Almonds are top S.J. crop of 2018
STOCKTON — The county’s almond crop has regained the top spot as the region’s top commodity, valued at $536.4 million in 2018.
County Agricultural Commissioner Tim Pelican presented the 2018 Crop Report to the San Joaquin County Supervisors Tuesday, noting almonds experienced a 47% increase in value since 2017.
Pelican said the gross value of overall agricultural production for 2018 was nearly $2.6 billion, an increase of 2.62 percent from the previous year.
Grapes, which were the county’s top commodity in 2017 and 2016, were the second most valued crop in the most recent report, valued at nearly $430.5 million.
According to the 2017 crop report, grapes were valued at $395.5 million, while almonds were valued at $362.7 million as the third greatest commodity for the county.
Milk rounded out the top three in county commodities in 2018 with a value of $360.35 million. In 2017, milk was the county’s second commodity with a value of $387.4 million.
While almonds were valued at the highest commodity in the county, apiary products from bees and honey, as well as crops pollinated by bees, had the largest crop increase in 2018, with a total value of $32.9 million. Pelican said that was a 23.97 increase from 2017.
“A lot of that is due to the increase in the number of acres that are in production now,” he said. “And that calls for that many more beehives to come into the county.”
Crops pollinated by the apiary industry include apples, blueberries, cherries, cucumber, pumpkin vegetable seed and watermelon, Pelican said.
Livestock and poultry products increased by 8.69 percent with a value of $467.3 million due to a large increase in egg production and price per dozen, he said.
Some crops did not fare so well in 2018, as Pelican said vegetables saw a 3.92 percent decrease in value.
Cherries were also hit hard, valued at $89.7 million, a 51 percent decrease from 2017, when they were valued at $184.6 million.
“You can see that was a huge decrease form the previous year. We had a freeze and rain event last spring, during bloom, which caused a large loss.”
Pelican noted in his report to supervisors the STEM methods farmers are using to allow for faster and more efficient production of food products to supply a growing population.
These STEM methods -which stand for science, technology, engineering and mathematics — Include
the use of drones, variable rate irrigation and optical sorting, among others, he said.
“As the global population increases by 82 million people per year, the agricultural industry needs to keep pace and increase proficiency while it strives to continue feeding the world,” Pelican said in a media statement following Tuesday’s meeting.
“The use of these STEM technologies is helping growers meet global demands, efficiently ship our products to 99 countries worldwide and invent more effective ways to produce commodities and use more sustainable practices to protect our finite resources,” he said.
In the same media statement, Board chairman Miguel Villapudua said the report demonstrates the innovative practices farmers are using to produce their crops.
“We are so proud of our home-grown talent who are transforming the agricultural industry and helping communities grow and thrive locally, statewide, nationally, and globally,” he said.
The full 2018 Crop Report can be viewed online at