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May 2011 Crop Reports
Dried Fruit and Nuts

May Prune CropPrune Crop Report:

The official California Dried Plum/Prune crop estimate from the California Agricultural Statistics Service is due in 30 days. This is done through a survey of prune growers and we will post the report as soon as it is released. The general feeling is that we’ll have a moderate to light California prune (dried plum) crop this year, but it is still too early to tell. 

Watch the Prune (Dried Plum) Crop Report from April

Almond Crop Report:

Early indications from the field are that the 2011 almond crop appears to be larger than what was harvested in 2010. Some industry observers have tossed potential almond crop sizes in the range of 1.75 billion pounds. This may be a daunting figure but if it is true, it is exactly what the industry requires to meet the needs’ of an ever growing world-wide market.
Early indications from the field are that the 2011 almond crop appears to be larger than what was harvested in 2010. Some industry observers have tossed potential almond crop sizes in the range of 1.75 billion pounds. This may be a daunting figure but if it is true, it is exactly what the industry requires to meet the needs’ of an ever growing world-wide market.

The mild weather experienced since the end of the 2011 bloom increased the possibility of another late harvest. With a projected carry out of less than 300 million pounds based on our current shipment patterns, the transition period between 2010 and 2011 can be a repeat of last August and September where shortages were widespread for many almond products.

Presently, California is experiencing tight supplies for a number of varieties and sizes. Trading has also been somewhat limited as buyers and sellers work to determine the potential size of the 2011 crop.

Walnut Crop Report:

The 2011 walnut crop has again been blessed with very favorable winter conditions. Most growers believe their orchards have received significant “chill hours” as record rain fall for California has been beneficial to the trees. It is still too early to make any calculated estimates, but we will have a good idea of the walnut crop size when packers issue their “subjective” estimate the later part of July.

Walnut shipments continue to set records as March shipments reached 37,269 in-shell equivalent tons compared to 34,700 tons last March. The in-shell equivalent tonnage shipped to date is 383,375 tons, 45,647 tons ahead of last year shipments (337,728 tons). If this trend continues, we may have a carry-over of less than 40,000 tons.

Turkey/UAR and China/Hong Kong continue to import California walnuts at a record pace.  China leads year to date in-shell imports with 97.5 million pounds compared 40.3 million pounds last year. Turkey/UAR has imported 66.4 million pounds of in-shell, compared to 54.5 at this time last year.

Export shelled shipments have reached 107.9 million with domestic shipments at 104.9. Domestic shelled shipments are down 12.3 million pounds, but export shipments are up 13.5 million pounds. Combined, the total tonnage for shelled products is 212.8 million pounds, about 1.1 million ahead of last year.

Cashew Crop Report:

Shellers hope that movements of RCN in IVC and more importantly, shipments to India & Vietnam, will pick up and provide relief from the tight supply & high prices. Unseasonal rains in Vietnam are causing concern. Drying is a problem and this will affect kernel yield. The crop size may also be lower if rains do not stop.

As a result of the late crops in India & Vietnam and slow shipments from West Africa, processing in May might be lower than normal. This could lead to a squeeze in kernel supplies in the second quarter unless the off take in first quarter is much lower than normal.

For the time being, it seems that the current cashew trading pattern will not change. Everyone is currently operating for the short term and not taking any large forward positions. This means that there will be regular bursts of activity followed by some quietness, resulting in sharp dips and spikes in prices. This pattern will keep the market moving around the current range unless there is a big improvement in RCN flow or kernel demand.

Macadamia Nut Crop Report:

Reports out of Australia are that they are expecting production to drop as much as 10% this year. Australian Macadamia Society chief executive officer, Jolyon Burnett, says production has been low for the past three years because of weather extremes.

While the value of Australian macadamias is strong, the lower production is concerning. “We had hoped to see production of around 40,000 tons this year,” he said. “We’re now expecting around 35,000 tons, so that’s a drop of about seven to 10 per cent and it’s a bit of a worry.”

Hawaii’s macadamia nut crop preliminary estimates for this season are 40.0 million pounds, 5 percent below from the 2009-2010 season. This is based on the fall survey of macadamia nut processors where approximately 63 percent of the crop was already harvested by mid-November. Dry weather again contributed to this season’s lower output. For some growers, it has been the driest year on record. Other factors contributing to lower production are economics, wild pigs, and volcanic haze.

 

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