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California expects record walnut production

Staff writer ▼ | September 7, 2015
This year’s California walnut production forecast is at a record 575,000 tons despite a lack of chilling hours during winter and a drought that continues to impact the state.
Agriculture   California walnut acreage amounted to 300,000 acres
The forecast is up 1 percent from 2014's production of 570,000 tons. Crop quality is reported to be excellent with low disease and insect pressures.

The crop has benefited from mild summer temperatures, but increased bearing acreage plays a role as well.

According to the USDA, California walnut acreage amounted to 181,000 in 1990 and increased every year to 300,000 acres in 2015. In the past decade alone, acreage increased by 40 percent. The number of trees per acre went up significantly as well.

To provide adequate water supply to the trees, growers are using surface water if they receive allocation from their water districts. Groundwater from wells is used to make-up for the shortfall of allocation or in case the allocation amounts to zero.

The forecast is based on the 2015 Walnut Objective Measurement (O.M.) Survey, officially conducted by the National Agricultural Statistics Service from August 1 through August 29, 2015. A few samples were completed before August 1 for training and scheduling purposes.