The latest almond production projection from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) forecasts three billion meat pounds for California producers. The California Almond Objective Measurement Report estimates that the 2020 crop will be up 18 percent over last year. The forecast is based on 1.26 million bearing acres in the state.
“This year’s crop is proof that California is the perfect place to grow almonds,” Chair of the Almond Board of California (ABC) Board of Directors Holly A. King said in a press release. “Perfect weather during bloom, coupled with the steps almond growers have taken to ensure our orchards provide a healthy environment for honey bees and other pollinators, resulted in the abundant crop we are seeing on the trees up and down the Central Valley.”
The latest report is unchanged from the subjective report that was released back in May. The average nut set per tree is expected to increase 21 percent from last year to 5,645. Production from the Nonpareil variety is projected to be 1.3 billion meat pounds, with an average nut set of 5,621; an increase of 27 percent over 2019. The Nonpareil average kernel weight was two percent lower from last year, with average kernel weight for all varieties also declining two percent from last year to 1.6 grams. A total of 98.5 percent of all the nuts that were sized were considered to be sound.
The weather conditions throughout February help to provide for a strong bloom period this year, creating ample opportunity for pollination. There were some reports of damaged trees in mid-Spring related to heavy limbs breaking from windy conditions. The early summer conditions have provided assistance in crop development through the final stages.
Almond production surveys began May 26 and concluded on June 26, after 1,818 trees were sampled in 909 orchards. Last year, ABC’s Board of Directors approved an updated method for sampling to improve the accuracy of USDA-NASS’s reporting. The new protocols for the Objective Report include sampling from more orchards and providing nut counts for two branches per tree. Figures for weight, size, and grade of the average almond sample are now broken down by growing region instead of the growing district.