California Almond Board reports first acreage drop in decades

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California Almond Board reports first acreage drop in decades

The California Almond Board (ABC) reported a slight decrease in bearing acreage, the first since 1995. The analysis was commissioned by ABC to intelligence firm Land IQ and shows a less than 1% drop in productive acres.

While the bearing acreage drop may be small, it marks the first time in decades that bearing acreage has not increased, according to numbers issued previously by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

“The decrease in bearing acreage and continued orchard removals, coupled with drops in overall acreage and non-bearing acreage the last two years, signal a probable trend toward lower overall California almond acreage,” ABC President and CEO Clarice Turner said in a release.

The report looked at bearing acreage and orchards planted before 2022 that have matured enough to produce a crop for the coming 2024 harvest. It estimated that bearing almond orchards at harvest will cover 1.373 million acres across California, a decrease of about 600 acres.

Related articles: California almond sector measures adverse weather impact on harvest volume

Additionally, Land IQ estimates that approximately 71,000 acres of orchards will be removed by the end of the crop year. This will add to the 83,000 acres removed in the 2023-24 crop year, according to the firm’s last November estimate.

The California almond season is underway, with the sector shipping its fall harvest to international markets. Production is estimated at 2.437 million pounds for the present season, approximately 6% down year-on-year. 

“We continue to see strong shipments this year, so we know global demand for California almonds continues to grow. There is no doubt that almonds will continue to have a very significant role in California and global agriculture and food industries for the foreseeable future,” added Turner.

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