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Wine grapes are top crop in SLO County 

San Luis Obispo County 2013 Crop Report released

$960,710,000 gross agricultural value reported

county crop reportThe San Luis Obispo County Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures today released the 2013 annual production statistics for the local agricultural industry.

Total gross crop values for 2013 are $960,710,000 compared to $861,820,000 for 2012. “This represents an increase of 11% in value compared to 2012,” according to Martin Settevendemie, County Agricultural Commissioner. “Despite challenging drought conditions and unusual weather in 2013, values reached record breaking levels, which is a testament to the perseverance of the local agricultural producers,” said Settevendemie.

Wine grapes were the number one ranked commodity in value in 2013. Overall, total production increased 10% compared to the prior year. Favorable weather conditions, strong prices, high production levels and high demand for San Luis Obispo County’s wine grapes set the value for all varieties combined at over $220 million.

2013 top twenty crops in San Luis Obispo County

  • Wine Grapes, $220,355,000
  • Strawberries, $210,579,000
  • Cattle and Calves, $96,390,000
  • Broccoli, $64,135,000
  • Avocados, $44,299,000
  • Vegetable Transplants, $33,164,000
  • Cut Flowers, $26,359,000
  • Indoor Decoratives, $19,417,000
  • Cauliflower, $14,163,000
  • Napa Cabbage, $13,431,000
  • Head lettuce, $13,419,000
  • Outdoor Ornamentals, $12,926,000
  • Lemons, $12,504,000
  • Leaf Lettuce, $9,611,000
  • Celery, $7,979,000
  • Bell peppers, $7,240,000
  • Rangeland grazed, $7,105,000
  • Cabbage, $6,227,000
  • Bok Choy, $4,708,000
  • Alfalfa Hay, $3,938,000

The strawberry industry remained strong in 2013 and was ranked in the second position with a total value of of over $210 million. Mild weather conditions and limited rainfall resulted in an increase of 13% in production for fresh market berries.

During 2013, the number of cattle grazing the drought parched hillsides was dramatically reduced. The continued dry conditions, lack of available grass for grazing, and the high cost of supplemental feed caused producers to sell off livestock. This will lead to long term effects as it will take producers several years to rebuild herds. Due to greater numbers of cattle going to market, the production for 2013 was valued at over $96 million, an increase of 39% compared to 2012. The total production for the animal sector was valued over $100 million, a 37% increase over 2012.

Fairly mild winter weather conditions during 2013 had a favorable effect on broccoli, lettuce, bok choy, cabbage and cauliflower production. Broccoli ranked fourth in value compared to all other commodities. Overall, the value for all vegetables combined increased 16% over 2012 to over $237 million. The demand for produce grown in San Luis Obispo County remained high and prices were strong due to poor growing conditions caused by the drought throughout the rest of the state.

Despite variable weather conditions, avocado yields were at near record levels, ranking them number five in value compared to all other crops in 2013. Total production for avocados increased by 79% over 2012. Prices also held strong resulting in a value of over $44 million.

The nursery industry remained relatively stable with an overall value of over $97 million. Cut flower production increased, resulting in a 3% increase in value for this nursery category overall. Field grown flower seed production was negatively impacted by the ongoing drought.

Settevendemie cautioned the Annual Report only represents commodity gross values and does not include the ever increasing costs of production, such as transportation, labor and fuel costs that affect profit margins. Also, reported values do not include multipliers related to secondary economic benefits to the community.

Drought conditions in 2013 also negatively affected field crops such as barley and grain hay resulting in less acres planted, decreased yields or planted fields left unharvested due to lack of growth. Overall the combined value of field crops was 34% below 2012 levels.

The annual report provides current and historical production and value statistics of the local agricultural industry. Annual Reports from 1968 through 2013 can be viewed at

For more information about the Annual Report contact Martin Settevendemie, Agricultural Commissioner, at (805) 781-5910. To request a hard copy when the printed copies are available in June contact the Ag Commissioner’s office in San Luis Obispo by calling (805) 781-5910.

Historical crop data slo county

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About the author: Publisher Scott Brennan

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog.