2011 California almond production is forecast at 1.75 billion pounds, according to the initial subjective forecast released by the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s (NASS) California Field Office.

This is 6 percent above last year's production of 1.65 billion pounds.

2011 estimated bearing acreage is 750,000 acres.

The forecast is based on a NASS telephone survey conducted from April 21 to May 2 with California 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, NASS reported.

Cold weather can affect bee activity but pollination was successful this year. California almond trees set a good crop.

Freezing temperatures this spring affected 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 the precipitation California has seen this winter, the lack of water for irrigation is not the problem it was a few years ago.

Normal levels of shed have been reported.