This forecast is based on the 2015 Walnut Objective Measurement (O.M.) Survey, officially conducted by the National Agricultural Statistics Service from August 1 through August 29, 2015. There were a few samples completed before August 1 for training and scheduling purposes.
Despite a lack of chilling hours and a drought that continued to impact California, the 2015 walnut crop forecast is at a record level. Relatively mild summer temperatures have benefitted the crop. Growers used surface water where available and groundwater when necessary to provide adequate water supply to the trees. Crop quality is reported to be excellent with low disease and insect pressures.
The 2015 Walnut O.M. Survey utilized a total of 745 blocks with two sample trees per block. Survey data indicated an average nut set of 1,272 per tree, down 7 percent from 2014’s average of 1,372. Percent of sound kernels in-shell was 98.5 percent statewide. In-shell weight per nut was 22.7 grams and the average in-shell width suture measurement was 32.8 millimeters. The in-shell cross-width measurement was 32.8 millimeters and the average length in-shell was 38.5 millimeters. All of the sizing measurements were above previous year.
Estimated nut sets, sizing measurements, average number of trees per acre, and estimated bearing acreage were used in the statistical models.