Nuts

Almonds: concerns about Australian almond blossom

March 21, 2024 at 2:57 PM , Der AUDITOR
Play report as audio

CANBERRA/SACRAMENTO. While the almond blossom in California has come to a positive conclusion, growers in Australia are already worried about whether the blossom period in August will be severely affected by the current restrictions. In addition, Australian almond shipments have been declining in recent months.

Varroa mites continue to cause problems

In Australia, the almond blossom doesn't start until August, but beekeepers have to start taking their colonies to the regions to be pollinated as early as March. Since 2022, bee colonies from New South Wales have only been allowed to be brought to certain zones due to a possible infestation with varroa mites, although the Australian state is home to 45% of the native honey bee population. Bees from New South Wales have been regularly used for pollination in South Australia and Victoria, the latter contributing 60% of Australia's almond production. Australian almond production already experienced a drastic decline last year and growers are facing challenges again this year. To alleviate the situation, research is being conducted into long-term solutions such as alternative pollination strategies and improving biosecurity measures to protect bee populations. There is no quick fix.

Exports could reach record levels again

The Australian almond export season 2024/2025 has already begun and even though the data from the Almond Board of Australia currently only extends to January, it can be assumed that the 2023/2024 export season was one of the most successful to date. Between March 2023 and January 2024, 125,765 mt of shelled and unshelled almonds were shipped domestically and overseas, an increase of 3% compared to the same period last year. In the 2022/2023 season, Australian almond exports reached a record high of 105,263 mt and one month before the end of the season, the export volume for 2023/2024 was already at 103,244 mt. Exports should therefore at least have the potential to exceed last year's result once again, whereas the weaker domestic deliveries in recent years could ensure that the overall result is only at a similar level to the previous year (domestic and overseas shipments 2022/2023: 129,479 mt). China remains the main customer despite a 34% decline in shipments to 32,962 mt, followed by India (+110% to 18,336 mt), Vietnam (+53% to 11,798 mt) and Turkey (+113% to 10,639 mt). Spain (+34% to 10,226 mt) and Germany (+10% to 3,708 mt) did not make it into the top 5 main buyers this time. Domestic shipments remained almost unchanged at 22,521 mt.

After a strong start to the new season, exports in the following months were often lower than in the same period last year and shipments in January also fell by 25% year-on-year to 5,350 mt. Despite a 32% decline to 1,207 mt, deliveries to the domestic market were still the largest part, followed by Turkey (+1% to 646 mt), Spain (-42% to 623 mt), India (+9% to 598 mt) and the USA (+263% to 555 mt). Shipments to Germany rose by as much as 76% to 225%.

Almond* exports and domestic demand, Australia, in mt

Country

2022/23

2023/24

Diff.

China

49,997

32,962

-34.1%

Australia

22,492

22,521

0.1%

India

8,716

18,336

110.4%

Vietnam

7,702

11,798

53.2%

Turkey

4,986

10,639

113.4%

Spain

7,610

10,226

34.4%

Germany

3,362

3,708

10.3%

USA

2,485

3,374

35.8%

UAE

3,431

2,148

-37.4%

Netherlands

1,514

1,435

-5.2%

Others

10,249

8,630

-15.8%

Total

122,544

125,777

2.6%

Almond Board of Australia; Mar-Jan

*shelled and unshelled

Positive flowering period in the USA

The US almond blossom, however, came to a largely positive conclusion, despite occasional rainfall and strong winds, according to the experts from Blue Diamond Almonds in their latest report. The conditions during the flowering period were favourable and the pollination phase was also sufficient, creating good conditions for the 2024 crop. Nevertheless, the coming months until the harvest could put a damper on yields in the event of unfavourable weather conditions or pest infestation. The US Department of Agriculture will announce its subjective estimate in May.

The prices for US almonds have been lowered somewhat in recent weeks; traders and exporters want to carry as little carry-over stocks as possible into the new season in order to avoid price pressure from this side.

View more
price chart, almonds, natural, +14, Valencia
price chart, almonds, natural 13/14, Largueta
price chart, almonds, blanched, 27/30, California SSR
more price charts

View related articles

Go to the News Overview
Nuts
Jul 18, 2024
BRUSSELS/ORDU. Given that prices have surged this season it is quite remarkable that EU imports have risen for hazelnuts in the first six months of the year. Suspense is palpable in Turkey with the TMO and Ferrero expected to take decisive action very soon. Offers for the new crop are circulating.
Nuts
Jul 17, 2024
HANOI/NEW DELHI. Vietnam's exports in the first half of 2024 are quite impressive, and many destination countries have increased their purchase volumes. Meanwhile, prices in India remain stable.
Nuts
Jul 16, 2024
SACRAMENTO. Opinions may be contradicting but June was a very strong month for US almonds. With the season in its final stages concerns are being voiced over remaining supplies and the state of the new crop.
Nuts
Jul 15, 2024
NEW DELHI/BUENOS AIRES. In India, peanut prices continue to fall with the prospect of a good crop. Demand in Argentina is good, while Brazil is struggling badly. In the USA, the weather will prove decisive.