The weather in California this week has been nothing short of perfect for the almond bloom. While there is some rain in the forecast tomorrow, overall the projection is for light showers and then back to low 60’s for the next 8 days. Driving through the valley we can see bee hives staged in preparation of the bloom. We are seeing red tips on the trees now and bloom is right around the corner. In the southernmost part of the state, some of the earliest varieties are already showing flowers. Look for our bloom reports for further detailed information from our orchards on LinkedIn.
Today the Almond Board of California released the January shipment report. The real headline is that crop receipts surpassed the 3 billion pound estimate to 3.025 billion. An additional 157 million pounds was received in January. If half as much is still yet to be received, we may see this crop reach 3.1 billion pounds.
For the first time this year shipments were off. After six straight record months of shipments it was bound to occur. January was down -12% from last year’s 220.5 million pounds to 194.3 million pounds. Domestic shipments were off the most versus a year ago, from 71 million pounds last year to 58.8 million this year, -17.4%. While exports went from 149 million last year to 135 million in January, off -9%.
It is important to note that the industry is facing the worst logistical nightmare we have ever seen, with constant delays and rolls at the ports. This is the primary reason export shipments are not significantly higher.
The industry now sits at 1.478 billion pounds shipped and is 16.2% ahead of last year at this time. The industry will need to continue to move the needle and ship essentially this same amount through July to avoid an excessive carryover. Currently we had targeted a 525 million pound carry over with 2.865 billion pounds shipped. Now that crop receipts have risen above 3.0 billion pounds, all else will need to also increase.
Week 6 Update:
While January shipments did not meet expectations, the industry is well positioned to bounce back in the months ahead. This industry is resilient and proves itself with every season.
Market levels are such that buyers are taking advantage of some of the most aggressive levels seen in years.
With demand continuing to grow, the supply will soon be in balance with the growing markets around the world.
January shipments are a result of loaded pipelines and transportation issues. Hopefully, these issues will improve soon, but there is no telling when.
Reports show that the ports have cargo ships sitting in wait, unable to unload their containers. This will take months to get corrected and is dependent on getting COVID-19 under control.
As we saw last summer, price levels do not fix everything. It will take time to work through our markets re-opening and society returning to a more normal existence.
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