CA Almond Acreage Increases Again

Taylor Hillman Specialty Crops, Tree, nut & vine crops

Almond trees during bloom
The 2015 California Almond Acreage Report showed a six percent increase over 2014 and forecasts a large number of bearing acres for 2016.

From the California Department of Food and Agriculture Cooperating with the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, Pacific Regional Office

California’s 2015 almond acreage is estimated at 1,110,000 acres, up 6 percent from the 2014 revised acreage of 1,050,000. Of the total acreage for 2015, 890,000 acres were bearing and 220,000 acres were non-bearing. Preliminary bearing acreage for 2016 was estimated at 900,000 acres.

Nonpareil continued to be the leading variety, followed by Monterey, Butte, Carmel, and Padre.

Kern, Fresno, Stanislaus, Merced and Madera were the leading counties. These five counties had 73 percent of the total bearing acreage.

The Pacific Regional Office of the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) conducts an annual acreage survey of California almond growers. The purpose of this survey is to provide annual almond acreage with information on new plantings and removals. It is a continuation of a long series of industry funded almond acreage surveys.

This report consists of two parts:
·Estimated almond acreage — bearing, non-bearing, and total.
·Detailed data by variety, year planted, and county — as voluntarily reported by almond growers and maintained in the NASS data base.

With perfect information, the estimated almond acreage and the detailed data would be the same. However, differences exist for the following reasons:
·A voluntary survey of approximately 6,000 almond growers is unlikely to ever attain 100 percent completeness.
·It is difficult for USDA, NASS to detect growers that are planting almonds for the first time.

The detailed data reflects tree removals from over 45,000 acres during the past twelve months. Of this number, a significant amount of acreage was harvested in 2015 prior to being pushed out, and that acreage has already been removed from the detailed data.

The major source of the almond detailed data was a questionnaire mailed to all almond growers included on the NASS data base. The mailing was made in early November 2015. The questionnaire contained previously reported crop, variety, and acreage information preprinted. Producers were asked to update the information with new plantings, removals, and any other corrections; new growers were mailed a blank questionnaire. Growers were given six weeks to respond by mail. Telephone and field follow-up was then undertaken. Data collection ended in April 2016.

To arrive at the estimated almond acreage, the NASS almond acreage data base was compared with pesticide application data maintained by County Agricultural Commissioners and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. In addition, NASS looked at data collected on the Almond Nursery Sales Report.