Wet winter boosts crop yields 17 percent

The gross production value of crops in Sonoma County last year increased 17 percent from 2015 due partly to the 20 inches of rain from December through March, according to the 2016 crop report.

Winegrapes, the county’s primary crop, increased in tonnage and price per ton.

Winegrape values overall increased by nearly $140 million, or 24 percent over 2015, Agricultural Commissioner Tony Linegar said in the report, which he will present to the Board of Supervisors Tuesday.

After the worst apple crop in recent history in 2015, the 2016 crop yield was much better and consumer demand for organic apple products continued. Organic apples comprise 85 percent of the county’s apple acres and apple values overall increased 46 percent from 2015.

Cattle prices dropped in 2015 and the value of livestock and poultry production decreased a modest 6 percent, Linegar said.

The value of eggs, milk and wool was down nearly 3 percent from 2015 thanks to depressed egg prices throughout the year.

The value of milk products increased because of the premium prices received for organic market and manufacturing milk. Eighty percent of Sonoma County dairies are now organic.

The total value of the county’s crops was $898.1 million compared to $766.2 million in 2015.

The report reflects only gross production values not net profit or loss by individual growers or the agriculture industry or production and marketing costs.