2014 California walnut production is forecast at a record 545,000 tons, up 11 percent from last year’s production of 492,000 tons.
Despite a lack of chilling hours and the California drought, the 2014 walnut crop topped the half-a-billion ton level. Growers used surface water where available and groundwater when necessary to provide adequate water to the trees.
Weather conditions during the growing season were mild which benefitted the crop.
Walnut quality is excellent with low disease and insect pressures.
Overall, the 2014 crop is developing faster than last year and an early harvest this fall is expected.
Survey data suggested an average nut set of 1,372 per tree, up 11 percent from last year’s 1,239 record low average of 1,239 nuts. Percent of sound kernels in-shell was 98.7 percent statewide.
In-shell weight per nut was 21.2 grams with the average in‑shell suture measurement at 32.5 millimeters. The in-shell cross-width measurement was 32.4 and the average length in-shell was 38.1 millimeters.
All of these sizing measurements were above average levels.
Estimated nut sets, sizing measurements, average number of trees per acre, and estimated bearing acreage were used in the statistical models.
This forecast is based on the 2014 Walnut Objective Measurement (O.M.) Survey conducted by the National Agricultural Statistics Service NASS) from Aug. 1-24.
The 2014 Walnut O.M. Survey utilized a total of 746 blocks with two sample trees per block.