Market info - Californian almonds
Almond production in California is, expected to hit another record this year and may even reach 1.45 million mt (3.20 billion pounds). That is if the subjective estimate issued by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) proves true.
Such an output, however, comes at a high cost as California is preparing for severe drought. As The Wall Street Journal reports the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has slashed water allocations for many almond growers to zero. Allocations ranged at 20% of what farmers should normally receive last year. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor drought is hitting as much of 88% of the US West at present as opposed to 40% last year.
Although good pollination was reported throughout the orchards, the weather was unusually warm in California in spring and precipitation dropped to its lowest. Many important reservoirs can only provide less than half of their capacities and snowpack only ranges at 4% of what is normal. This year’s drought is not only driven by the climate crisis but also by the La Niña weather phenomenon, which tends to shift storms north of California.
Although most growers surveyed by NASS are optimistic concerning production, it should be noted that many are also forced to turn to more expensive private water suppliers and to cut costs. Some farmers are even letting older almond trees wither to save water for younger trees.