The California Almond Objective Measurement Report, published today by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service – Pacific Regional Office (NASS/PRO), estimates that the 2019 crop will be 2.20 billion pounds, down 3.5% from the 2018 crop production of 2.28 billion pounds. The California Almond Objective Measurement Report is the official industry crop estimate.
This year’s Objective Report projects an almond crop down 12% from the May 2019 California Almond Subjective Forecast of 2.5 billion pounds. The Objective Report collects data later in the growing season, closer to harvest, and is based on an actual count of nuts on the trees versus phone interviews with farmers, the method used for the Subjective Forecast.
According to the Objective Report, the average nut set per tree is 4,667, down 17.8% from the 2018 almond crop. The Nonpareil average nut set per tree is 4,429, down 10.1% from last year’s set. The average kernel weight for all varieties sampled was 1.54 grams, unchanged from the 2018 average weight.
“While the industry experienced less than ideal weather conditions this spring, California remains the best place in the world to grow almonds,” said Holly A. King, Kern County almond farmer and Chair of the Almond Board of California (ABC) Board of Directors. “As leaders in California agriculture and producers of 82 percent of the world’s almonds, we have made a public commitment to grow almonds in better, safer and healthier ways, protecting our communities and the environment. We feel a great sense of obligation to responsibly produce a healthy food accessible to people around the world.”
Last year, the Almond Board of California’s Board of Directors announced the Almond Orchard 2025 Goals to focus on areas that define the California almond industry’s journey towards continuous improvement and commitment to sustainability.
The amount of almond coproducts – hulls, shells and woody biomass – correlates with crop size, and the California almond industry is more committed than ever to finding new uses for these valuable products. In fact, achieving zero waste in California almond orchards by putting everything the industry grows to optimal use is one of the four goals established by the Board of Directors. The Almond Board is committed to finding high-value uses for almond coproducts that support California by creating a genuine bioeconomy where every coproduct is an input for another valuable product. ABC will continue to fund research to investigate how components of almond hulls and shells can be transformed to provide increased value for farmers as well as other industries such as food, pharmaceuticals and automotive.
“California almond farmers produce the vast majority of the world’s almonds, and for every pound of kernels there are nearly three pounds of hulls and shells. With size comes great responsibility and the resources to continue to meet steadily growing demand for almonds and fund research into ways to grow almonds more sustainably,” said Richard Waycott, ABC president and CEO. “Our vision is to make life better by what we grow and how we grow.”
Since 1973, almond farmers and processors have invested $80 million in research through the Almond Board. These funds have propelled the industry to make significant advancements in the areas of water, nutrient management, air quality, honey bee health and more, increasing farming efficiencies while minimizing environmental impacts.
To determine tree set, nuts are counted along a path within a randomly selected tree. Work begins at the trunk and progresses to the end of the terminal branch. Using a random number table, one branch is selected at each forking to continue the path. A branch’s probability of selection is directly proportional to its cross-sectional area. This methodology is used because of its statistical efficiency. The method also makes it possible to end up at any one of the tree’s numerous terminal branches.
Since the selected path has a probability of selection associated with it, this probability is used to expand nut counts arriving at an estimated set for the entire tree.
Along intermediate stages (i.e., the bearing surface between forkings), every fifth nut is picked. All nuts on the terminal branch are picked. These nuts are used to determine size and weight measurements.
FIELD SAMPLING ACTIVITIES
The survey began May 30 and sampling was completed by June 27. There were 1,634 trees sampled for the 2019 survey in 817 orchards. Additional orchards were not sampled for one of the following reasons:
1) Orchard had been sprayed.
2) Orchard had been recently irrigated and was wet.
3) Orchard had been pulled.
4) Grower would not grant permission or could not be contacted.
The Objective Measurement Survey is funded by the Almond Board of California.
The 80 percent confidence interval is from 2,050 million meat pounds to 2,350 million meat pounds. This means that the results of our sampling procedures will encompass the true mean 80 percent of the time.