U.S. Department of Agriculture officials expect a record California almond crop this year, according to an annual forecast.
The official estimate predicts a total of 2 billion pounds of almonds, up nearly 6 percent from last year. The bumper crop is mainly attributable to an increase in almond acreage, rather than higher yield per tree.
Dani Lightle, Orchard Systems advisor for the University of California Extension for Glenn, Butte and Tehama Counties, said despite the larger supply, there’s been little downward pressure on prices.
“Almond prices are certainly not suffering quite the same way as walnut prices have,” Lightle said.
Growers were concerned early in the season as trees bloomed exceedingly quickly—possibly too quickly to be pollinated.
“It’s probably the fastest bloom that we’ve seen in 30 or 40 years,” he said.
Nevertheless, yields per tree and per acre in the Sacramento Valley are expected to come in near average.
“Most of our growers are on par or slightly above their production from last year, but most of the overall state increase is going to be a combination of the increased bearing acreage and the San Joaquin performing better,” Lightle said.
About 80 percent of the world’s almonds are grown in California.