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Walnut harvest Tim Hearden
Walnuts are harvested in an orchard near Red Bluff, Calif., in 2018.

Walnut yields expected to be lower in 2019

California production is forecast at 630,000 tons, down 6.8 percent from 2018.

California's walnut harvest this fall is expected to weigh in at 630,000 tons, down 6.8 percent from 2018's production of 676,000 tons, according to a National Agricultural Statistics Service objective measurement report.

The forecast is based on 365,000 bearing acres, up 4.3 percent from 2018's estimated bearing acreage of 350,000, according to the agency's office in Sacramento.

Weather is to blame for the lighter crop, as record amounts of winter and spring rainfall delayed the bloom for seven to 10 days, NASS observes. The late spring rains that hampered some other commodities provided cooler conditions which increased kernel size and helped walnut quality, but localized weather conditions have resulted in variable crop development around the state, according to the agency.

NASS' survey indicated an average nut set per tree of 983, down 16.4 percent from 2018's average of 1,176. However, nearly all of the sizing measurements came in above last year's levels.

To read the full report, click here.


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