New releases of the day-neutrals have lost much of their chilling sensitivity.
“My guess is day-neutral varieties will be featured in all early production systems, such as Southern California and Spain,” Shaw said.
“If I’d said 10 years ago that the largest single variety planted in Southern California would be san andreas, people would have said I’m crazy.”
About 4,600 acres of san andreas are planted, half each in Southern California and the Watsonville-Salinas area.
Historically, Southern California growers favored short-day or June-bearing varieties. Benicia, one of the newer university varieties, is an example.
“Most people with 80 or 100 acres want to buffer themselves, and having benicia and san andreas on different schedules does that,” Shaw said.
“Benicia was planted in the fall and it’s producing now. It’s the wild card. Things look good, but whether (plantings) stay the same, double or triple depends on what happens in the next six to eight weeks.”