MAY 5, 2011
The initial subjective forecast for the 2011 California almond production is 1.75 billion pounds. This is 6 percent above last year's production of 1.65 billion pounds. Estimated bearing acreage for 2011 is 750 thousand. This forecast is based on a telephone survey conducted April 21 - May 2 from a sample of almond growers. Of the 486 growers sampled, 375 reported. Acreage from these reports accounted for 27 percent of the total bearing acreage.
After a good winter with excellent chilling hours, the 2011 almond crop bloom began. A cold spring lengthened the bloom, causing more overlap between varieties. Cold weather can affect bee activity, but pollination was successful this year and California almond trees set a good crop. Freezing temperatures this spring did affect the northern regions more than the south, but frost damage was not significant. Older plantings suffered some damage from the strong winds that accompanied the spring storms, but overall damage was minimal. Spotty damage from hail was also noted. Low disease and insect pressure have been reported and, with all the precipitation California has seen this winter, lack of water for irrigation is not the problem it was a few years ago. Normal levels of shed have been reported. The crop in general is reported to be good with heavy sets noted on several varieties.
Results of the subjective survey are based on opinions obtained from growers. The sample of growers changes from year to year and is grouped by size of operation, so all growers will be represented. Each selected grower is asked to indicate their almond yield per acre from last year and expected yield for the current year.
A special thanks goes to the many almond farm operators and owners who provided information on their operations. The support was outstanding and we appreciate the time they spent completing telephone interviews.