The National Agricultural Statistics Service’s (NASS) latest 2013 California almond production estimate is for 1.85 billion meat pounds, down 7.5 percent from May's subjective forecast and 2 percent below last year’s crop.

NASS’ updated forecast – the almond objective management report - is based on 810,000 bearing acres. 

Production of the Nonpareil variety is forecast at 650,000,000 meat pounds or 4 percent less than last year’s deliveries. Nonpareil represents 35 percent of California’s total almond production.

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NASS pegs the lower crop estimate on several reasons.

After a cold winter, the 2013 almond crop started two weeks later than normal. Bloom was strong and fast which shortened the overlap and pollination time. 

High winds in early April knocked nuts and branches off trees and knocked down some trees.  The Nonpareil drop was reportedly heavy. 

Despite the late bloom, harvest is expected to start earlier than normal this year. Mite pressure has been high. 

Water is a concern for San Joaquin Valley almond growers this year. Rainfall was very low and water allotments have been reduced.

According to NASS’ latest report, the average nut set per tree is 6,686, down 5 percent from 2012. The Nonpareil average nut set of 6,141 is 7 percent less than last year.

The average kernel weight for all varieties sampled was 1.36 grams, the lowest average kernel weight in 40 years. The Nonpareil average kernel weight was 1.48, the lowest average kernel weight for Nonpareils. 

A total of 98.9 percent of all nuts sized were sound.

The objective measurement survey is funded by the Almond Board of California.

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