The California almond crop is on pace for another record-breaking year, according to figures the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). The government agency released its 2019 California Almond Subjective Forecast, which indicates a yield of 2.5 billion pounds of nuts for an increase of 8.69% above last year’s 2.3 billion-pound crop.
Thanks to more favorable growing conditions, this is the second year in a row where crop estimates show an increase in production.
The 2019 California Almond Subjective Forecast comes about two weeks after NASS released the 2018 California Almond Acreage Report, which estimates total almond acres for 2018 were up 2% from 2017 at 1.39 million acres. Bearing acres were reported at 1.09 million, up 6% from the previous year. Looking ahead, NASS reported preliminary bearing acreage for 2019 at 1.17 million acres, up 7.3% from 2018.
The Subjective Forecast is based on opinions obtained from randomly selected almond growers located throughout the state via a phone survey conducted in April and May. NASS asked growers to indicate their total almond yield per acre from last year and expected yield for the current year based on field observations. The sample of growers interviewed is grouped by size of operation. Different individuals are interviewed each year, allowing all growers to be represented. NASS then combines the yield estimates obtained from each grower and extrapolates the information to arrive at the numbers reported in the Subjective Forecast.
While the Subjective Forecast provides early estimates of the upcoming crop after it is set, NASS’s 2019 California Almond Objective Report will provide a more precise estimate as it uses a more statistically rigorous methodology to determine yield. The report’s data is based on actual almond counts and measurements gathered from over 850 orchards throughout the state and includes the weight, size and grade of the average almond sample broken down by both growing district and variety.
The California Almond Objective Report is scheduled to be released in early July.