Almond Crop Forecast Revised Downward
California’s 2013 almond production is forecast at 1.85 billion meat pounds, down 7.5% from May’s subjective forecast and 2% below last year’s crop. The forecast, released today by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, is based on 810,000 bearing acres. Production for the dominant Nonpareil variety is forecast at 650 million meat pounds, 4% below last year’s deliveries. The Nonpareil variety represents 35% of California’s total almond production.
After a very cold winter, the 2013 almond crop began bloom two weeks later than normal. Bloom was strong and fast, which shortened overlap and pollination time. High winds in early April knocked nuts and branches off trees, as well as knocking down some trees. Nonpareil drop was reportedly heavy.
Despite the late bloom, harvest is expected to start earlier than normal this year. Mite pressure has been high this year. Water has been a concern for growers in the San Joaquin Valley this year, as rainfall was very low after the first of the year and allotments have been reduced.
The average nut set per tree is 6,686, down 5% from 2012. The Nonpareil average nut set of 6,141 is down 7% from last year’s set. The average kernel weight for all varieties sampled was 1.36 grams, which is the lowest average kernel weight in 40 years. The Nonpareil average kernel weight was 1.48, the lowest average kernel weight for Nonpareils. A total of 98.9% 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 22 and sampling was completed by June 14. There were 1,766 trees sampled for the 2013 survey in 883 orchards. Additional orchards were not sampled for one of the following reasons:
1) Orchard had been sprayed.
2) Orchard had been recently irrigated and was wet.
3) Orchard had been pulled.
4) Grower would not grant permission or could not be contacted.
The Objective Measurement Survey is funded by the Almond Board of California.