`Preliminary Estimates Suggest Significant Drop in California Production - Olive Oil Times

Preliminary Estimates Suggest Significant Drop in California Production

Jul. 11, 2022
Paolo DeAndreis

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Olive oil pro­duc­tion in California is expected to drop sig­nif­i­cantly in the 2022/23 crop year com­pared with the pre­vi­ous har­vest.

According to the Olive Oil Commission of California (OOCC), which rep­re­sents 90 per­cent of the Golden state’s pro­duc­tion, its mem­bers will pro­duce 1.8 mil­lion gal­lons (8.2 mil­lion liters) in the cur­rent crop year.

Previously, OOCC mem­bers com­bined to pro­duce three mil­lion gal­lons (13.6 mil­lion liters) in 2021/22, 1.9 mil­lion gal­lons (8.6 mil­lion liters) in 2020/21 and 3.6 mil­lion gal­lons (16.4 mil­lion liters) in 2019/20.

See Also:Record Number of NYIOOC Awards for American Producers

Although some of the dis­crep­an­cies in pro­duc­tion are down to the nat­ural alter­nate bear­ing cycle of the olive tree, pro­duc­ers faced a range of chal­lenges, from high winds dam­ag­ing trees dur­ing blos­som­ing to the state’s unre­lent­ing drought.

Zach Thorp, co-owner of Lot22, which won a Gold and Silver Award at the 2022 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition, recently told Olive Oil Times how the cli­mate is not the same as it was five years ago and we are con­stantly need­ing to net­work with other California grow­ers in order to prob­lem solve an ever-grow­ing issue.”

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Local author­i­ties in California, which is respon­si­ble for vir­tu­ally all olive oil pro­duc­tion in the United States, expect the drought to worsen in 2022.

According to the most recent data from the U.S. Drought Monitor, 97.5 per­cent of California is cur­rently in a severe drought, with an extreme drought warn­ing cov­er­ing almost 60 per­cent of the state.

We are set in a very spe­cific micro­cli­mate in south­ern California,” Thorp said of his groves located east of Los Angeles. Currently, with water being a sig­nif­i­cant issue for California, we are see­ing the ele­ments of our micro­cli­mate begin to take cen­ter stage for sus­tain­able crops like olives in a water-chal­lenged envi­ron­ment.”

The extreme resilience of olive trees to drought and water scarcity is one of the rea­sons for many olive-related invest­ments and expan­sion projects world­wide.

Still, pro­longed dry con­di­tions over time severely impact rain­fed orchards’ pro­duc­tiv­ity, while exces­sive heat also impacts irri­gated groves.

Samantha Dorsey, the pres­i­dent of McEvoy Ranch, which earned one Gold and two Silver Awards at the 2022 NYIOOC, told Olive Oil Times last August that the com­bi­na­tion of high winds, pro­longed drought and above-aver­age tem­per­a­tures impacted her pre­vi­ous har­vest.

According to the 2022 Olive Oil Times Producers Survey, 36 per­cent of the 4,235 inter­na­tional par­tic­i­pants sur­veyed said exces­sive heat affected their har­vest in 2021/22. A fur­ther 33 per­cent of respon­dents said drought had neg­a­tively affected their har­vest.



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