The objective forecast for California almonds has come down by 13 percent from the subjective forecast that was released in May. Estimates for the 2021 crop have been adjusted to 2.8 billion pounds, according to the California Almond Objective Measurement Report. The report reflects a decline of 10 percent compared to last year’s record crop of 3.12 billion pounds. The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service indicated that multiple factors influenced the drop in production estimates.
“I think the 2.8-billion-pound objective survey or estimate was more in-line with conventional wisdom that’s out there,” said Richard Waycott, President and CEO of the Almond Board of California (ABC). “I think the trees were ready for a little bit of a rest, number one. Number two, despite increased acreage, the deficit irrigation that’s going on out there – it has been, hot – and I think that that’s probably having some effect on kernel weight and that kind of thing. I think it’s probably a fair number.”
The report highlights California’s lack of water as having a significant impact on the lower objective forecast. Waycott noted that the subjective estimate of 3.2 billion pounds had “raised some eyebrows” when it was announced. The report indicates that the average nut set per tree is 4,619 and the average kernel weight for all varieties sampled was 1.46 grams.
Record Shipments Reflect Strong Demand for Almonds
Throughout the pandemic, demand for almonds has been strong. Position reports from ABC have shown that both international and domestic shipments have been moving at a tremendous pace. Exports and total shipments hit a yearly record approximately two months prior to the crop year’s end of July 31. As the industry heads into the 2021 crop year, market conditions appear favorable for producers despite carrying more inventory over from the previous year’s crop.
“Our shipments are well up this year over last year’s, more than 20 percent. We don’t see really any saturation of demand around the world,” Waycott explained. “And with the smaller estimate if that number is accurate, or close to it, then the overall supply will be very much in balance with demand.”
Listen to Waycott’s full interview below.