The California almond industry could regain '2 Billion Pound Club' status this year after a three-year production hiatus.
The National Agricultural Statistics Service’s (NASS) 2016 initial subjective forecast pegs California almond production at 2.0 billion pounds; about 5.8 percent above last year's 1.89 billion pound crop.
The almond industry previously achieved the 2 billion pound mark in 2013 and 2011.
NASS believes 2016 almond yields could average 2,200 pounds per acre; a 4.7 percent increase from last year’s 2,120 pounds per acre.
The government agency believes 2016 almond bearing acreage totals 900,000 acres.
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NASS’ forecast is based on a April 14 – May 5 telephone survey of a sample of almond growers. Acreage from these reports accounted for 27 percent of the total bearing acreage in the Golden State.
NASS says this year’s almond bloom began in mid-February - a little later than usual. The bloom period was short but fairly uniform with overall good weather conditions.
Some growers reported concerns about sufficient cross pollination. After bloom, heavy winds accelerated nut drop, due to breaking limbs in younger trees with heavy sets.
NASS says water appears less of a concern for some growers this year; noting that California remains in a drought.