Home   >   NEWS & VIEWS   >   News

  • Calif. almond yields to increase 6 percent in 2016, survey says

    May 17th, 2016

    Almond growers in California expect to produce a 2 billion pound crop this year, a nearly 6 percent increase from 2015, according to a government report.

    The National Agricultural Statistics Service cites a robust almond blossom in forecasting a yield of 2,220 pounds per acre, up 4.7 percent from the 2015 yield of 2,120 pounds per acre.

    The increase is expected even though some growers reported concerns about sufficient cross-pollination and though heavy winds after the bloom accelerated nut crop and caused limb breakage in some areas, the agency reported.

    Dani Lightle, the University of California Cooperative Extension’s orchard systems adviser in Orland, said the nut set in the middle Sacramento Valley has been spotty.

    “Some orchards look very strong and some are a little bit on the weak side,” she said. “I think it has to do with pollination and the flash bloom, whether the bees had a chance to get around or not.”

    Almonds are expected to be harvested from 900,000 bearing acres, up from last year’s 890,000 productive acres in 2015, according to NASS. Recently the agency reported that the more than 1.1 million overall acres planted in 2015 was 6 percent more than the previous year, even as about 45,000 acres of trees were removed from orchards.

    The prediction follows a quick and vibrant blossom in February and early March that industry insiders initially said was relatively trouble-free, although some reports later surfaced of beekeepers encountering losses of immature bee broods at the close of the bloom.

    Growers told NASS that water seems to be less of a concern than last year, although they realize California is still in a drought, the agency reported.

    The subjective production forecast was based on a telephone survey conducted from April 14 to May 5 from a sampling of almond growers, whose acreage accounted to 27 percent of the total bearing acreage, NASS reported.