Most California crops dodge hail damage - The Packer

Most California crops dodge hail damage

04/19/2012 09:44:00 AM
Don Schrack

Atomic Torosian, managing partner of Crown Jewels Marketing LLC, said there was no hail damage to any of the table grape, cherry and blueberry fields the company markets.

“Most of our acreage was outside of the hail belt,” he said.

The company’s main melon grower, Firebaugh-based Perez Packing, endured heavy rain, but no hail, Torosian said.

It was the same scenario at Firebaugh-based Westside Produce, said Jim Malanca, vice president and sales manager.

“The only thing the storm could possibly do is keep us from having Westside cantaloupes in the month of June, but we usually start the season after July 4 anyway,” he said.

The company’s second planting was scheduled to begin April 19, Malanca said, and temperatures above 70 degrees were helping dry the soil.

The San Joaquin Valley’s west side also is home to the bulk of the region’s fresh tomato fields, which got plenty of rain, but also escaped the hail, said Jeff Dolan, director of farm operations for Dimare Newman. The company’s first harvest is expected to begin in mid-May.

“We’re looking very, very good on the front end of our deal,” Dolan said.

The storm did focus on some of the state’s kiwifruit acreage, but damage was minimal, said Nick Matteis, assistant director of the California Kiwifruit Commission.

“If there was any damage, it was spotty at best, and looks as if we’ll have another good California crop of kiwifruit,” he said.

Nut crops also emerged with limited damage from the hail. There are no pistachio orchards in the hardest hit area, said Rich Matoian, executive director of American Pistachio Growers.

“It looks as if this will be another record year,” he said.

Some almond growers were hit by hail, but the industry is hoping the result will be nothing more than the June drop in April, said Paul Reynolds, sales manager for Meridian Nut Growers LLC, Clovis.

“As far as the aggregate crop, it (hail damage) should be a fairly small effect,” he said.

A few almond growers reported moderate-to-severe hail damage, said Richard Waycott, president and chief executive officer of the Almond Board of California, Modesto. The almond industry enjoys the luxury of thousands of acres. As a result, “what the impact of the hail will be on a percentage basis will probably be in the point-zero-zero-something range,” he said.

The industry’s subjective estimate is due to be released May 3, Waycott said, and the comprehensive estimate will be released in late June.

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jim Malanca    
Firebaugh  |  April, 20, 2012 at 09:12 AM

well researched, news that the buying side needs to know. "There will be California fruit available for them to promote" Thanks Mr. Schrack

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