California almond orchards will produce 3.2 billion pounds of nuts this year, up 3% from last year’s 3.12 billion-pound crop, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).
Forecasted yield is expected to reach 2,410 pounds per acre, 3% lower than the 2020 yield of 2,490 per acre, which was second only to the 2,540 pounds-per-acre tally in 2011.
The California Almond Subjective Forecast follows by three weeks the USDA-NASS release of the 2020 California Almond Acreage Report, which had estimated total almond acreage for 2020 at 1.6 million acres, up 5.3% from 2019. Bearing acres were reported at 1.25 million acres, up 5.9% from the previous year. USDA-NASS also estimated preliminary bearing acreage for 2021 at 1.33 million acres.
“What we’re seeing with this report is a forecasted continuance of high yields,” Richard Waycott, President and CEO of the Almond Board of California (ABC), said. “Water availability will be the principal concern on growers’ minds as they continue to grow this crop. We look forward to the outcome of the (July 12) Objective Report to see if it corroborates this estimate.”
The first of two production reports for the upcoming crop year, the Subjective Forecast is based on opinions from a phone survey of randomly selected almond growers located throughout the state. It was conducted from April 19 to May 6. USDA-NASS asks individual growers their total almond yield per acre from last year and their expected yield for the current year based on field observations.
The sample of growers interviewed is grouped by size of operation, and different people are surveyed each year to ensure grower representation throughout the Central Valley. USDA-NASS combines all the yield estimates and extrapolates the numbers reported in the Subjective Forecast.
On July 12 USDA-NASS will release its second production estimate, the 2021 California Almond Objective Report. While the Subjective Forecast provides an initial 2021/2022 crop estimate, the Objective Report will provide an estimate based on actual almond counts using a more statistically rigorous methodology to determine yield.