Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Early almond bloom foretells excellent crop set

Fri, 2011-04-08 13:35
This year’s almond bloom in the central San Joaquin Valley was the latest and longest that Marvin Yotsuya, a PCA with Kerman Ag Resources at Kerman, Calif., has seen in his nearly four decade-long career.

“It was strung out and lasted about three weeks,” he says. Yotsuya made his comments in Tree Nut Farm Press, a twice monthly electronic newsletter published by Western Farm Press and sponsored online by Cheminova.

Yotsuya said early varieties — Avalon, Fritz and Sonora — have an “excellent percentage” of nut set, while the sets on Nonpareil, Wood Colony, Monterey, Carmel and Butte are good to excellent.”

Strong bee activity gets credit for the good set, despite some very cold weather.

You can read more of Yotsuya’s comments in a the most recent edition of Tree Nut Farm Press by going to

There you also will find comments from John Slaughter of Burchell Nursery about development on commercial self-pollinating Nonpareil and California varieties.

After 20 years of fruit-tree breeding and 15 years of working with almonds as director of Burchell Nursery’s breeding program, John Slaughter is edging closer to his goal of developing commercially viable self-fertile Nonpareil and California-type almond varieties.

“They’re the future of the industry,” says Slaughter, who is based at the company’s breeding program near Fresno. His work with almond and stone fruit takes him throughout the world to areas with climates similar to California.

Jack Gilbert’s walnut orchards near Wheatland, Calif., were still dormant. However, his Serrs are just starting to push out catkins.

“We’ve had about 6 inches of rain since early March and are ahead of normal for the year,” Gilbert says. “We’ve had this kind of weather before, so I’m not really worried at this point. The trees should be OK.”

Gilbert talks about what he is doing to control walnut blight in this rainy weather.

Gilbert also talks about using pheromone confusing to control coddling moth in the latest edition of Tree Nut Farm Press.

You can read more about what these California tree nut industry leaders have to say by visiting back issues of Tree Nut Farm Press at where you can also subscribe to future, exclusive in depth issues.

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R.L. “Pete” Turner CROP:

Walnut shipments continue setting records with March shipments reaching 37,269 inshell equivalent tons compared to 34,700 tons last March. This is 5,000 more than I have forecasted.

As usual, Turkey/UAR and China/Hong Kong continues to import California walnuts at a record pace. China leads year to date inshell imports with 97.5 million pounds compared 40.3 million pounds last year. Turkey/UAR has imported 66.4 million pounds of inshell, compared to 54.5 at this time last year.

Export shelled shipments have reached 107.9 million with domestic shipments at 104.9. Domestic shelled shipments are down 12.3 million pounds, but export shipments are up 13.5 million pounds. Combined, the total tonnage for shelled products is 212.8 million pounds, about 1.1 million ahead of last year.

Most packers continue to stay off the market because they are out of inventory, and some are off the market until they get farther into processing their shelling inventories. To my knowledge, no packer is off the market believing that the market will continue to strengthen.

It looks like the 2011 walnut crop has again been blessed with very favorable winter conditions as most growers believe their orchards have received significant “chill hours” as record rain fall for California have also been beneficial to the trees.

That being said, most of the major growers I talked with believe their 2011 crop will be down between 5-10%. Most believe the Harleys will be down at least 10,000 tons, as well as the chance that chandler will also be off from last year’s tonnage.

Thus, if you compensate for new bearing acres, this would put the up-coming crop around 480,000 tons. In any event, it is still too early to make any calculated estimate; however, we will have a better idea of the crop size when the packers issue their “subjective” estimate the later part of July.

The in-shell equivalent tonnage shipped to date is 383,375 tons, 45,647 tons ahead of last year shipments (337,728 tons). If this trend continues, we may have a carry-over of less than 40,000 tons.

California Walnut Shipments Recap (000)

Month (Jan.) 2009/10 Year to Date 2010/11 Year to Date Percent

In-shell (lbs.) 7,366 196,617 8,581 277,649 41.2%

Shelled (lbs.) 27,504 211,647 28,691 212,759 0.05%

Total Tons 34,797 337,728 37,269 383,375 13.5%


Inquiries continue to be active, but few trades due to depleted inventories. China came back for material right after the New Years holiday and Turkey buyers are still making their rounds at the packers trying to pick up addition material.

The market for Light Halves and Pieces are still in the $4.30 range with Combo material about $0.15 less. In shell Chandlers are about $2.00 with Tulare’s and Howard’s $0.05- $0.10 less. The last I heard, Jumbo/Large Hartley’s is about $1.75.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Kind regards,


Monday, April 11, 2011

AU: Macadamia production tipped to drop

The group representing Australian macadamia farmers says it is expecting production to drop up to 10 per cent this year. Australian Macadamia Society chief executive officer Jolyon Burnett says production has been low for the past three years because of weather extremes.

He says while the value of Australian macadamias is strong, the lower production is concerning. "We had hoped to see production of around 40,000 tonnes this year," he said. "We're now expecting around 35,000 tonnes, so that's a drop of about seven to 10 per cent and it's a bit of a worry."