- Author: Sonia Rios
California produces about 90 percent of the nation's avocado crop. California avocado growers compete in both the domestic and international markets with countries with much lower costs of production and labor availability. To stay competitive will require more efficient farming strategies and a significant increase in productivity on the part of California growers, especially with the increase of water costs and labor constraints. To adapt, growers need to dramatically increase yield per acre using the same amount of water or less. Evolving farming practices and new information is essential for growers to stay competitive with the world market.
Since 1995, University of California Cooperative Extension, in collaboration with the California Avocado Society and California Avocado Commission has developed a seminar series to help avocado growers. Each seminar is tailored to each specific growing region in the state: Riverside and San Diego Counties, Central Coast, and northern Central Coast. As part of the educational series, growers and stakeholders are exposed to various topics: economics, pest management, water quality and usage, soil science, pruning techniques, bio-control, Integrated Pest Management, salinity, labor, and harvesting, etc. The audience has a say in what topics will be discussed, and we have had positive feedback in all three locations. Per stakeholder request, round table discussions and field tours have also been incorporated into the program. These seminars have gained a positive reputation amongst growers and continue to impact the industry in a positive manner.
Seminars provide new information that growers share Surveys determined that these seminars address current issues affecting avocado growers in their growing regions and expose them to new skills and knowledge, encouraging change in current cultivation practices. For example, subjects such has high-density plantings, rootstock selection, and salinity management help growers maximize production. In the most recent survey (8/2017), data suggested that as many as 52 percent of the attendees come to the seminars with little to no knowledge on some of the subjects presented and as many as 73 percent of the attendees leave the seminars with either “quite a bit”, or a “complete understanding” of knowledge from the material. In addition, more than 50 percent of the clientele that attended the seminar said they are likely going to share the material learned that day with as many people as possible (10+ people). This assures that the information given is circulating and reaching those who cannot physically attend the meetings. The collected survey information shows a positive outcome and assures the success of the educational seminar series.
Seminars are held January - August of every year - Keep an eye out for next years line up!
- Author: Ben Faber
- Author: Ben Faber
The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has released the 2015-2016 California Agricultural Statistics Review. The Review provides an overview of the state's agricultural statistics and weather highlights, as well as county-specific and crop-specific data. Overall, California continues to lead the nation as the largest agricultural producer and exporter despite the challenges posed by a fourth consecutive year of drought.
Highlights from the report are as follows:
- California's agriculture sales decreased by 16.8 percent between the 2014 and 2015 crop years for a total of $47.1 billion in cash receipts.
- California continues to lead the nation in exports, at $20.7 billion.
- California exported nearly 26 percent of its agricultural volume. Overall, California's agricultural exports have grown more than 120 percent during the past decade.
- Fruit and nut crops accounted for 36 percent of gross cash volume in 2015.
- California is the leading agricultural producer in the U.S., representing nearly 13 percent of the U.S. total.
- In 2015, California was home to 77,500 farms, with an average 329 acres — which is smaller than the national average of 441 acres.
- Nearly 27 percent of California farms generate more than $100,000 in commodity sales; the national average is 20 percent.
- The top five agricultural counties in California were Tulare, Kern, Fresno, Monterey and Stanislaus.
- California is ranked as the number one producer of avocados in the U.S. and produced between 60 and 75 percent of the national production of avocados, which accounted for 93 percent of U.S. receipts.
- California avocados ranked 28th in the state based on total value.
The entire California Agricultural Statistics Review is available online.