Still, several factors could cast a shadow on the picture. For one thing, at this point in the season, no one knows how many pistachios will be available for the next marketing year, which begins Sept. 1. He’s heard guesses of 2013 crop ranging in size from smaller to larger than last year. Based on reports from his company’s growers, the crop now forming on the trees appears to be similar to, if not even a little larger, than last year, Zion says.

Meanwhile, processors are waiting to see how enactment of the Food Safety and Modernization Act will affect their operations. Also, any disruption in world trade channels could dampen American pistachio sales.

Then, there’s the low mountain snowpack and low rainfall this year that are causing significant cuts in surface water deliveries for irrigating orchards.

“The uncertain water situation is becoming a huge burden, not only on pistachio growers, but for all farmers in the state with permanent crops,” Zion says.

Other issues of concern for the industry this year include insect pressure as a result of the mild winter and early summer.

“Also, we have noticed the economic downturn in Europe and increasing signs of an economic slowdown in China, which could have adverse affects in these two important markets,” Zion says. “This just means we need to increase our efforts to promote American pistachios worldwide.

Right now, the world supply of pistachios – grown mainly in the U.S. Iran, Turkey, Syria, Afghanistan, and, increasingly, in Australia – exceeds 1 billion pounds. Zion expects that could double in the next decade, if not sooner.

“Our industry, which was once seen as small, has matured quite rapidly,” he says. “It’s been fun to see the growth we’ve achieved.”

This report is from Tree Nut Farm Press, a twice-monthly electronic newsletter published by Western Farm Press during the growing season. This edition was sponsored by DuPont Crop Protection. If you would like to receive Tree Nut Farm Press go to the Western Farm Press home page and sign up for it and other Farm Press electronic newsletters.


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