Still, growers are wary of La Niña

California’s avocado harvest close to projection

Data from the California Avocado Commission explains how, as of last week, the 2020-2021 season had seen 263.5 million pounds of fruit come off the trees. That's just a fraction less than 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 pandemic—ended with 375.5 million pounds, according to Commission figures.

Ventura County, the top avocado-producing county in California, saw no major weather disasters this season, said Ben Faber, a University of California Cooperative Extension farm advisor based in Ventura. Santa Ana winds and mild temperatures prevailed last week. Faber: "The last two years previously, we've had those heat waves" in mid-to-late summer. They have just done awful things to not just the crop, but to the trees. It's actually outright killed young trees.“

There is one potential problem coming in from the Pacific: La Niña, which tends to push the storm track farther north. This pattern, Faber said, tends to bring "typically low rainfall, which typically reflect low humidity, which means it's a greater likelihood that we get cold spells. We just need to be on guard for that."


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