The 2012 almond crop is coming in well below the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) estimate of 2.1 billion pounds. If the final number is close to 1.85 billion pounds, as many now expect, that would be a shortfall of 250 million pounds, or 12% from industry expectations. There is lots of speculation as to the cause of the short crop but certainly a very dry growing year played a significant role. The average moisture level of deliveries was down 1% from normal. Furthermore, kernel sizes were smaller than expected and often very flat and/or with shrivel on the edges. See photo below with normal sized Padre nuts alongside water stressed nuts! Insect damage was greater than recent years with Nonpareil and Monterey, the two most widely planted varieties, especially suffering. Some areas experienced difficulty removing nuts with un-harvested “mummy nuts” remaining on the trees into the winter. Beyond that, maybe the trees were just simply tired after a record total crop and yield per acre last year!