There’s an upside to the low almond prices, says Mike Kelley, president and CEO of the Central California Almond Growers Association at Kerman.

“Shipments have been phenomenal because almond prices have been so low,” he says. “However, prices have found the bottom and in some cases have rebounded marginally, up 10 to 15 cents a pound from recent lows.”

He looks for California’s 2009 almond production to be down from last year. An early freeze in some areas; the continuing drought; what appears to have been a limited pollination period; and the previous three years of high yields all have contributed to what he expects to be a smaller crop.

“This year’s crop won’t necessarily be a big one,” Kelley says. “But, it’s likely to be better than it appeared at the end of pollination in early March.”