California’s 2016 almond crop is forecast to surpass 2 billion pounds for the first time since 2013, according to a federal survey.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Almond Objective Measurement Report shows that the forecast of 2.05 billion pounds is up 2.5 percent from May’s forecast and calls for a 7.9 percent increase from last year’s crop.
The forecast is based on 900,000 acres of trees in production. Fresno County is one of the state’s leading almond-growing areas. The others are Kern, Madera, Merced and Stanislaus counties.
Federal officials said better growing weather and more rain contributed to a boost in the crop’s size. Although many areas of the state’s almond-growing regions are still in a drought, the trees showed signs of recovery from the last few years of dry weather.
The average number of nuts per tree is up about 5 percent, to 6,159.
Richard Waycott, president and chief executive officer of the Almond Board of California, said this year’s crop growth reflects the growers’ commitment to innovation and sustainable new technologies to reap the most from every drop of water.
Since 1994, almond growers have reduced the amount of water it takes to grow a pound of almonds by 33 percent.
“While growers have made significant advances, as an industry, we collectively recognize the need to take a leadership position on pressing issues facing both California’s residents and agricultural industry,” Waycott said.