The Objective Forecast was released by NASS today putting the 2021 California almond crop at 2.80 billion lbs. This is 10% down from the 2020 crop of 3.12 billion lbs and 13% down from the Subjective forecast of 3.20 billion lbs. This forecast lands at the low end of expectations.
NASS cited significantly lower nutsets (on average down 18%, with nonpareil down 20%) as well as lower kernel weights (all varieties down 3% and nonpareil down 6%). Usually lower nutset result in larger kernels.
The combined effect of lower nutset and weight results in a projected yield of 2105 lbs per acre on 1.33 million bearing acres, down nearly 16% from average yield last season of just over 2500 lbs per acre.
Drought, water availability and extreme summer heat were cited in the report.
Using the usually reliable assumption that California will sell and ship what it grows, at 2.80 billion lbs there is no room for any shipment growth in the 2021 season, whereas shipments last season are looking to end at around 21% growth.
The market will figure out the price level that slows shipment growth, but it is likely higher than pricing seen in the run-up to the report.