California strawberry acreage will remain fairly flat in 2017 compared to 2016 according to the California Strawberry Commission Acreage Survey. The main change this year will occur in more fall and less expected summer acreage being planted. The summer planted crop in 2016 turned out to be a financial disaster for many growers in the state as warm weather and poor grower returns hurt them.
The amount of strawberries grown in California in 2016 surpassed the production in 2015 on much less acreage. The production was helped out by a switch to higher producing varieties and generally better weather conditions for most of the season. The amount of fruit sent for freezer usage nearly matched the very large crop of 2015, and juice stock production was the largest it had been in the past five years.
Fall acreage changes from 2016 to 2017 have the Oxnard district decreasing slightly with the Santa Maria area being up nearly 9% and the Watsonville and Salinas districts seeing a slight increase. Since most of the processing pounds are now coming from the Santa Maria district, the increase there in fall acreage should impact processing pounds in the state overall. Summer acreage in the state is expected to decrease this year, but planting for that will not begin for a few more months.