California’s 2007 almond acreage is estimated at 740,000 acres, up 1 percent from the 2006 acreage of 730,000, according to USDA/NASS.

Of the total acreage for 2007, 615,000 acres were bearing and 125,000 acres were non-bearing. Preliminary bearing acreage for 2008 is estimated at 660,000 acres.

Nonpareil continued to be the leading variety, followed by Carmel and Butte. Butte, Nonpareil, Monterey, and Padre varieties showed significant acreage increases.

Kern, Merced, Stanislaus, and Fresno were the leading counties. These four counties had 64 percent of the total acreage, unchanged from the previous year.

Objectives

The California Field Office of the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) conducts an annual acreage survey of California almond growers. The purpose of this survey is to provide annual almond acreage with information on new plantings and removals. It is a continuation of a long series of industry funded almond acreage surveys.

Users are cautioned that this report consists of two parts:

– Estimated almond acreage — bearing, non-bearing, and total.

– Detailed data by variety, year planted, and county — as voluntarily reported by almond growers and maintained in the NASS data base.

With perfect information, the estimated almond acreage and the detailed data would be the same. However, differences exist for the following reasons:

– A voluntary survey of approximately 5,000 almond growers is unlikely to ever attain 100 percent completeness.

– It is difficult for USDA, NASS to detect growers that are planting almonds for the first time.

– The detailed data reflects tree removals from nearly 13,000 acres (mostly older trees) during the past twelve months. Of this number, a significant amount of acreage was harvested in 2007 prior to being pushed out, and that acreage has already been removed from the detailed data.

The major source of the almond detailed data was a questionnaire mailed to all almond growers included on the NASS database. The mailing was made in early October 2007. The questionnaire contained previously reported crop, variety, and acreage information preprinted. Producers were asked to update the information with new plantings, removals, and any other corrections; new growers were mailed a blank questionnaire. Growers were given six weeks to respond by mail. Telephone and field follow-up was then undertaken. Data collection ended in April 2008.

To arrive at the estimated almond acreage, the NASS almond acreage database was compared with pesticide application data maintained by County Agricultural Commissioners and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.