Local crop yields drive countywide harvest
by Sam Matthews
Aug 23, 2013 | 2405 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print

The Tracy-area’s burgeoning almond crop helped propel San Joaquin County’s 2012 agricultural production to record revenue levels.

A 60 percent rise in gross revenue from almonds, increasingly centered in the Tracy area, was part of a 71.5 percent increase in fruit and nut crops in the county. Walnuts, produced mostly in eastern San Joaquin County, and grapes, mainly from the northern part of the county, were other principal elements of the increase.

Overall, the county’s total gross revenue from a wide range of agricultural products increased 28.18 percent in 2012 compared with 2011. The totals were $2,869,472,000 for 2012 — a record — and $2,238,688,000 for 2011.

The value of the county’s 2012 almond crop, including meats and hulls, totaled $322,948, compared with $201,755 in 2011, creating the 60 percent increase.

With a number of new plantings of almond orchards, many not yet in full production, increases in future years are expected to be substantial as demand remains strong.

Grapes — with a total value set at $549 million and a 91 percent increase over 2011 — surpassed milk as the county’s No. 1 farm product.

Heavy wine grape production and prices averaging $1,112 per ton provided the major boost for the crop.

Walnuts moved into second position, valued at $457 million, a 63 percent increase.

Milk ranked third at $404 million, in response to a decrease in revenue for dairies facing a pricing squeeze.

Almonds maintained the fourth position, ahead of cherries.

Exports of walnuts and almonds, mostly to China, India and Turkey, fueled the increases for those nuts, along with increased plantings.

Tomatoes and hay, both longtime leaders in Tracy-area agricultural production, dropped slightly in value in 2012. Tomatoes yielded $103 million in gross revenue, compared with $108 million in 2011. All kinds of hay, mostly alfalfa, yielded $90 million, about the same as a year earlier.

Silage and grain corn, planted heavily in the Delta, increased in value to $72 million for silage — used mostly for dairy feed — and $70 million for grain corn, intended for both animal and human consumption.

Cattle and calves dropped in value by about $4 million to $67 million in 2012, winding up at the bottom of the top-10 list.

San Joaquin County top 10 ag products for 2012

1. Grapes $549 million

2. Walnuts $457 million

3. Milk $404 million

4. Almonds $322 million

5. Cherries $225 million

6. Tomatoes $103 million

7. Hay $90 million

8. Silage corn $72 million

9. Grain corn $70 million

10. Cattle, calves $67 million

Source: San Joaquin County Agricultural Commissioner

Contact Sam Matthews at 830-4234 or shm@tracypress.com.

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