California’s almond acreage grew 7 percent last year to a record 1.3 million acres, as the state continued its dominance as the world’s leading producer of almonds.
The state grows more than 80 percent of the world’s supply. In 2016, California’s almond crop was valued at more than $5 billion.
Of the state’s total almond acres, 1 million acres are producing almonds and 330,000 acres of trees are still maturing, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s almond acreage report.
The report shows that five counties in the San Joaquin Valley – Kern, Fresno, Stanislaus, Merced and Madera – grow more almonds than any other county in the state.
Almond Board of California officials are encouraged by the acreage growth, saying that with the expansion comes more opportunities for farmers to add value to almond byproducts, like hulls and shells.
More than 2 pounds of hulls and shells are produced for each pound of almond kernels in California. Those products have been used as livestock bedding and dairy feed, but research is underway to find other uses, including improving soil quality, strengthening recycled plastics and feed for insect larvae that is used to feed poultry.
“With an increase in almond acreage, the industry has more opportunity to realize the full potential of everything an almond orchard provides,” said Richard Waycott, president and chief executive officer for the Almond Board of California.