The story seems to be the same statewide; Nonpareil almond yields are down.

This is prompting growers like Dan Cummings of Chico, Calif., to question the USDA/NASS crop estimate of 2.1 billion pounds.

Cummings, who grows 6,000 acres of almonds in the Sacramento Valley, believes the state crop will be closer to the 2011 crop total of 2.03 billion pounds.

Cummings told Tree Nut Farm Press his field run Nonpareils are down about 15 percent from last year. His meat yields have slipped, too.

“So, if the Nonpareil field tonnage for the industry, as a whole, is off 15 percent and meat yields are 10 percent lower, this year’s Nonpareil crop would be 183 million pounds less than in 2011,” he says. “That’s clearly bullish for almond prices. I don’t know if the pollenizers will be able to make up the difference needed for a 2.1 billion-pound crop.”

Read more of what Cummings had to say in the latest electronic Tree Nut Farm Press newsletter at westernfarmpress.com. There you will find a box to read the latest issue of the exclusive newsletter produced by Western Farm Press as well as an opportunity to sign up for the newsletter.

Walnut forecast

Third-generation Sacramento Valley walnut grower Jack Mariani told Tree Nut Farm Press he was hoping the NASS California walnut forecast of 470,000 tons would be larger.

“Most of the industry thought the forecast would be around 500,000 tons,” says Mariani, a partner in Mariani Nut Company. “We were a little surprised and a little disappointed.

Check out the latest issue of Tree Nut Farm Press to see why he is disappointed.

Pistachio crop biggest ever?

Kings County, Calif., pistachio growers Steve Couture and his brother, Chris, began harvesting their 2012 crop on Sept. 10. That’s later than usual for the fourth-generation family’s West Side 310-acre California Pistachio Orchards near Kettleman City, Calif.

The Coutures told Tree Nut Farm Press they like to start their organically-grown trees during the first two or three days of September to minimize the threat of navel orangeworm damage.

California’s pistachio growers are projected to harvest 550 million to 575 million pounds of nuts. That would be the biggest California crop ever. It compares to 2011, an off-year crop, when 448 million pounds of nuts were gathered. The 2010 crop totaled 528 million pounds.

Find out more about the Coutures’ crop at Tree Nut Farm Press.