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California avocado growers see smaller crop this year

Predictions of reduced avocado supplies in California made last fall seem to be coming to fruition according to some growers.

"My crop is down quite a bit," said Paul Van Leer, who grows avocados near Gaviota along the Santa Barbara County coast, citing the impact of multiple drought years that put his trees "in a little bit of a shock situation" as salts and minerals built up in the soil.

According to latest figures from the California Avocado Commission, with farmers earning $1.80 to $1.88 per pound. In April 2016, growers were earning about 64 cents per pound, according to commission figures.

Avocado grower David Schwabauer of Moorpark confirmed avocado farmers are seeing good prices. "The challenge is you don't have the volume of fruit that you did last year, so you hope that the increase in price is going to help compensate for the lack of volume," Schwabauer said.

Jan DeLyser of the California Avocado Commission estimated 200 million pounds of avocados will be produced in California this year, as compared to 401 million pounds in 2016. One reason for this is the cyclical nature of the trees, she said—after a productive 2016, California avocado trees are on the downswing.

As of April 9, about 44.6 million pounds of the fruit had been produced in the state, versus more than 912 million pounds of fruit imported into the U.S., according to the commission.

"We have a heavy bloom going on right now with the trees that don't have any fruit on them," Schwabauer said. "With the volume of bloom that we're seeing, we will most likely have a pretty heavy crop next year."

source: agalert.com

Publication date: 4/20/2017


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