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Almonds: yields are not fantastic

July 11, 2024 at 9:46 AM , Der AUDITOR
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SACRAMENTO. Production estimates stand 7% lower than in May in the USDA’s Objective Measurement Report issued on Wednesday. Although California is expecting the third largest crop on record, yields still leave a lot to be desired.

Less optimistic projections

While the subjective estimate issued in May forecasted a 21% rise in production to 3.00 billion pounds, the USDA’s Objective Measurement Report now estimates California’s 2024 crop at 2.80 billion pounds. Although the USDA has effectively revised the production estimate downwards by 7%, production is still expected to rise by 13% as compared with last year’s 2.47 billion pounds.

This reduction certainly does not come as a surprise for industry leaders. Reports have, in fact, abounded in recent months stating that the subjective estimate seemed highly optimistic and producers warning that pests may become an issue. Many farmers are struggling with high costs and the trees have not received the necessary care needed to prevent some pests from spreading.

Third largest production on record

The USDA does state that the wet and warm April weather did increase disease and pest pressure but paints a much less bleak picture. Bearing acres have, for instance, remained unchanged at 1.38 million acres. In addition, the crop benefitted from mainly favourable weather conditions in the crucial bloom period that started in mid-February and ended in mid-March and the dry and mild conditions witnessed in May also provided ideal conditions for the crop to grow. Expectation is that harvesting will be on schedule.

However, the summer turned hot in California with above-average temperatures. Multiple heat waves in June and July along with the current heat dome are requiring growers to irrigate more. Production will recover from the dips witnessed in the past two years with California set to witness the third largest crop on record. Larger crops were famously harvested in 2020 when production hit a record 3.11 billion pounds and in 2021 when production reached 2.93 billion pounds as USDA data shows. Yields may have also recovered by 13% on last year but are still comparatively low considering that they have ranged much higher in recent years, with the noted exception of last year when wet weather impacted the crop in the bloom period.

California almond acreage and production

Value

2023

2024

Diff.

Bearing acres

1,380,000

1,380,000

0.0%

Yield (lbs. per acre)

1,790

2,030

13.4%

Production (million lbs)

2,470

2,800

13.4%

Production (mt)

1,120,000

1,270,000

13.4%

USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, 10/07/24

Please note that this text was amended on 11 July as it wrongly claimed that yields dipped to a nine-year low due to an oversight.

 

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price chart, almonds. Mamra, Iran
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