Crop values increased 3.7 percent in 2018 compared to the year prior, with Sutter County experiencing its second-best year on record in terms of gross production value.

The Sutter County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office released figures for 2018 this week in its annual crop report. Overall values were $605,399,000 last year, up from $583,996,000 in 2017. 

“2017 saw historic weather, which caused a reduction in rice and tomato acreage. 2018 rice acreage returned to average,” said Lisa Herbert, Sutter County agricultural commissioner. “…Walnuts saw a large increase in bearing acreage (7,141 acres) but there were also increases in prune (1,077 acres) and clingstone peaches (1,687 acres).”

Most people familiar with the county’s landscape could guess that rice is, once again, the top crop – having been named number one 28 times over the last 30 years. The commodity had a total value of $171.5 million last year, which represents an increase from the year prior of $147.6 million. The increase was largely due to an additional approximately 20,000 acres harvested and slight increase in price per ton. 

The second leading crop was walnuts with a total value of nearly $86 million, which was a decrease of 34.1 percent from the year prior mainly due to a drop in price of nearly of nearly $1,000. 

In third were peaches with a total value of $59.8 million. The commodity rose from the county’s fifth leading crop to third largely due to increases in acres harvested, production per acre and price.

Prunes came in fourth place with a total value of $57 million. Rounding out the top five commodities were nursery products, which had a total value of $53.4 million – up 12.8 percent from the year prior.

Other notable crop values included tomatoes ($37.9 million), almonds ($33.2 million), sunflowers ($15.2 million), and alfalfa ($13 million).

“Growers faced many challenges with increases in regulatory requirements for employee safety standards and trainings,” Herbert said. “Pesticide Use Near Schools was new in 2018 requiring pesticide applications within a quarter mile of a school to be restricted from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. when school is in session. The Department of Pesticide Regulations placed strict permit conditions on the use of Chlorpyrifos, which greatly reduced its use. In 2019, Department of Pesticide Regulations announced it was acting to cancel it completely.”

Crops grown in Sutter County last year were exported to a total of 85 countries around the world. The countries that imported the most Sutter County goods included China, Germany, United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Australia. 

Sutter County’s total gross production value last year was the second highest. Only 2014 saw a more productive year with a total value of $726 million. 

To view the most recent Sutter County crop report, visit https://bit.ly/334cyf1.

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