California’s 2016 almond production is forecast at 2.05 billion meat pounds, up 2.5% from May’s initial subjective forecast and up 7.9% from last year’s crop.
The forecast is based on 900,000 bearing acres. Production for the popular Nonpareil variety is forecast at 780 million meat pounds, up 7.4% from last year’s deliveries. The Nonpareil variety represents 38% of California’s total almond production.
The 2016 California almond crop began bloom in mid-February, after the winter provided better chill hours than last year. Bloom conditions were good; bloom was reportedly fast and uniform.
Many areas are still in drought, although trees showed signs of recovery from the last few years of insufficient water. Precipitation this year was significantly better than in 2015.
The average nut set per tree is 6,159, up 4.9% from 2015. The Nonpareil average nut set of 5,583 is up 6.6% from last year’s set of 5,239. The average kernel weight for all varieties sampled was 1.48 grams, up 3.5% percent from last year. A total of 98.8% of all nuts sized were sound.
To determine tree set, nuts are counted along a path within a randomly selected tree. Work begins at the trunk and progresses to the end of the terminal branch. Using a random number table, one branch is selected at each forking to continue the path.
A branch’s probability of selection is directly proportional to its cross-sectional area. This methodology is used because of its statistical efficiency. The method also makes it possible to end up at any one of the tree’s numerous terminal branches.
Since the selected path has a probability of selection associated with it, this probability is used to expand nut counts arriving at an estimated set for the entire tree.
Along intermediate stages (i.e., the bearing surface between forkings), every fifth nut is picked. All nuts on the terminal branch are picked. These nuts are used to determine size and weight measurements.
The survey began May 23 and sampling was completed by June 23. There were 1,746 trees sampled for the 2016 survey in 873 orchards. Additional orchards were not sampled for one of the following reasons:
- Orchard had been sprayed.
- Orchard had been recently irrigated and was wet.
- Orchard had been pulled.
- Grower would not grant permission or could not be contacted
The 80% confidence interval is from 1,890 million meat pounds to 2,210 million meat pounds. This means that the results of USDA sampling procedures will encompass the true mean 80% of the time.
The Objective Measurement Survey is funded by the Almond Board of California.