Almond Crop Progress Report and Market Update 19.03.24

Date: 19th March 2024 Category: Latest News
Almond Crop Progress Report and Market Update 19.03.24

The almond bloom concluded with mostly positive reports despite occasional rain and strong winds. Overall, bloom conditions were favourable and bee flight hours were sufficient, setting a positive tone for the start of the 2024 crop. The focus is now on post-bloom activities and pest management. The market will continue to monitor crop development through the spring and summer months. While the season is off to a good start, it is still quite early to begin forecasting the potential crop size.

Crop Progress

The conclusion of the 2024 California almond bloom is swiftly approaching. In the San Joaquin Valley, all almond varieties have surpassed their peak bloom and are rapidly transitioning to sprouting green leaves. Meanwhile, in the Sacramento Valley, some late-blooming Butte and Padre blocks are wrapping up, likely reaching completion by now. Nuts are growing in size at a fast pace, with noticeable variations already evident in varieties such as Nonpareil and Sonora. California-type varieties are shedding their protective jackets as the green nuts expand in size.

The favourable weather conditions for bee activity persisted throughout the final week of bloom, with the exception of a brief light storm passing through the central part of the state. Despite minimal rainfall, the storm was swiftly dried up by emerging sunlight. Towards the end of the week, strong winds hampered bee activity, prompting many beekeepers to begin relocating hives out of orchards. Growers remain vigilant for upcoming weather patterns, as warmer temperatures and potential moisture could spur disease development.

During the last week of bloom, growers focused on completing various orchard tasks. With no need for disease treatments, attention shifted to weed control efforts, observed through widespread mowing and weed control applications across the state. Growers are also deploying or have already placed Navel Orangeworm traps, transitioning from disease protection to pest management. Fertiliser applications have increased alongside the emergence of leaves and will persist throughout the growing season.

Industry News

February saw almond shipments totalling 221 million pounds, marking a 6% decline from the previous month and a 10% decrease compared to last year's record February. Export shipments, which had exhibited strength over the past four months, slightly softened to 162 million pounds, down 14% from last year. Meanwhile, domestic shipments reached 59 million pounds, showing a modest increase of 2.3% compared to the previous year. Despite these monthly fluctuations, total shipments for the first seven months of the year remain 5.6% ahead of last year's pace.


India: Shipments to India amounted to 27 million pounds, indicating a 21% decrease from last year. Despite the softer February shipments, India continues to be a robust and dependable market for the industry, with year-to-date shipments up 18% compared to the previous season. Buying activity remained subdued, with buyers awaiting price reactions to positive bloom news. However, activity is anticipated to pick up in the coming weeks as Diwali needs will largely be covered by the current crop.

China/Hong Kong/Vietnam: Shipments to this region totalled 9.8 million pounds, down 57% from last year. Nevertheless, year-to-date shipments are now 1% ahead of last season. After the Chinese New Year, buying activity was muted, with varied reports on consumer demand during the holiday period. This cautious approach has been influenced by local prices trading at a discount to import prices. Demand is expected to remain subdued in the coming weeks as buyers shift focus to the Australian crop.

Europe: Shipments to Europe remained robust, reaching 61 million pounds, an 11% increase over last year, keeping the year-to-date shipment pace 8% ahead of last season. Western Europe, in particular, saw an 11% increase year-on-year, with strong February shipments to Spain, Germany, Netherlands, and Italy. The industry anticipates sustained demand moving forward due to low inventories and hand-to-mouth purchasing.

Middle East: Shipments to the Middle East amounted to 27 million pounds, down 15% from last year. Year-to-date sales are over 3% ahead of last season. The region continues to be a significant destination for California almonds, with the ongoing Ramadan holiday expected to bolster demand, supported by favourable consumer disposable income. Performance during Ramadan will be assessed by the end of March as the holiday approaches its conclusion.

Domestic: February shipments in the domestic market reached 58.8 million pounds, up 2.3% from the previous year, marking the largest February shipment in the last three years and the third-largest in the last decade. Year-to-date shipments have fluctuated compared to last year but remain flat at -0.18%. New domestic sales for the month totalled 62.9 million pounds, bringing commitments to 266 million pounds. Overall, domestic commitments lag behind by 19.4% from the previous year but have improved from 24.9% in January. Short-term booking strategies for many buyers indicate ample volume for new bookings this crop year. It is crucial for buyers to consider lead times for new business to ensure continuous product availability.

via Blue Diamond Growers