Nuts

Almonds: not quite as expected

October 5, 2023 at 8:40 AM , Der AUDITOR
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MADRID/SACRAMENTO. While almond suppliers in Spain are coming to terms with the fact that production has fallen short of expectations, growers and hullers are racing against time in California.

At least 30% lost in Spain

Suppliers have finally issued unofficial production estimates in Spain after it emerged that the excessive heat in spring and summer coupled with a lack of water have damaged large parts of the crop and impacted kernel sizes. Exporters urge buyers to be aware that it is difficult to supply big almonds. Although final numbers cannot be given at present, farmers state that they have at least lost 30% of their crop, which would amount to a crop size of 90,000 mt (198 million pounds) at the very most. This ties in with other estimates claiming that the crop is 30-50% smaller than the initial figure of 120,633 mt (266 million pounds) anticipated in July. Another aspect to consider is that many trees have sustained damages, which may impact production in 2024.

Disaster also struck last year as spring frosts coupled with heat and drought in summer caused production to slump by around 40% to just over 60,000 mt (132 million pounds). Judging by this, Spain’s 2022/2023 export season was an absolute success as the country manged to ship 133,887 mt (295 million pounds) of almonds to other countries, which is only 9% down on 2021/2022. France is the most important export destination, followed by Germany and Italy. Shipments to Poland and Portugal remained relatively flat, whereas the most noted slumps were witnessed in the Netherlands and Belgium. Monthly exports stood at 8,764 mt (19 million pounds) in July 2023, which is 15% down on the 10,290 mt (23 million pounds) shipped in July 2022.

Almond exports, Spain (in mt)

Destination

2021/22

2022/23

Diff

France

34,261

30,946

-9.7%

Germany

30,324

28,041

-7.6%

Italy

24,923

22,307

-10.5%

UK

6,230

5,662

-9.2%

Poland

4,686

4,715

0.6%

Portugal

4,752

4,714

-0.8%

Netherlands

5,001

4,252

-15.2%

Belgium

5,496

4,152

-24.5%

Turkey

2,744

2,889

5.3%

Switzerland

2,628

2,614

-0.6%

Others

26,066

23,595

-9.5%

Total

147,111

133,887

-9.0%

Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade, Spain, 01/08-31/07

Race against time in California

With harvesting running approximately fifteen days late challenges also prevail in California. Growers finished picking Nonpareil and Independence almonds in September, but operations are still in full swing for Aldrich, Carmel and Butte as well as Padre varieties as local suppliers report. Trouble is not only that the almonds are in different states of maturity, which makes is necessary for farmers to wait for the best time to shake the trees, but also the relatively high humidity levels. This extends drying and makes it difficult to stockpile the nuts as elevated moisture levels promote fungal growth. Quality and yields are also being controversially discussed, especially since the Navel Orange Worm (NOW) is causing considerable damage this year. Hullers are, in addition, reporting that yields range 20% or more lower than last year and growers are questioning official projections for this year’s crop, which is forecast at 2.6 billion pounds. As autumn is on its way weather conditions are already less than ideal for drying. The industry is fully aware that the longer it takes for the crop to be harvested and dried the more output and quality will suffer.

Fortunately, arrivals have started to pick up and shipments can feed on large carry-in stocks exceeding 800 million pounds. Although exporters were initially concerned about these volumes, they are currently drawing on them. Depending on delays, they may even continue to do so until November or December. The quotations for California SSR almonds have certainly risen in Spain in the last few days.

Almonds

Conventional

EUR/kg

USD/kg

Valencia, 12/14 mm, natural, Spain

3.70

3.86

Valencia, +14 mm, natural, Spain

4.40

4.59

Guara, 12/14 mm, natural, Spain

3.80

3.96

California, SSR, 27/30, USA

4.19

4.37

Carmel, SUP, 23/25.USA

4.64

4.84

FCA Spain

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

Attached Files

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price chart almonds natural California 27-30 SSR
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price chart almonds, natural, 12-14 mm, Valencia

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