The California pean, plum and nectarine crop is predicted to return to more normal levels this season after the second largest crop in history in 2008.

The Reedley-based California Tree Fruit Agreement released its estimates for the stone fruit crop, with total production expected to come in at 49.6 million packages, about 14 percent less than the 2008 crop, according to a news release. But that's more in line with the crop that was harvested between 2004 and 2006.

The 2009 crop breaks down into 21.4 million packages of peaches, 8.9 million of plums and 19.2 million of nectarines.

Of the peach crop, 16 million packages will be yellow-flesh and 5.4 million  Summerwhites.

Of the nectarine crop, 4.6 million boxes will be Summerwhite varieties.

Production of white-fleshed peaches and nectarines is 13 percent less than in 2008, whereas yellow-fleshed production is only off 11 percent, according tot he release.

The most significant decline will be in plums, which are expected to be down 13 percent from 12 million packages last year.

The estimates are based on 25-pound volume-filled containers of peaches and nectarines and 28-pound volume-filled containers of plums.

The timing of the crop is similar to last year's, with fruit maturity running four to five days later than historical averages. This also should help fruit sizing.

The above average production witnessed in 2007 and 2008 led the California tree fruit industry to re-evaluate supply and demand. Growers increased pullouts of orchards by 54 percent compared with a five-year average.