Shipping increases are seen this season for almonds, pistachios and prunes, while declines are forecast for pecans and walnuts.
2019 California almond crop shipments are initially predicted to be 2.5 billion pounds, with volume to be 9.6 percent above the 2.28 billion pounds of the previous year, according to the USDA.
Bearing acreage for 2019 is forecast at a record high of nearly 1,2 million acres. Forecasted yield is 2,140 pounds per acre, 2.4 percent higher than the 2018 yield of 2,090 pounds per acre.
Blue Diamond Growers of Sacramento, CA, which specializes in almonds, expressed optimism over the new shipping season as the harvest wraps up this month.
Pistachio volume hit about 986.7 million pounds for the 2018-19 marketing year, which was up 64.4 percent from a year earlier, according to the USDA.
The Wonderful Co of Los Angeles expects this new season to be a normal off-year with California volume down 200 to 250 millions pound from the past year. The company’s pistachio harvest runs from September to August each year.
The year ending August 3st was a record on-year crop, with good quality.
U.S. pecan volume from October 2018 to September 2019 was about 221.2 million pounds, on a utilized in-shell basis, down 27 percent from the previous year, on overall reduced bearing acreage and lower yields.
Production is down across all 8 reported pecan-producing states, with the biggest losses in big producers, Georgia and Texas. Hurricane Michael in October 2018 affected Georgia production.
In other states, pecan production declines were down due to “off-year” production in an alternate-bearing cycle.
The 2019 walnut crop is estimated at 630,000 tons — down 6.8 percent from 2018’s crop of 676,000 tons.
Walnut bearing acreage continued to trend upward, with 15,000 new acres coming into production this year, for a total of 365,000 bearing acres.
The 2019 California prune crop is forecast at 110,000 tons, up 38 percent from the previous 80,000 tons forecast in 2018. California ships 99 percent of U.S. prunes. Prune plums are harvested in August, but prunes are available year-round.
Atlas Produce and Distribution of Bakersfield, CA reports the date crop in California endured a “cooler-than-normal” spring and summer, but this is not expected to affect volume. Harvest was completed this month and the company packs and ships the year around.