2013 has had one of the dryest, and most mild starts in recent years, and while that might not be good news for swimmers, and boaters, some are saying it's great news for almond growers. "This years blossoms look really good. I understand that throughout the whole state, we've had a really good bud set," according to Chico almond grower Ron Jones.
Here in the North State, where roughly 14 percent of California's almonds are grown, farmers and those involved in the agricultural industry are preparing for a rebound season, after falling short last year. Jones says "we were expecting to have maybe 25 or 30 percent more nuts than what we ended up having when it was all said, and done. I guess the nuts were kinda small last year." But this is a new year, and Tod Kimmelshue from the Butte County Farm Bureau says things are looking up. "If we continue with this great, mild weather, then I can see us getting the largest crop in the history of California."
According to Kimmelshue, the warm and dry conditions have been ideal for some of the almond industry's hardest workers, bees. "The bees like to work at temperatures over 60 degrees, and so, it's just been perfect for pollination." That has growers holding out hope that mother nature will let the bees do their job.
Now, Kimmelshue is looking ahead to some of the issues that might affect their crops moving forward, such as rain causing fungus to grow on trees, and freezing temperatures. "Once it drops below 32 degrees, then frost protection is needed, and that could effect the crop if we get real cold, like into the mid 20's."
Statistics from 2012 are not available yet, but in 2011 the almond crop brought in more than 273 million dollars to Butte, Glenn, and Tehama Counties.