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Farmers go nuts for almonds as bearing acres up 45 percent
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Almonds are once again the top crop in San Joaquin County thanks to a whopping 45 percent increase on nut bearing acreage.

The 2018 San Joaquin County crop report released this week places the value of last year’s almond crop at $536.2 million to bump wine grapes out of the No. 1 spot.  Almonds — the dominate crop in the countryside around Manteca, Ripon and Escalon — was in the No. 4 spot in 2017. Countywide, 109,500 acres of almonds were in production. In 2017 there were only 75,400 acres of almonds in production. And that was up from 41,100 acres in 2016.

Overall ag production was up 2.62 percent from 2017 to reach a value of nearly $2.6 billion.

Grapes was the No. 2 crop at $430.4 million with 69,899 of the 97,200 acres producing grapes dedicated to wine grapes. That keeps San Joaquin as the top wine grape producing county in the nation.

Dairy production came in third at $360 million while walnuts were fourth at $211 million and cherries fifth at $89 million.

The weather clobbered cherry production. There were 19,900 acres in production during both 2018 and 2017 but production dropped almost in half to 5,470 tons while the price plunged nearly 40 percent knocking 2017’s $184.5 million production down to $89 million.

Walnuts dropped down $211 million last year from $317 million in 2017 despite acreage jumping from 67,500 to 73,600.