All things considered, the latest almond forecast has “improved the outlook slightly” for area growers.
Holloway CEO Brian Maxted and Director of Agronomy Steve Lenander assessing a local almond orchard recently.
As Holloway’s agronomy team noted during orchard visits over the past week, almond trees in a number of Kern County customer orchards are looking strong despite frost and drought concerns this season.
Despite an optimistic outlook in the south Valley, the USDA is projecting the lowest yield for California almond growers since 2014 & 2015 (during a D4 drought).
Last week’s “subjective forecast”, released by the USDA, projects a state averages of 2,040 pounds per acre – 8% lower than the 2021 yield of 2,210 pounds per acre due to frost and water availability issues (largely in the northern part of the state).
Other takeaways from the USDA forecast:
- Forecast is 2.80 billion pounds – 4% below last year’s production of 2.92 billion pounds.
- Forecasted bearing acreage for 2022 is a record high of 1,370,000.
- Lack of water continues to be a top concern for almond growers.
- High fertilizer costs, fuel, rising water prices and the economic fundamentals “are not positive for ag this year,” as one grower put it.
Earlier in the year, Terra Nova predicted a 2.9B-pound production number, while Wonderful had predicted 2.54B.
So while production is expected to be down 170 pounds per acre from last season, according to the USDA’s latest figures, more acreage will lead to another 2.8B-plus-pound crop (third highest total), and could mean a glut of almonds will continue to weigh down prices. While market conditions remain uncertain with shipping bottlenecks slowing sales, nut maturity and May yield projections are looking positive for growers in the south Valley.
According to the Bakersfield Californian, one Delano-area almond grower noted “Kern County seems to have gotten through the recent frost mostly unscathed.” He added the situation appears to have hit Northern California almond growers harder.
For more mid-season analysis on this year’s almond crop, stay tuned for Holloway’s next episode of “From The Field” with CEO Brian Maxted, who catches up with Director of Agronomy Steve Lenander in a customer almond orchard in the Wasco area.
And as always, follow our social media sites for the latest news and updates from the field.