Drought and those yummy California almonds

Via Brett Walton:

Continuing a decades-long trend, California farmers will increase their almond acreage next year, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report.

An estimated 48,000 acres of new almond orchards will be planted next year, an estimate based on a first-ever survey of nursery sales. The increase is roughly 40 percent higher than the 10-year average.

Richard Waycott, president and CEO of the Almond Board of California, which commissioned the survey, told Circle of Blue that the numbers reflect commitments made at least two years ago, when growers would have submitted orders to the nurseries.

“The report reflects decisions not made in the context of the current drought and current water availability,” Waycott said.


  1. Actually if drip irrigation is used it reduces water consumption. In particular you can put drip irrigation on perennial crops whereas annuals typically take sprinklers. Replacing corn, wheat, rice or the like with almonds likley takes less water.

  2. Lyle – Regardless of the specifics of water consumption of each crop, farmers planting annual crops like wheat, etc., have the flexibility to fallow a wheat field when water is scarce. They have no such option with tree crops like almonds (or the pecans that are our equivalent crop here in New Mexico). It leads to a loss of resiliency in the system.

Comments are closed.