The Cummings Report - On Almonds

Brought to us by Project Apis m. Posted January 16, 2013 by Dan Cummings|


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!

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Bee Status - Dan Cummings

Brought to us by Project Apis m. Posted January 16, 2013 by Dan Cummings

Many feel hive quality going into almond bloom last year, February 2012,  was the best it has been for several years.  The chart below, showing percentages of honey bee colony winter losses, would certainly seem to support that observation.  The explanation may be the abnormally warm winter experienced during 2011/2012, indeed the fourth warmest winter in U.S. history.  In an article by Kim Kaplan published by the USDA, Dr. Jeff Pettis was quoted, “A warm winter means less stress on bee colonies and may help them be more resistant to pathogens, parasites and other problems.” Click here.

Another prominent bee researcher commented to me that bees emerged from last winter indeed relatively robust but also with bigger varroa mite loads than usual. 

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