Market Update: Almonds, high water prices could be fatal
MADRID/SACRAMENTO. Spanish farmers' associations demand compensation for almond growers after the frost-related losses. In California, the acreage is estimated to have increased by 3.8% compared to last year, but high costs for pesticides and water reduce the yield prospects.
Larger acreage but questionable yields
California's almond acreage has grown by 25% in the past five years. In 2018, about 1.09 million acres were in yield, compared to 1.37 million acres in 2022 (+3.8% vs. 2021), according to the National Agricultural Statistica Service's (NASS) preliminary forecast.
In the coming days, the authorities will also publish the first subjective crop estimate for 2022. Market players had reckoned that this year's almond production could be similar to 2021. Other factors could also reduce this year's yield in addition to the frost nights, which left their mark on the almond trees. Rising costs for fertilizers, pesticides, and water are a problem for many farmers. As the experts from Blue Diamond Almonds report, some plantations in the San Joaquin Valley with poor groundwater supply are already showing the first signs of yellowing leaves. As a result, farmers have to decide which plantations are preferentially irrigated, and weed control is sometimes not carried out to its full extent.
Associations demand more support for farmers.
Last week, market experts published their forecast for the Spanish almond crop in 2022. Based on the expected losses due to the frost in April, production this year is expected to be 50% lower than initially expected: around 75,000 mt instead of 144,000 mt.
As reported by Spanish agricultural media, the Union of Farmers and Livestock Breeders (Unión de Uniones de Agricultores y Ganaderos) and the Farmers' Union (Unió de Pagesos) are now once again drawing attention to the partly devastating losses and appealing to the Ministry of Agriculture to support the growers with everything necessary. They demand financial means for the farmers to at least partially compensate for their losses.
According to the association, almond production in the Spanish region of Catalonia is suffering losses of up to 90%, causing growers to lose 23,000 mt of almonds worth EUR 19.4 million. About 75% of the crop was damaged in Valencia, while in Murcia and Andalusia, 70% of the yield was affected. The situation is similar in Aragon. Meanwhile, fears are high that there could even be total failures in individual regions of Castilla-La Mancha.
The spot market prices for Spanish almonds have now dropped slightly again after the recent increase. (Mundus-Agri)