California avocado harvest close to projection as La Niña looms

California avocado harvest close to projection as La Niña looms

California avocado harvest close to projection as La Niña looms

A largely drama-free California avocado-growing season has all but ended, with the crop close to meeting midseason projections, The Ag Alert newspaper reports.

As of last week, the 2020-2021 season—which started Nov. 1, 2020—had seen 263.5 million pounds of fruit come off the trees, according to figures from the California Avocado Commission. That's just below the 265 million pounds forecast in the commission's April survey of growers and handlers. By contrast, the 2019-2020 growing season—which ran into the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic—ended with 375.5 million pounds, according to commission figures.

In northern San Diego County, Fallbrook-based grove manager Charley Wolk said this year's crop and next year's are feeling the effects of inconsistent weather earlier in 2021. Some groves in the area had no fruit to harvest, he said.

"We didn't have a freeze or anything," Wolk said. "We just had weather that was not conducive to growing avocados." That included runs of five to 10 days with below-average temperatures, followed by three or four days of above-average days, followed by more below-average days.

"It kept doing that through the spring and the pollination season," Wolk said. "(With) the fruit that was for this year, that unstable weather plus some windstorms knocked all the fruit on the ground."

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