The 2010 California walnut production is forecast at a record 510,000 short tons, up 17 percent from the 2009 production of 437,000 tons. 

The forecast is based on the 2010 Walnut Objective Measurement Survey conducted from Aug. 1-26 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

Survey data indicated an average nut set of 1,690 per tree, up 11 percent from the 2009 average of 1,523.  Percent of sound kernels in-shell was 97.8 percent statewide.

The in-shell weight per nut was 21.3 grams. The average in-shell suture measurement was 32.1 millimeters. The in-shell cross-width measurement was 32.1. The average length in-shell was 38.5 millimeters.

NASS says adequate chilling hours, above average rainfall, and a generally mild summer benefitted the 2010 walnut crop. This year’s above-average rainfall helped replenish groundwater supplies and helped trees build more vigorous root systems. 

“This has been an excellent growing year – a nice wet winter and trees were strong and healthy,” said Jack Mariani, member, California Walnut Board. “This estimated record crop along with the shortest carry-ins on record and vigorous consumer demand will help grow the industry.”

Harvesting is expected to start a little later than normal due to cooler than average summer temperatures.

The 2010 Walnut O.M. Survey utilized a total of 716 blocks with two sample trees per block. 

California farmers grow 99 percent of the U.S. commercial walnut production and three-fourths of world production.

The California walnut industry includes over 4,000 growers and over 60 handlers. Growers and handlers are represented by two entities, the California Walnut Board and the California Walnut Commission.