California walnut crop predicted to drop 5%

The 2017 California walnut production is forecast at 650,000 tons, down 5% from 2016’s record production of 686,000 tons, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

This forecast is based on the 2017 Walnut Objective Measurement (O.M.) Survey, which was officially conducted Aug. 1 through Aug. 19. There were a few samples completed before Aug. 1 for training and scheduling purposes.

The 2017 walnut season began with adequate chilling hours and record amounts of rain during the winter and spring months. There were reports of orchards being saturated for several weeks which resulted in a compromised root system. A higher than average insect problem was also reported.

August was much hotter than normal in California, and during the excessive heat waves over the summer, growers applied sunburn preventative materials. Harvest is expected to begin this week.

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