The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is forecasting another record almond crop for California. The 2021 California Almond Subjective Forecast estimates a three percent increase from last year’s 3.12-billion-pound crop. According to USDA-NASS, California growers could be looking at a 2021 crop of 3.2 billion pounds. If that number comes to fruition, it would be the largest almond crop on record.
“What we’re seeing with this report is a forecasted continuance of high yields,” President and CEO of the Almond Board of California (ABC) Richard Waycott said in a press release. “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 Objective Report to see if it corroborates this estimate.”
The subjective forecast is based on a telephone survey of 500 California growers between April 19 and May 6. Despite a few instances of rain, wind, and hail towards the end of the bloom period, overall bloom conditions were favorable for growers. Temperatures were mild to warm with trees hitting peak bloom between late February and early March. Growers also reported good pollination activity, with excellent growing conditions recorded in April. The second production estimate from USDA-NASS is expected sometime in July.
While expectations are for an overall record almond crop, the forecasted yield per acre has declined by three percent from last year to 2,410 pounds per acre. The announcement from USDA-NASS comes on the heels of the release of the 2020 California Almond Acreage Report. Figures from that report show an estimated total of 1.6 million acres of almonds, with 1.25 million being bearing. The forecast for 2021 bearing acreage is a record high of 1.33 million. Over the past decade, California almond production has nearly doubled. Bearing acreage also experienced similar growth over the same period.