The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is predicting an increase in the California almond crop. The USDA-NASS 2021 California Almond Subjective Forecast estimates California almond orchards will produce 3.2 billion pounds of nuts this year, up 3 percent from last year’s 3.12 billion-pound crop. Forecasted yield is expected to reach 2,410 pounds per acre, 3 percent lower than the 2020 yield of 2,490 per acre.i
This forecast comes about three weeks after USDA-NASS released the 2020 California Almond Acreage Report, which estimated total almond acreage for 2020 at 1.6 million acres, up 5.3 percent from 2019. Bearing acres – orchards mature enough to produce a crop – were reported at 1.25 million acres, up 5.9 percent from the previous year. USDA-NASS also estimated preliminary bearing acreage for 2021 at 1.33 million acres.ii
“What we’re seeing with this report is a forecasted continuance of high yields,” said Richard Waycott, president and CEO of the Almond Board of California (ABC). “Water availability will be the principal concern on growers’ minds as they continue to grow this crop. We look forward to the outcome of the Objective Report to see if it corroborates this estimate.”
The first of two production reports for the upcoming crop year, the Subjective Forecast is based on opinions from a phone survey of randomly selected almond growers located throughout the state. It was conducted from April 19 to May 6. USDA-NASS asks individual growers their total almond yield per acre from last year and their expected yield for the current year based on field observations.
The sample of growers interviewed is grouped by size of operation, and different people are surveyed each year to ensure grower representation throughout the Central Valley. USDA-NASS combines all the yield estimates and extrapolates the numbers reported in the Subjective Forecast.
In July, USDA-NASS will release its second production estimate, the 2021 California Almond Objective Report. While the Subjective Forecast provides an initial 2021/2022 crop estimate, the Objective Report will provide an estimate based on actual almond counts using a more statistically rigorous methodology to determine yield.
The 2021 California Almond Objective Report will be released on Monday, July 12, at 9:00 a.m. PT. USDA-NASS produces the Objective Report, the Subjective Forecast and the Acreage Report to provide the California almond industry with the data needed to make informed business decisions, and thanks all farm operators, owners and management entities for their time in providing the information necessary to create these reports.