Almond trees in bloom. Photo courtesy of Almond Board of California.

Apr 24, 2024
New report indicates California’s bearing almond acreage decreased

California’s bearing almond acreage decreased slightly over the past year, according to a new report from Land IQ to the Almond Board of California (ABC). It is the first time since at least 1995 that the total of bearing acres has not grown. 

Land IQ’s 2024 Standing Acreage Initial Estimate issued Wednesday looked at bearing acreage – orchards planted before 2022 and that have matured enough to produce a crop for the coming 2024 harvest. It estimated that bearing almond orchards at harvest will cover 1.373 million acres across California, a decrease of about 600 acres. 

Almond Board of California ABCIn addition, Land IQ estimates that approximately 71,000 acres of orchards will be removed by the end of the crop year, adding to the 83,000 acres removed in the 2023-24 crop year, according to Land IQ’s estimate issued in November last year. 

While the bearing acreage drop may be small — far less than 1% — it marks the first time since at least 1995 that bearing acreage has not increased, according to numbers issued previously by the USDA-National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA-NASS), and with the orchard removals continues a trend over recent years of decreasing almond acreage in California.

“The decrease in bearing acreage and continued orchard removals, coupled with drops in overall acreage and non-bearing acreage the last two years, signal a probable trend toward lower overall California almond acreage,” said Clarice Turner, president and CEO for ABC. “We continue to see strong shipments this year, so we know global demand for California almonds continues to grow. There is no doubt that almonds will continue to have a very significant role in California and global agriculture and food industries for the foreseeable future.”

Clarice Turner, CEO for the Almond Board of California. Photo courtesy of Almond Board of California.
Clarice Turner

The Land IQ report is a snapshot of the coming 2024 harvest but does not offer an estimate on the actual almond yield this 2024-25 crop year. The first look at yield will come on May 10 with USDA-NASS’ Subjective Estimate. A fuller picture of crop size will come with USDA-NASS’ Objective Report in July.

Land IQ’s estimate covers bearing acreage and removals from Sept. 1, 2023 to Aug. 31, 2024. Note that the almond crop year runs Aug. 1-July 31, so this estimate looks at the harvest for the 2024-25 crop year. 

Land IQ will issue a final acreage report on the 2024-25 crop year in November that will include total acreage along with bearing and non-bearing acres. Their report in November 2023 found that California’s total almond acreage had dropped two years in a row to 1.56 million acres. 

Land IQ’s Initial Estimate and its Final Acreage Estimate in November are commissioned by ABC to provide statistical transparency and a robust picture of California almonds to industry stakeholders around the world. In 2018, ABC first commissioned Land IQ, a Sacramento-based agricultural and environmental scientific research and consulting firm, to develop a comprehensive, living map of California almonds, with the first report issues in 2019. The map is the result of more than a decade of research.

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