2011 California almond production is forecast at a record 1.95 billion meat pounds, up 11 percent from May's subjective forecast and 19 percent above last year's crop, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

The forecast is based on 750,000 bearing acres, according to NASS’ 2011 California almond objective measurement report released July 6.

Production for the Nonpareil variety is forecast at 750 million meat pounds, 35 percent above last year’s deliveries. The Nonpareil variety represents 38 percent of California’s total almond production.

The average nut set per tree is 7,353, up 23 percent from 2010. The Nonpareil average nut set of 7,482 is up 34 percent from last year’s set.

The average kernel weight for all varieties sampled was 1.49 grams, 13 percent below last year. The Nonpareil average kernel weight was 1.60, down 15 percent from last year. A total of 98.7 percent of all nuts sized were sound.

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. Cold weather can affect bee activity but the bees came through this year setting an excellent crop.

Freezing temperatures affected the northern regions more heavily than the south, but frost damage was insignificant. 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 all 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.

The crop in general is said to be good with heavy sets noted on several varieties.

The NASS survey began June 6 and sampling was completed by June 25. There were

1,714 trees sampled for the 2011 survey in 857 orchards.