Irrigation water flows through an almond grove on May 8, 2008 near Bakersfield, California.

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California's Almond Crop Is Off Track Due To Weather

Melissa Culross
July 12, 2019 - 2:50 pm

Farmers who grow one of California's biggest agriculture exports are not terribly happy with Mother Nature.

The Golden State is expected to produce about 2.2 billion pounds of almonds this year or 3.5% less than last year's crop. And the reason can be summed up in one word: weather.

"It was kind of a nail-biting spring with a fair amount of rainfall during our pollination, during bloom, and it also was quite cool," Almond Board of California Chairman Holly King said. "So the bees weren't moving much, and it's showing up in our projection for our crop for this year."

King, who is a grower in King County, said that even when conditions are imperfect, California still produces 82% of the world's almonds, "Clearly, the climate in California is most conducive to growing almonds. During pollination, sometimes we get a perfect season and get a good set, and sometimes we don't."

The reduction in crop size is even more pronounced on a per-tree basis, with the average almond tree producing almost 18% fewer nuts this year compared to last year. However, farmers also increased the number of trees producing this year, partially offsetting the reduction.