The subjective (initial) forecast for 2009 California almond production is 1.45 billion pounds (shelled), 9.7 percent below the 2008 revised production of 1.6 billion pounds.

The forecast released on May 8, by the California field office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) estimates 2009 bearing acreage at 710,000 acres.

The forecast results are based on a NASS telephone survey conducted April 23 to May 5 with 275 almond growers representing 23 percent of the total bearing acreage.

NASS says the 2009 almond set looks good. Bloom progressed slowly due to wet spring conditions which hampered pollination. Cool temperatures extended the almond bloom in parts of the Sacramento Valley.

The objective measurement survey, which uses sample almond counts to forecast the crop, is scheduled for release on June 30.