1.85 Billion Pounds
The objective estimate was issued last week, and may or may not have caught you by surprise. With the subjective estimate, announced in May, coming in at 2 billion pounds, last week’s announcement by NASS dropped expectations by over 7% to 1.85 billion pounds. It may have caught you by surprise because in recent times we have become accustomed to ever-increasing crops grown on ever-expanding acreage. However, despite the continuous improvement in our farming practices and the reduction of insect damage contributing to the inedible portion of our crop, Mother Nature can still throw us a curve ball once in a while, and this year looks to be one of those occasions.
Behind the NASS estimate are several somewhat unique environmental phenomena that occurred this spring, and some preharvest statistics that are borderline historic. The NASS report cited a cold winter, a strong and fast bloom that shortened pollination and, therefore, bloom overlap, high winds in early April that knocked a lot of nuts off of trees, the resurgence of mites, which is occurring this year, and, of course, the severe water restrictions that certain areas of our growing region are experiencing yet again.
Nuts-per-tree estimates included in the report, while not the lowest we’ve seen in recent years, were down from last year for most of the varieties. But the real kicker in the estimate was the weight per kernel, which for the Nonpareil variety is the lowest number ever, and for the average across all varieties is the lowest in 40 years.
However, based on this month’s position report, the uncommitted inventory remaining from the 2012 harvest is 192 million pounds, slightly below where we were last year at this time. This remaining inventory, combined with the 2013 crop forecast of 1.85 billion pounds, just 2% below last year’s harvest of 1.886 billion pounds, will yield a total California supply for the 2013–2014 crop year marginally below almond availability during the 2012–2013 crop year. Suffice it to say that the global market will have available roughly the same quantity of almonds that it has enjoyed during the last 12 months, especially taking into account the increased harvest that Australia reaped earlier this year.
The month of June experienced strong shipment numbers, close to or exceeding last year. The domestic market continues to experience steady growth (+7% YTD) with another record shipment month in June. Domestic shipments of manufactured products have especially increased this year, up 20% YTD. Export shipments for the month of June were down 6.2% versus last year’s record month. This is the third straight month that export shipments have reduced their deficit as compared with the prior year. A significant change from the May position report is seen in total committed shipments now exceeding June 2012 with the resulting uncommitted inventory falling below last year’s level.
Please contact me to discuss any industry issue that might be on your mind.
President and CEO
Almond Board of California