AG Watch

Valley almond farmers see near record harvest

Monday, August 26, 2013

Over the past decade and a half no Valley crop has enjoyed the kind of explosive growth as seen in the almond industry. Almonds are Fresno County's number two crop behind grapes.

During harvest almonds are swept up out of orchards all around the Valley. The nuts are shaken off trees and then swept into rows before being collected. Industry experts forecast a record harvest back in May but now they've scaled back the figure.

"They predicted over two billion plus pounds which would have been a record but the last estimate figure I saw was 1.8 billion pounds so it's a little lighter than last year," almond grower Fred Machado said.

Machado says it still will be a great year for the almond industry.

"It is expected to be a little less than originally thought. I think a lot of that particularly in this county has to do with the drought situation and the meat size may not be necessarily be where they were expecting to be," Ryan Jacobsen with the Farm Bureau said.

Machado is storing some almonds on his farm until hullers can pick them up. During the busy harvest some facilities get backed up.

"We hope it don't rain. Now if there was a threat we'd have to cover them up but if there's no rain, they're okay out here. They're dried up," Machado said.

Machado started with 80 acres of almonds in 1996. To help meet growing global demand, especially in china, he has upped his production to 390 acres.

Last year almond production in Fresno County was worth $952 million.

(Copyright ©2014 KFSN-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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ag report, almonds, agriculture, ag watch, dale yurong
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