(This outlook report was presented at the recent 29th annual Agribusiness Management Conference in Fresno, Calif., sponsored by the Center for Agricultural Business, California Agricultural Technology Institute and the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology at California State University Fresno.)

California's 2010 almond crop is forecasted to be a record 1.65 billion pounds, a 17 percent increase from the 2009 crop of 1.4 billion pounds.

The forecast is based on an estimated 740,000 bearing acres. Almonds rank as California's No. 1 tree nut crop with a production value of $2.3 billion last season.

The 2009-2010 crop year farm price was $1.65 per pound. Value per bearing acre was $3,185, with an average yield per acre of 1,960 pounds.

California's production is concentrated in Fresno, Kern, and Stanislaus counties (57 percent) with nonpareil continuing to be the leading variety.

Domestic markets account for 31 percent of total utilization with the rest shipped to more than 80 countries. Exports have increased 6 percent in the past year to a new record of 1.47 billion pounds. The top five export markets are Spain, China, Germany, India and the United Arab Emirates.

With an export value of $1.9 billion, almonds continue to be the top U.S. specialty crop export and the top export from California.

Almond demand currently appears to be doing well despite the lingering effects of the recession; and the outlook is strong for the 2010-2011 crop year.