The first indication of California’s 2018 almond crop is out, and growers appear optimistic, despite a bloom time freeze that did considerable damage in some locations.
The subjective almond forecast, which is the opinion based on grower interviews by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, suggests almond production could be 2.3 billion pounds this year, slightly higher than last year’s record-setting 2.27 billion pounds of production. The figure is based on 1.07 million acres of bearing trees from Red Bluff to Arvin.
Estimated yields in the subjective estimate suggest a 5 percent drop to 2,150 pounds per acre.
The 2018 bloom began somewhat earlier than normal, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture report, with the period extended longer than normal because of cold temperatures. Weather conditions varied across the growing region, creating reduced bee flight hours in some cases.
Almond acreage continues to climb, setting a record in bearing acreage at over 1 million. This is double the bearing acreage seen in 2000.
The objective crop estimate, which is a statistical survey of trees in the state, is typically released in early July and will be the best estimate of what the 2018 crop will be.