2014 contracted production of California processing tomatoes is forecast at a record high 14.0 million tons with 48.61 tons per acre average, according to a survey conducted by the Sacramento office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

The production forecast is 17.6 percent above last year’s crop; unchanged from NASS’ May forecast. The projected harvested acreage of tomatoes is 288,000 acres, a 12.5 percent increase from 2013.

Harvest began the last week of June in southern California growing areas and should finish up in the state by mid-October.

The record production comes despite the California drought which NASS says has had limited impact on tomato acreage. The primary issue affecting yield is the availability of water.

The extreme drought in California has forced growers to fallow land and cut back on acreage for many crops.

NASS says this year’s growing season included low disease and pest pressures.

The shipping reports, published by the Processing Tomato Advisory Board, suggest that shipments through August 23, 2014 are running 13.7 percent above the same time in 2013.