While almonds are being scapegoated as a leading cause of drought conditions in California, acreage topped the 1 million mark for the first time. California's 2014 almond acreage is estimated to be 1,020,000 acres, up 5% from 2013, according a recent survey conducted by NASS. Of the total acreage for 2014, 870,000 acres were bearing while 150,000 acres were non-bearing.
Growth is expected to continue in 2015 as well. Despite the drought conditions, preliminary bearing acreage for 2015 is estimated to increase 20,000 acres to 890,000.
Yield per acre for 2014 was down from 2013, at 2,150 from 2,360 the year before with production down as a result to 1.9 billion-lbs. Although yield and production dropped, the price per pound increased to $3.50 from $3.21 the year before. The total value for the California crop in 2014 was $6.5 billion, up about 2% from $6.4 billion the previous year.
Nonpareil was the leading variety farmed in California, with a total of 302,289 acres followed by Monterrey (97,091), Butte (88,468), Carmel (83,765) and Padre (57,020).
Five counties accounted for nearly three-quarters of the total bearing acreage, led by Kern at 146,725 with Fresno (109,601), Stanislaus (103,660), Merced (99,328) and Madera (78,130) round out the top five.