Blue Diamond Almonds
The NASS Objective Estimate for the California 2014 almond crop was released at 12:00 p.m. Monday June 30 estimating the 2014 almond crop at 2.1 billion lbs. The estimate represents a 4.5% increase over the 2013 crop. This represents the fourth consecutive year that California is projected to produce a crop close to 2 billion lbs, providing room for modest growth in global almond consumption.
With 2.3% more bearing acres (860,000) and a kernel count 0.5% lower than last year, the estimate projects the second highest yield on record at 2,440 lbs per acre. This is good news for ingredient users as it presents a near term potential to secure coverage for the upcoming year. Overall, I expect the 2014 crop to sell for average prices at or above last year’s crop over the full year.
With a few weeks remaining before harvest, the initial concerns for drought impact on the 2014 crop have moderated, but not disappeared. There may still be some downward effect on total yield by the time harvest is underway. With California water reservoirs at extremely low levels, concern does begin shifting to 2015. California agriculture is more dependent than ever on the upcoming fall and winter rainfall to provide needed water supply to next year’s crops.
The June Position Report is scheduled for release on Thursday, July 10. Expect to see shipments that continue to drive ending 2013 crop inventory towards 340 million lbs. By the second half of July, 2014 crop commitments that were postponed in order to evaluate the Objective Estimate should begin in earnest. Based on recent years, the most attractive buying opportunities will fade quickly as shipment positions for September through November are substantially booked.