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California set for bigger almond crop

USDA-NASS survey of growers finds production is set to rise 2.8 per cent this season

California set for bigger almond crop

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The US Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA-NASS) has pegged this year's California almond crop at 2.2bn lbs (997,903 tonnes), rising 2.8 per cent on last year's production of 2.14bn lbs (970,688 tonnes).

According to the forecast, bearing acreage for 2017 is 1m acres, with yield pegged at 2,200 lbs per acre, down 3.5 per cent from the 2016 yield of 2,280 lbs per acre.

The subjective production forecast is based on a telephone survey conducted from 25 April to 4 May from a sample of almond growers.
The California almond bloom began in mid-February; chilling hours were described as adequate, but less than 2016, the USDA report noted.

The 2017 bloom was an extended bloom, due to cold temperatures, and lasted a few weeks. Significant rains before and during bloom made application of dormant and bloom sprays more difficult. There were also concerns about bees pollinating in the stormy weather, but the extended bloom may have compensated for those issues.

While all the rain complicated orchard work, the water was described as a "welcome relief" from years of drought. Set was reportedly good and nuts were "developing well".

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