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Almond Market Update - March 3, 2023

As reported last week, California was under yet another Atmospheric River that stretched throughout the state of California from San Diego to Chico. This brought unseasonably cold temperatures as well as moisture creating snow events in regions where it never sees snow. Areas of Southern California received as much as 6 1/2 feet of snow where it hardly ever rains, little less snows. This was also seen in the Bay area, North Valley, Central Valley and South Valley growing regions. There have been pictures circulating around of snow-covered bee hives and orchards.  

Anecdotally, it has been very cold during the bloom (20 degrees below the norm for this time of the year), with snow, rain and wind at the most unfortunate time to maximize pollination of the orchards across the growing regions. Bee’s will hardly fly in this type of weather, yet will, to survive (looking for food), like any other creature. With the bloom now coming to an end, only time will tell what type of crop we will have. We can reflect on previous years when there were similar conditions and still had a great crop, even record crops. So, who knows what is coming? Mother Nature somehow always finds a way.

The weather has taken center stage though with many growers retreating from the market. Great attention will be made on what effect this will have had on the 2023/24 crop, if any.  As we now enter the growing phase, new crop outlook will determine the market for the remaining current crop supply. They are tied together hand in hand. Buyers and sellers will need to navigate these rough waters as best as they can with the information at hand. 

There may be hesitation by some growers to sell their remaining stock until more information can be assessed on their crop coming. Oh, and should I mention there are more storms on the way, with another this weekend and the potential of another Atmospheric River to hit the west coast by mid-March?  

The industry stands at 1.27 billion pounds of almonds shipped to date, +2.6 % ahead of last years shipments. While February was a short month with a holiday sprinkled in there, expectations are still for a strong shipment month. Crop receipts slowed down immensely last month giving the industry hope that the crop is shorter than the 2.6 billion pound estimate. Next week’s position report from the Almond Board will fill us in a little further.

Download and read the January shipment report, here!

Upcoming Industry Milestones:

  • Bloom: Ongoing and will be finished soon.
  • Position Report: March 9, 2023
  • Position Report: April 11, 2023 

Almond Market Insight - Week 9 Update

Bullish Trends:

  1. With the poor weather experienced during bloom, expect to see firming in the market as new crop concerns are now raised. 

  2. With the industry now having shipped 1.27 billion pounds, ahead of a year ago +2.6%, the momentum is headed in the right direction.  

  3. A shorter crop this year coupled with perhaps another short crop next year may bring supply in line with global demand sooner than expected. 

Bearish Trends

  1. Poor bloom weather does not automatically translate to a short crop. If history repeats, one only needs to look at 2011 as a perfect example. Even in 2017, it rained everyday during the bloom, yet it became the largest crop in history at the time.   

  2. This is no time to take the foot off the pedal. The industry needs to keep pushing for more sales in order to avoid a large carry-out once again, regardless of the next crop. 

  3. Pricing will take care of itself if the demand exceeds supply. But, trying to take pricing up pre-maturely or on the premise of a poor bloom could blow up in the industries face. Remember 2014 and the drought concerns?    

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