The August Almond Board of California Position Report –the first report of the 2021/22 crop year (August 2021-July 2022), published on September 10, 2021– shows receipts of 311.5 million lbs. (approx. 141,000 metric tons) of kernel weight through August 31, 2021. It is too early to determine if the estimated 2.8 billion lbs. crop (approx. 1.270 M MT) forecasted by the USDA National Ag Statistics Service will be realized. Often the August receipts number can be more indicative of harvest timing than overall crop size. More will be known about the actual receipts over the remaining months of harvest, hulling and shelling.
Total shipments in 2020/21 set a new record at 2.898 billion lbs. (approx. 1.315 M MT) up an impressive 22.2% from the previous record shipment year of 2019/20. With carryout from 2020/21 at 608 M lbs. (approx. 276,000 metric tons), total supply for 2021/22 is estimated to be 3.352 B lbs. (approx. 1.520 M MT), which is lower than the 3.506 B lbs. (approx. 1.590 M MT) in 2020/21. Domestic shipments in August were relatively flat, up 1% vs. August 2020. Export shipments of nearly 141 M lbs. (approx. 64,000 metric tons) in August 2021 set a new record and were up 10.8% over the prior year. Export markets in the Asia-Pacific and Western Europe regions started the new marketing year strong with gains of 11% and 14%, respectively.
The pollination season for the Australian almond crop has progressed well with strong hives and excellent bee flight hours through the orchards where the overlap of varietal flowering in all production regions has been excellent. There was little disease pressure last season and there has been a lot of attention to the clean-up of overwintering nuts left from harvest to keep insect pest issues controlled. Following good spring and winter rainfall, the water storage are at the best levels for some years with large environmental flows being released to flush the river system, floodplain waterways and forests.
The level of tree planting has reduced over the past two years with a smaller level of new development activity again in winter 2021. Shipments started the marketing year strongly and well ahead of the figures for 2020.
At the time of writing this report, harvest was progressing well, although first reports were reflecting 2-3% lower yields, which might end up impacting the final crop size. With a total planted area of over 700,000 hectares, from which 620,000 are already bearing, new plantations keep pushing up the volumes in Spain.
As reported by AEOFRUSE (sourced by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism of Spain), shipments from August 2020 to July 2021, including conventional and organic, natural and processed almonds added up to 113,500 MT. July shipments of 8,900 MT, represented a 6,3% increase against the same period last year. Germany was the leading importer, with 26,665 MT, followed by France with 24,757 MT and Italy with 22,189 MT. July imports into Spain amounted to 6,400 MT, adding up to 106,854 MT YTD, the main origins being California (83%), Portugal (6%) and Australia (3%).
Field prices started around 30% higher than last year (although still within the 2015-2019 average) following the international market and the need of better growers’ returns after the low prices from the 2020/21 crop.
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