is published two times a year with acreage information voluntarily provided by California strawberry growers and shippers. The first “Acreage Survey” for the 2017 harvest year includes acres that were planted in the fall of 2016 as well as the forecast of acreage that will be planted in the summer of 2017 for fall production. For 2017, the commission reports a total of 36,141 acres, with 30,074 planted last fall and an estimated 6,067 slated for summer planting. As a point of comparison, last year, fall plantings totaled 29,318 acres with a then estimate of 6,721 for summer planting.
In 2013, the CSC January acreage report revealed 35,670 acres of fall plantings and 5,146 summer plantings for a total of 40,816 acres. In 2014, total acreage dropped to just under 39,000 and in 2015, the total was 38,100. Last year saw another decline of about 5 percent to 36,039. This year represents a negligible gain, but it’s a gain nonetheless.
In its report about acreage, CSC noted that while acreage has declined in recent years production has actually remained stable or increased partially due to new varieties, which has led to higher yields per acre.
Ventura County strawberries – grossing about $3600 to Dallas.