California Almond crops projected to be down amid tough seasonal weather
Studies from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service have evaluated that the 2019 crop of Californian almonds, which are widely used in confectionery, will be 2.20 billion pounds, down 3.5% from the 2018 crop production of 2.28 billion pounds.
The California Almond Objective Measurement Report is the official industry crop survey, and represents a 12% decrease from the May 2019 California Almond Subjective Forecast of 2.5 billion pounds.
As the department of agriculture explained, the Objective Report collects data later in the growing season, closer to harvest, and is based on an actual count of nuts on the trees versus phone interviews with farmers, the method used for the Subjective Forecast.
According to the results of the report, the average nut set per tree is 4,667, down 17.8% from the 2018 almond crop. The Nonpareil average nut set per tree is 4,429, down 10.1% from last year’s set. The average kernel weight for all varieties sampled was 1.54 grams, unchanged from the 2018 average weight.
“While the industry experienced less than ideal weather conditions this spring, California remains the best place in the world to grow almonds,” said Holly A. King (pictured with Richard Waycott of the Almond Board at this year’s ISM), Kern County almond farmer and Chair of the Almond Board of California (ABC) Board of Directors.
“As leaders in California agriculture and producers of 82% of the world’s almonds, we have made a public commitment to grow almonds in better, safer and healthier ways, protecting our communities and the environment. We feel a great sense of obligation to responsibly produce a healthy food accessible to people around the world.”
Last year, the Almond Board of California’s Board of Directors announced the Almond Orchard 2025 Goals to focus on areas that define the California almond industry’s journey towards continuous improvement and commitment to sustainability.
The amount of almond coproducts – hulls, shells and woody biomass – correlates with crop size, and the California almond industry is more committed than ever to finding new uses for these valuable products. In fact, achieving zero waste in California almond orchards by putting everything the industry grows to optimal use is one of the four goals established by the Board of Directors.
The Almond Board is committed to finding high-value uses for almond coproducts that support California by creating a genuine bioeconomy where every coproduct is an input for another valuable product. ABC will continue to fund research to investigate how components of almond hulls and shells can be transformed to provide increased value for farmers as well as other industries such as food, pharmaceuticals and automotive.
“California almond farmers produce the vast majority of the world’s almonds, and for every pound of kernels there are nearly three pounds of hulls and shells. With size comes great responsibility and the resources to continue to meet steadily growing demand for almonds and fund research into ways to grow almonds more sustainably,” said Richard Waycott, ABC president and CEO. “Our vision is to make life better by what we grow and how we grow.”
Since 1973, almond farmers and processors have invested $80 million in research through the Almond Board. These funds have propelled the industry to make significant advancements in the areas of water, nutrient management, air quality, honey bee health and more, increasing farming efficiencies while minimising environmental impacts.