Updated: Aug 1
The 2023 almond growing season in California has been a rollercoaster ride, with record-breaking rainfall and challenging weather conditions. As we explore the USDA 2023 Final Almond Crop Forecast, we'll delve into the data gathered from Phytech's advanced monitoring system, which provides unprecedented insights into this year's almond crop. While the forecast predicts a slightly larger almond crop compared to the previous year, we believe there's more to the story.
AlmondBeat 2023 #5: A Closer Look At The 2023 Almond Crop Forecast in California
Information Provided by Phytech Agronomy Experts, Ziv Attia and Mark Sherfy.
USDA 2023 Final Almond Crop Forecast: A Closer Look
The recently published USDA 2023 Final Almond Crop Forecast estimates that the crop harvested in 2023 will reach 2.6 billion meat pounds, a 1% increase from last year's 2.57 billion pounds. This modest uptick comes despite the challenges posed by an exceptionally wet winter, limited bee flights due to rain and wind, and a cool spring.
Potentially Lower Yield Load: Insights from Phytech's Data
Phytech's revolutionary monitoring system has provided invaluable data that challenges the forecast's accuracy.
Typically on high load years, we see the following growth pattern from our dendrometers. High growth from the leaf out through cell division, and a decrease in growth rates after nut fill and on. There should be a plateauing effect of growth in the dendrometer data due to the fact that the crop load has reached its full capacity and acts as a major carbohydrates sink. The higher the drop in growth rates, the higher the crop load we anticipate (figure 1).
Average growth rates of 5th leaf and on almond trees across the entire Central Valley, CA. On average, the drop in growth rates from May to June was 50% during 2020-2022, however, only 23% drop during 2023 (figure 1). In addition, during high crop load seasons, we typically see higher stress levels from June and on until harvest.
Figure 1: Average growth rates of 5th leaf and older almonds trees across the central valley.
Unfortunately, If we take into account the lower difference in growth rates and the lower level of plant stress during June we suspect 2023 will be a lower crop load year.
Figure 2: Average plant stress distribution of 5th leaf and older almonds trees across the Central Valley, CA.
The Future of California Almond Orchards
As we navigate the complexities of the 2023 almond crop forecast in California, Phytech's advanced monitoring system adds a new dimension to the understanding of almond orchards' health and productivity. The forecast may predict a slightly larger crop, but the data collected by Phytech indicates variations in nut size and crop load. Almond farmers' resiliency, combined with data-driven insights, ensures that California's almond orchards continue to thrive despite the challenges they face. Let's continue to monitor and adapt to the evolving conditions and together, harvest the potential of the 2023 almond crop with confidence and success.
Stay tuned for more AlmondBeat updates and insights!