Californian drought may benefit Australian almond growers

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 12th May 2014
Australian almond growers may benefit from Californian drought conditions

Drought conditions in the US State of California means the quality of the State’s 2014 almond crop remains a “mystery”, according to Californian almond producers. But with global demand for almonds remaining strong, Australian almond growers could benefit from the reduced US supply.

US domestic market shipments were up 11.3 per cent in the year to date and export shipments up 1.3 per cent, with total shipments up 4.3 per cent, according to the US April Almond Industry Position Report.

The current forecast showed the carryover inventory would be 262.17 million pounds, 17.4 per cent lower than last year. Global demand for almonds remained strong from food processors, food service and confectioners.

Australian almond growing and processing business Select Harvests reported that world almond prices had firmed. Select Harvests’ Managing Director Paul Thompson said that prices were expected to remain firm as a result of strong shipments and the reduced world supply.

However, Australian almond growers have also had to contend with problematic weather conditions. Mr Thompson said Select Harvests had been able to harvest 84 per cent of its crop before the end of April 2014, as a result of additional investment in harvest equipment in 2013, but rain disruption had resulted in increased harvesting and processing costs, and continued rainfall in New South Wales since the end of April 2014 had prevented the harvesting of the remaining 16 per cent of the crop.

Select Harvests said the wet, cold conditions had also resulted in some nuts dropping from trees, further increasing the probability of product deterioration. The Company said it would not be able to determine the impact of the wet harvest conditions on yield and quality until harvest was completed.