This year’s California almond crop is forecasted to exceed 2 billion pounds, according to the California Almond Objective Measurement Report announced today by USDA-National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) — Pacific Regional Office.
Based on 1 million bearing acres, the objective forecast for the 2017 crop is 2.25 billion meat pounds. Almond Board of California funds the annual forecast administered by NASS.
Following the Subjective Forecast each year, the Objective Report is the second and final forecast of almond production, providing almond growers and handlers information about the projected harvest size to direct business decisions for the year.
“Almond trees thrive in our state because California is home to the world’s most efficient almond growers, who continually improve farming practices through research and innovation,” said Richard Waycott, ABC president and CEO, in response to the announcement. “It’s one of the few places on earth with a Mediterranean climate perfect for growing them, so it’s no wonder we’ve been successfully growing them here for over 150 years.”
NASS said the latest crop forecast is up 2.3% compared to the May subjective forecast of 2.2 billion pounds. The estimate is up 5.1% from the 2016 crop production of 2.14 billion meat pounds.
Many growers thought the Subjective Forecast was too low and didn’t jibe with what they were seeing on their trees. The Objective Report was right in line with what they had been expecting, so it came as a relief.
The average nut set per tree is 5,714, down 7.2% from the 2016 almond crop. However, the average nut set for ‘Nonpareil,’ the industry’s flagship variety, is 5,717, up 2.4% compared to last year’s set. ‘Nonpareil’ commands a price premium of 80 to 85 cents per pound over nearly all other almond varieties.
In addition, the average kernel weight for all varieties sampled was 1.57 grams, up 6.1% compared to the 2016 average weight of 1.48 grams.