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California pear production ready to ramp up

by Lora Abcarian | July 05, 2009
California pear growers are gearing up for production during 2009, and the California Pear Advisory Board has prepared estimates for 2009 California fresh pear production. The board, headquartered in Sacramento, CA, operates through grower assessment under the California Agricultural Marketing Act of 1937.

According to the board's web site, "The marketing order covers both fresh and processed Bartlett pears produced in California. Mandated programs include promotion, research, standardization, policy, pesticide advocacy and the cumulating of industry statistics and information." According to the web site, California produces 60 percent of the nation's Bartlett crop, growing the variety in the early and late districts. The early district is comprised of operations in the Sacramento River Delta and Upper Sacramento Valley and is collectively known as the River District. The late district includes pear production from Mendocino and Lake counties.

Total 2009 fresh production for all pear varieties was estimated to be approximately 4.4 million 36-pound-box equivalents. A breakdown by production region showed the following: River District, about 2.8 million boxes; Mendocino County, about 434,400 boxes; and Lake County, about 1.1 million boxes.

According to the data, approximately 61,380 tons of fresh California Bartletts - or approximately 3.4 million 36-pound-box equivalents - are anticipated to be produced this season. The Bartlett harvest begins July 13 in the River District, Aug. 3 in Lake County and Aug. 10 in Mendocino County. According to the estimate, Bartlett production is anticipated to be down 9 percent compared to 2008.

The pear board also provided estimates for other fresh pear varieties. About 32,000 boxes of Sunsprites were indicated, and 10,500 boxes of Starkcrimsons will be produced. Other red varieties were indicated at a production level of 22,200 boxes. Golden Russet Bosc was anticipated at 432,100 boxes, and Bosc was estimated at 236,600 boxes. Comice was estimated at 22,500 boxes, Seckel at 8,900 boxes and Forelle at 2,075 boxes. French Butter was listed at 6,700 boxes. Organic pears were anticipated at 105,000 boxes, and all other varieties were indicated at 25,900 boxes.

The California Agricultural Resource Directory 2008-09 provided final figures for California pear production during 2007. The report divided data into three categories: Bartlett, other pears and all pears. According to the report, the per-ton value of fresh Bartletts was $367. Figures were not available for other pear varieties.

On June 1, the National Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture indicated total California Bartlett production for all uses at 195,000 tons for the 2008 crop year and forecasted a total of 190,000 tons of Bartletts.