Almonds hold strong as Yolo’s top crop

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After dethroning the tomato as Yolo County’s most valuable crop in 2018, the almond held on to the top spot last year, even increasing in value by nearly $45 million.

Meanwhile, tomatoes slipped to No. 3 in 2019’s county crop report, behind a new one in the second spot: wine grapes, which were valued at just over $108 million to tomatoes’ $107.5 million.

But “almonds continue to be the No. 1 by a long, long way,” said Dave Guerrero, the county’s chief deputy agricultural commissioner, who presented the crop report to the Board of Supervisors last week.

The gross value of almonds increased from $113 million in 2018 to $157.7 million in 2019.

And that increase, Guerrero said, did not come by way of a big increase in acres being harvested.

“You don’t see too many more acres harvested this year,” he said. “It’s just the value of the crop went up, itself.”

Meanwhile, wine grapes made a big jump into the second spot, with the gross value increasing from $83.6 million in 2018 to $108.1 million in 2019.

The increase was most notable in red wine grapes, Guerrero said, which increased in value by $22 million.

“So kudos to our wine growers,” he said.

Tomatoes, on the other hand, “even though we had about 1,900 more acres harvested in 2019,” said Guerrero, “we ended up with less production, less yield per acre.”

Still, tomatoes ranked as the county’s third most valuable crop in 2019, followed by rice and organic production. Rounding out the top 10 were walnuts, alfalfa hay, sunflower seeds, pistachios and nursery crops.

Falling out of the top 10 were cattle and calves, which dropped in value from $16.7 million in 2018 to $16 million in 2019.

Overall, the gross value of Yolo County’s agricultural production increased by 13.2 percent between 2018 and 2019, from $675.9 million to more than $765 million.

Japan remains the county’s top export partner, followed by China and Mexico.

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