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|An almond farmer in California inspects the crop. Photo provided by the United States Department of Agriculture.|
Warm weather, limited crop damage and minimal disease and insect pressure could mean a record harvest for California almond growers in 2012.
Specifically, almond production is expected reach 2.1 billion lbs., a slight increase from the 2 billion lbs. predicted in May, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service forecast.
If realized, the 2.1-billion lb. estimate will show a 3% increase from the 2.03 billion lbs. collected in 2011.
However, actual figures will not be released until after the harvest — which is set to begin in August.
The USDA collected growth estimates from 780,000 bearing acres, to calculate the latest figures. The original estimate, however, was based on telephone survey responses from 283 growers.
Regardless of how many almonds California produces, most them — around 70% —will go to meet the demand of an increasingly global consumer base.
“Our only concern is the supply side, we want to make sure we can keep up with the demand” Richard Waycott, ceo of the Almond Board of California, told The Modesto Bee. “We have had such incredible growth in virtually all of our markets around the world.”