2014 California Almond Market Update

May 1st, 2014

by: Bill Morecraft 
General Manager
Blue Diamond Almonds
Global Ingredients Division

Today NASS reported the Subjective Estimate for the 2014 crop is 1.95 billion pounds.  This is 2.5% below last year’s production of 2.0 billion pounds. Last year’s estimate was within 1% of the actual 2013 crop.  On average, the Subjective Estimate over the last five years has been within 5% of actual crop receipts. For the past two years, the Subjective Estimate has been at or above actual receipts.

Discussion regarding the ongoing drought conditions and its impact on the 2014 California drought continues despite receiving good precipitation for March and April. State water managers are expecting bad news today as they take the season’s final measurement of the Sierra Nevada snowpack, a key source of water in drought-stricken California. The Sierra snowpack is the critical leading indicator of California’s water supply through the summer and early fall.  The last measurement was on April 1, considered the peak of the snow season. It showed that the state’s snowpack was 32% of average water content. Complicating matters, water managers say the northern Sierra snowpack that feeds California’s major reservoirs was 9 percent of average, and those reservoirs were only half full.

The impact of the continuing drought conditions and early season high temperatures will have an impact on the crop in terms of total quantity, sizing and quality as we still have 3-4 months before harvest.  The crop we eventually harvest may be different than what we see on the trees today.

Negotiations to replace the existing West Coast port labor agreement create the potential for a West Coast port strike / slow down in June.  The last agreement, six years ago, was negotiated without disruption, but Industry veterans will recall the chaos created in 2002 when negotiations stalled.

Many markets remain very low on inventory and California industry shipments continue to move at a robust pace.  We project carry-out inventory of 350 million pounds in July.  There is strong demand across global markets as we move into the summer months.

To read the detailed report click here….  “2014 California Almond Forecast”