The initial forecast for the 2008 California almond production is 1.46 billion pounds.

This is 6 percent above last year's revised production of 1.38 billion pounds. Estimated bearing acreage for 2008 is 660,000.

This forecast is based on a telephone survey conducted April 23-May 2 from a sample of almond growers. Of the 470 growers sampled, 251 reported.

Acreage from these reports accounted for 18 percent of the total bearing acreage.

After a near perfect bloom, the 2008 California almond set looks strong.

This year’s bloom arrived three weeks later than normal and progressed quickly; it lasted only 10 days as opposed to the average three weeks.

Overlapping bloom between varieties was outstanding this year, resulting in good cross-pollination, and there was an adequate supply of bees to pollinate the crop. The set of the Nonpareil variety is down slightly, but the set is up in other varieties.