Prune crop nearly 50 percent below average

CORNING, Calif. - The extreme heat from this spring and earlier this summer have put extra stress on this year's prune crop.

Some farmers are even thinking it will be the worst crop in history.

Forecasts initially put the crop 25 percent lower than normal, but it ended up at nearly 50 percent below normal.

The lack of acreage and the extreme heat/drought have both added up to crop yields much below average.

The silver lining is that with fewer prunes growing the ones that do will be bigger.  And bigger prunes claim bigger money.

In addition the lower supply and nearly constant demand will keep the prices rising.  So prices have risen about $400 per ton and next year's crop is expected to bring even more than that.

The farmers are staying positive as well saying that the trees tend to have peaks and valleys in production amount, one year producing huge numbers and the next falling slightly flat.

The hardest hit areas are to our south in Sutter County where some farmers have seen complete crop loss.

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