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Bearing almond acreage drops slightly

It’s the first time in nearly 30 years that acreage hasn’t grown.

Farm Press Staff

April 30, 2024

2 Min Read
Almond harvest
Almonds are harvested near Arbuckle, Calif. Bearing acreage for this year's harvest will be down slightly from last year, according to an estimate.Tim Hearden

For the first time in some 30 years, bearing almond acreage in California decreased slightly in the last year as profitability and water availability have become issues for the industry.

Land IQ’s 2024 Standing Acreage Initial Estimate looked at bearing acreage – orchards planted before 2022 and that have matured enough to produce a crop for this year’s harvest. It estimated that bearing almond orchards at harvest will cover 1.373 million acreage in California, a decrease of about 600 acres.

The report was done for the Almond Board of California, which published the results.

Land IQ estimates that about 71,000 acres of orchards will be removed by the end of the crop year, adding to the 83,000 acres removed in 2023-24.

While the acreage drop is small, it marks the first time since at least 1996 that bearing acreage has not increased, according to National Agricultural Statistics Service numbers cited by the Almond Board. The orchard removals continue a trend over recent years of decreasing almond acreage in the Golden State.

“The decrease in bearing acreage and continued orchard removals, coupled with drops in overall acreage and non-bearing acreage the last two years, signal a probable trend toward lower overall California almond acreage,” Almond Board president and chief executive officer Clarice Turner said.

“We continue to see strong shipments this year, so we know global demand for California almonds continues to grow,” she said. “There is no doubt that almonds will continue to have a very significant role in California and global agriculture and food industries for the foreseeable future.”

The Land IQ report doesn’t offer an estimate of crop yields; the first look at those will come May 10 with NASS’ Subjective Estimate. NASS will follow that with an objective measurement of crop size in July. Land IQ will issue a final report on 2024 harvest acreage in November.

Source: Almond Board of California

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