Jonathan Field, the manager of the Walnut Bargaining Association, gave his comments on the upset COVID-19 caused to the industry. “When COVID-19 hit, a lot of those international trade shipping containers that normally are full of things going in both directions, basically stopped coming here with products. So when the containers don't get here, they don't take product back to our export destinations,” said Field.
“So basically the market has been pretty slow. We kind of hope that growers will be getting 95 cents per pound, as far as returns, but it most likely will be less than that. I personally think the carry forwards will be probably closer to a 100,000 tons than 60,000 tons,” he said.
Field said it's too early to tell what the crop yields will be this year, but we're getting close to knowing. “It certainly going to be a large crop. We have more than enough acreage to produce a lot of walnuts. And there's a lot of new acres in the ground,” Field noted. “One of the positives is as you drive up down the valley, we see a lot more order walnut orchards that are being pulled out. So that's a good sign that some of these more marginal orchards are being removed because that'll help in the long run.”
Almond exports are also challenged. The Almond Board of California position report released recently showed the first dip in almond shipments in over six months, May shipments were 153.9 million pounds versus 178.7 in May, 2019.