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Paramount Farms predicts 16 percent smaller California pistachio cropParamount Farms predicts 16 percent smaller California pistachio crop

Paramount Farms predicts the 2013 California pistachio crop will be 16 percent lower at about 460 million pounds, about 90 million pounds less than an industry estimate of about 550 million pounds.

October 2, 2013

2 Min Read

(Paramount Farms)

Paramount Farms predicts the 2013 California pistachio crop will be 16 percent lower than a previous industry estimate.

Paramount Farms estimates a 460-million-pound statewide pistachio crop, about 90 million pounds less than an industry estimate of about 550 million pounds.

The official crop total will be announced in November.

Based in Lost Hills, Calif., Paramount Farms is a large vertically integrated pistachio and almond grower and processor which represents more than 60 percent of the California pistachio market.

“Going into harvest, our trees had set a good-looking crop,” said Andy Anzaldo, Paramount Farms’ general manager of grower relations. “But we were concerned about the higher than average amount of 100-plus degree temperatures we experienced in the summer months and how that may impact nut development.”

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Anzaldo added, “Now that we’re about 95 percent complete with harvest, we have confirmed a higher than expected instance of blanking – meaning empty shells without nuts inside.”

California’s Central Valley – the state’s largest growing region for nuts – experienced above average temperatures in June and July; the period when pistachio nut fill begins. Heat stress during this phase can lead to blanks (empty shells).

After nut fill completed in August, local growers expressed immediate concern since blank percentages ranged from 25-40 percent compared to an average range of 10-15 percent.

The same heat spell is what many also believe impacted this year’s almond production resulting in smaller almond sizes.

Now that many in the industry recognize the crop could be 16 percent lower, focus is directed to the potential 2014 crop volume.

Three factors that will be indicative of the 2014 crop include:

1 – About 12,000 more acres of pistachios will have matured and enter commercial production.

2 – About 55,000 acres of 6-8 year-old trees which will be one year older will have higher yield potential.

3 - An overall expectation of an industry “on” bearing year, where most of the fully mature acres throughout the state would concurrently experience more typical higher yields.

With these considerations, the realistic range for the 2014 pistachio crop is 600-700 million pounds, though potential water shortages and climate volatility make supply forecasting difficult.

“Regardless of the ultimate 2014 crop size, Paramount’s goal this year is to market stable prices and supply of pistachios in 2013-2014 and over the next alternate bearing cycle in 2014/15,” Anzaldo said.

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