Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Almond Harvest Is Here. Expect Smaller Crop, Higher Prices.
Liz-Juarez
By Liz Juarez
Published 3 years ago on
September 1, 2021

Share

With California’s world-leading almond harvest underway, what’s in store for shoppers and growers?

For starters, the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts a smaller almond crop. That begs the question: Will there be higher almond prices in grocery stores? Yes, that’s likely.

Increase in Prices Will Help Almond Growers

Rocque Merlo, president of Merlo Farming Group in Oroville, says wholesale prices will definitely increase because of the drought. In fact, they’ve climbed a dollar from last year.

“Well we’re forecasting that Nonpareil will be going to $3.25 and $2.80 or $2.85 for pollinators,” said Merlo. “And that’s just what our budget is forecasting, some are forecasting higher. … But, I think that if we can get a blended $3 average, I think we’re doing pretty good for this year.”

While causing pain for family food budgets, the higher prices would help California almond growers after a tough pandemic year.

Prices dropped significantly during the pandemic to $1.83 per pound, due to multiple factors. Those include trade disruptions and disputes, lower consumer incomes, and an abundant supply of almonds in 2020. Meanwhile, the latest USDA numbers show that California had a record 1.3 million acres of almonds in production.

With so much acreage, prices stayed low, and farmers made little profit in their yields.

What’s Causing the Decrease in Production?

After another parched summer, California’s almond growers face several environmental factors that could reduce the crop. Less water means both smaller crops and more pest damage.

In July of this year, just before almond harvest season began, the USDA estimated that estimated this year’s almond crop would come in at 2.8 billion meat pounds — down from last year’s record numbers of 3.1 billion pounds.

Josette Lewis, chief scientific officer for the Almond Board of California, says they expect lower yields due to the drought.

And, although, prices are expected to increase because of lower yields, other factors could ease the price hike.

“Whether it’s yield or the size of the kernel or the appearance, those all factor into the price that a grower gets paid,” said Lewis. “So even if they had a good yield, but the size was, on average smaller, or the appearance wasn’t quite up to the highest standard, they would get paid a little less for that.”

Drought and Water Scarcity Could Halt Almond Industry’s Growth

California’s continued expansion of almond acreage could be ending. In 1995, it had 418,000 acres of almonds compared to 1.3 million today.

As the drought continues, a decline in plantings is being seen and, with water scarcity a problem for many farmers, some have started taking out their trees.

Just last year, almond growers pulled out an estimated 44,303 acres, according to estimates by Land IQ. And, if California experiences another dry winter and spring, acreage removal could grow.

“If we have multiple years of drought, we may continue to see lower than average yields,” said Lewis. “We have heard and we know of growers who have removed orchards this year because of the lack of water or the high price of water. If we have another year of drought, I think we would expect to see some additional orchards removed.”

California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act could potentially hurt further plantings or exacerbate crop removals as it proposes cutbacks on groundwater use.

Almonds trees tend to be “thirsty” crops and will feel the impact if they don’t get the water they need.

“Drought can impact test pressures or pest damage, because the trees themselves are stressed and so their natural defenses aren’t as strong,” said Lewis. “Similarly to humans, if the tree is stressed, you can see an increased damage from that.”

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Investigators Have Name & Face for Suspected Arsonist Who Left Notes at Fresno Homes

DON'T MISS

Gavin Newsom and Top Democrats Are Deciding California’s Budget Behind Closed Doors

DON'T MISS

Fresno State Is 1 of Carnegie Foundation’s 25 Leadership for Public Purpose Colleges

DON'T MISS

As the Flag Drops at Le Mans, Remembering the 3 Americans Who Won in 1978

DON'T MISS

Paw-sitively Spikey: The Rise of a Supermutt!

DON'T MISS

Supreme Court Deals Blow to Environmental Law Relied on by Housing Opponents

DON'T MISS

The Latest | Hezbollah Says Its Intensified Attacks Show Israel That All-out War Would Be Costly

DON'T MISS

Alex Jones’ Assets Sold to Pay Sandy Hook Debt as Infowars’ Fate Decided

DON'T MISS

California Senate Passes Ban on Schools Notifying Parents of Child’s Pronoun Changes

DON'T MISS

Cal State LA President Bars Pro-Palestinian Protesters After Building Takeover

UP NEXT

Paw-sitively Spikey: The Rise of a Supermutt!

UP NEXT

After Bitwise: Many Employees Need to Enhance Skills to Match Their Old Salaries

UP NEXT

Squaw Valley Man Allegedly Killed by Lifelong Friend

UP NEXT

Real Estate Merger Expands Pearson Commercial Brokerage Southward

UP NEXT

Cargill’s Fresno Plants to Lay Off Nearly 180 Workers

UP NEXT

Tyson Foods Heir Suspended as CFO After Second Alcohol-Related Arrest

UP NEXT

Fresno’s Juneteenth Freedom Run/Walk Inspired by Legacy of Opal Lee

UP NEXT

Supreme Court, Siding With Starbucks, Makes It Harder for NLRB to Win Court Orders in Labor Disputes

UP NEXT

These California Dams Need Repairs, but Newsom Plans to Cut Grants in Half

UP NEXT

Drunk Driver Gets 15 Years to Life for Deadly Fresno Taco Truck Crash

As the Flag Drops at Le Mans, Remembering the 3 Americans Who Won in 1978

14 hours ago

Paw-sitively Spikey: The Rise of a Supermutt!

16 hours ago

Supreme Court Deals Blow to Environmental Law Relied on by Housing Opponents

17 hours ago

The Latest | Hezbollah Says Its Intensified Attacks Show Israel That All-out War Would Be Costly

17 hours ago

Alex Jones’ Assets Sold to Pay Sandy Hook Debt as Infowars’ Fate Decided

18 hours ago

California Senate Passes Ban on Schools Notifying Parents of Child’s Pronoun Changes

18 hours ago

Cal State LA President Bars Pro-Palestinian Protesters After Building Takeover

18 hours ago

Supreme Court Overturns Trump-Era Bump Stock Ban, Reigniting Political Debate

18 hours ago

Trump’s 78th Birthday Showcases Loyalty from Fans and Republicans

19 hours ago

California Legislators Break with Gov. Newsom Over Loan to Keep Last Nuclear Plant Running

19 hours ago

Investigators Have Name & Face for Suspected Arsonist Who Left Notes at Fresno Homes

Fresno Fire Department investigators have identified a woman whom they think left handwritten notes at homes before lighting them on fire. F...

12 hours ago

12 hours ago

Investigators Have Name & Face for Suspected Arsonist Who Left Notes at Fresno Homes

13 hours ago

Gavin Newsom and Top Democrats Are Deciding California’s Budget Behind Closed Doors

13 hours ago

Fresno State Is 1 of Carnegie Foundation’s 25 Leadership for Public Purpose Colleges

1978 Le Mans: 3 Americans in France
14 hours ago

As the Flag Drops at Le Mans, Remembering the 3 Americans Who Won in 1978

16 hours ago

Paw-sitively Spikey: The Rise of a Supermutt!

17 hours ago

Supreme Court Deals Blow to Environmental Law Relied on by Housing Opponents

17 hours ago

The Latest | Hezbollah Says Its Intensified Attacks Show Israel That All-out War Would Be Costly

18 hours ago

Alex Jones’ Assets Sold to Pay Sandy Hook Debt as Infowars’ Fate Decided

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend