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Almonds may crack 1.89B tons

Early harvest, near-record crop anticipated

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Almonds may crack 1.89B tons

Early almond varieties are showing signs of an early harvest, as evidenced by these trees at an almond orchard near West Ripon Road.

ROSE ALBANO RISSO/The Bulletin


POSTED July 19, 2013 1:38 a.m.

The prevailing hot weather is not exactly bad news for almond grower Richard Phillips.

“It’s been hot, which is good,” he said, for the almond harvest that appears to be starting earlier than usual. They expect to start shaking the trees within the next few days.

“They are not ready yet, but they look about a week or so ahead,” he said about the varieties that usually get the almond-harvest ball rolling. He made the visual observation after irrigating his acreage in northwest Manteca on Thursday.

An earlier-than-usual harvest was not expected with the way the trees bloomed in early spring.

“They bloomed later this year so we thought were going to have a later harvest. But being pretty hot here for a long time in early July, I think that speeded them up a little bit,” said Phillips who is co-owner of P&P Farms on North Union Road which harvests for more than two-dozen area almond growers.

“Normally, we harvest about the first of August; that’s our normal day when we start shaking (the trees), he said.

The other good news about the dry weather, as far as almond growers like Phillips are concerned, is the ability to get the nuts out of the orchards while conditions are dry.

“When it gets wet, that usually hurts the harvest,” he said. “You want to get them out of there before (the worms) start laying eggs. So the quicker you can get (the nuts) down and out, the better.”

The Nonpareil variety leads the others at harvest time. Coming up a few days behind the Nonpareils is the Sonora. They are so close together “we could harvest them at the same time,” said Phillips.

In quick succession after those two varieties are harvested are the other varieties – the Neplus, the Carmels, then on to the hard shells that include the Butte, Padre, the Mission “and a few odd ones in the middle.”  Closing out the harvest season is the Fritz.

The almond harvest season usually lasts through the end of October or by the first of November.



Near-record almond crop is forecasted for 2013


Despite the windy weather that buffeted the almond trees during the blooming season earlier this year, with some growers losing a number of their bearing trees by the strong winds, the 2013 almond crop appears to be a near-record breaker, according the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service.

That subjective estimate forecasted the harvest yield to be 6 percent up last year’s 1.89 billion pounds of production. The estimated yield of 2,470 pounds per acre is 3 percent higher than that of 2012, according to the May 8 AgAlert, the weekly newspaper for California Agriculture.

Before that prediction was made by the Agriculture Department, it was also forecasted that the bearing acreage of almonds would surpass 800,000 for the first time. A total of 810,000 acres of almonds are expected to produce almonds in California this year.

Almonds are California’s No. 1 farm export, with the nuts going to such foreign countries such as China, Spain, India and Germany.

In San Joaquin County, almonds were one of the top five crops by value in 2011, according to the San Joaquin County Farm Bureau Federation. The top five crops and their values that year are: milk ($439,603,000); winegrapes ($285,739,000); walnuts ($278,857,000); almonds ($187,748,000); and, sweet cherries ($89,175,000).

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