Almond growers in California have begun to harvest their crop, and this year it should be an impressive yield. Earlier this year, the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) — Pacific Regional Office issued a report forecasting the 2017 almond crop to reach 2.25 billion meat pounds. The forecast is administered annually by NASS and is funded by Almond Board of California (ABC).
This year’s crop is at a 5.1 percent increase over the 2016 crop production of 2.14 billion meat pounds. The average kernel weight for all varieties sampled in the report was up as well. Coming in at 1.57 grams, this was a 6.1 percent increase over the 2016 average kernel weight of 1.48 grams.
“This is in part due to sufficient rain, which created favorable growing conditions for the crop to flourish,” said Dr. Gabriele Ludwig, ABC’s Director of Sustainability and Environmental Affairs. “We also saw an uptick in overall almond acreage, further increasing production.”
Looking to Next Year
The almond harvest is underway, keeping growers preoccupied. At the same time, however, they should be looking forward to next year and the steps they can take to see repeated success.
“Harvest is almost complete, which means it is time to start thinking about next year’s crop,” said Dr. Ludwig. “Key topics to keep in mind now include irrigation, pollination and pest management.”
Ensuring post-harvest irrigation is done at the right time is critical for bloom and fruit set, which in turn will affect the potential yield.
“For growers hoping to better understand irrigation management, the Almond Irrigation Improvement Continuum is a good resource,” said Dr. Ludwig. By visiting almonds.com/irrigation, growers can find step-by-step explanations of irrigation management and scheduling practices.
This time of year, growers and beekeepers are establishing pollination contracts. One step in establishing these contracts is agreeing on a pesticide plan to determine which pest control materials will be used during bloom. More best management practices can be found at almonds.com/beeBMPs.
Lastly, growers should evaluate the effectiveness of their pest management plans and determine any additional steps they may need to take in preparation for next year. One problem growers may encounter during this time of the year are any mummy nuts that remain on trees.
Removal and destruction of infected nuts are key to combating navel orangeworm. If these practices are not effective, insecticide treatments are necessary for fighting the pest.
Growers and industry professionals interested in learning more about these topics are invited to attend The Almond Conference, held December 5-7 at the Sacramento Convention Center. Registration and hotel bookings are open now at AlmondConference.com.