The initial subjective forecast for 2012 California almond production is 2 billion pounds, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service Field Office in Sacramento, Calif.

This is 1.5 percent below last year’s record production of 2.03 billion pounds.

The forecast yield is 2,560 pounds/acre, down 4 percent from last year’s record of 2,670 pounds/acre.

The 2012 forecasted bearing acreage is 780,000.

This forecast is based on a telephone survey conducted April19through May 1 from a sample of almond growers.Of the 458 growers sampled, 283 reported.Acreage from these reports accounted for 27 percent of the total bearing acreage.

The 2012 almond crop is shaping up nicely, NASS reports.

February was warm and dry across the state creating favorable bloom conditions for almond trees.While the bloom period was shorter than last year, the excellent weather made up for the shorter overlap and bloom load was high.

Chilling hours were plentiful.

An early March frost resulted in some spotty damage in the southern San Joaquin Valley (SJV). An early April hailstorm affected orchards in Merced County.

Weather in the Sacramento Valley has been near ideal.A heavier than normal drop was reported in the SJV. Low disease and insect pressure were reported.