The new crop and market environment are significantly different from last season

According to the California Walnut Commission & Board, the California walnut industry is gearing up for a stellar 2023 harvest and shipping season after several years of drought, record-low grower returns, COVID-disrupted markets with supply chain challenges, and a devastating heat wave in September 2022 that negatively impacted the entire crop. Several factors have converged to make the outlook for this season considerably more favorable than last year.

Favorable growing conditions: Heavy rains throughout the winter, an extensive snowpack, normal levels of chilling hours and mild spring temperatures have combined to produce robust nut sets.

Acreage adjustments: Record-low prices and water restrictions have led to a decrease in planted area of California walnuts, with overall acreage down by 23,000 acres (9,300 hectares) according to an acreage survey conducted by the California Walnut Board between October 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023.

Favorable new crop volumes and inventory levels: The industry has a strong production base, with approximately 380,000 producing acres (153,800 ha) and 37,000 younger non-bearing acres (15,000 ha). Data from the California Walnut Board’s monthly and year-to-date shipment report shows that the industry has shipped the equivalent of 730,488 short tons (662,687 metric tons) this season from an available inventory of 880,000 ST (798,322 MT). Incorporating the recently updated acreage report with sampling results, the USDA/National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will release the official California walnut industry crop estimate on September 1, 2023.

Global and domestic market outlook: This season’s premium-quality California walnuts are expected to be in high demand on international markets when it comes time to ship the 2023 crop this fall. Moreover, domestic sales have increased by 28%.

Market development and sales expansion: Several steps have been taken to aid growers, including efforts to secure emergency relief and a record USDA Section 32 purchase this season for up to $90 million. The tariff reduction recently announced by India will also help the California walnut industry regain its footing in that market.

Following the California Walnut Commission & Board communication, on September 1 the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (NASS USDA) released the 2023 California Walnut Objective Measurement Report, which forecasts a walnut production of 790,000 metric tons, up 5% from 2022’s crop, based on 385,000 bearing acres (ca. 155,800 hectares) —4% down from 2022’s estimate.

For more information, see:

Press release from the California Walnut Commission & Board

USDA NASS 2023 California Walnut Objective Measurement Report

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