US (CA): Demand fuels walnut production growth

In spite of a couple of problems faced by the state's growers, this year's California walnut crop is expected to be one of the largest on record. If forecasts pan out, this year's crop will continue an upward trend in production the state's growers have seen the last several years. That growth has been spurred on by robust demand.

The latest forecast from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service predicted a walnut crop in California of 545,000 tons. That's an upswing of 13 percent over last year's crop. What makes this year's crop all the more impressive is that the state's growers have had to deal with some serious problems. A lack of water has made it difficult for all of California's growers, including walnut growers, but weather during the winter growing season also made for some complications. A lack of chilling hours threatened to hamper production, but, if predictions hold true, it seems like the effects of that setback haven't been significant.

This year's big crop is, in some ways, a response to increased demand for nut products, both domestically and abroad.

“Overall, consumer demand worldwide has been strong,” noted Jennifer Olmstead, marketing director for The California Walnut Board, “but we still haven't had enough walnuts to satisfy that demand.” That demand has fuelled increased plantings, which have made for steadily increasing volumes over the years.

“As the demand for California walnuts has increased worldwide, growers have planted more walnuts throughout the state to try to meet that demand,” said Olmstead. “Not only has bearing acreage increased, which is the primary reason for the growth, but the walnut tree varieties planted in recent years are planted closer together resulting in higher yields per acre.”

For more information:
California Walnut Commission
+1 916 932 7070

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