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Aug. 2023 Position Report

August 15, 2023

Like always, a new crop year brings new challenges to industry participants. The California almond industry has started the 2023 crop year with a delayed harvest and quality concerns.

The August Position Report was released on Tuesday, September 12th. The report was in line with industry expectation for the most part. The biggest bright spot was the strong new sales. Continuing to move product is the industry’s best path to higher prices in the future.

The year-to-date 2023 crop receipts total 70.1 million pounds, which is 73% below the 264.2 million pounds received to date last season. While August receipts are quite a bit lower than last season, it’s still too early to start making assumptions about the crop size. The low number is mainly due to the delayed harvest, followed by the rainstorms that caused even further delays. We are still a few months away from having received enough product to determine whether the objective forecast is right or wrong.

Current 2023 Crop Estimates

TNT – 2.29 billion pounds

Wonderful – 2.35 billion pounds

Bountiful – 2.66 billion pounds

NASS Subjective – 2.50 billion pounds

NASS Objective – 2.60 billion pounds

Total shipments for the month were 212 million pounds. This is a decrease of 7% when compared to last year’s 228.3 million pounds. Export shipments came to 150.6 million pounds, which is down 7.5% from last year. Domestic shipments landed at 61.4 million pounds. This is down 6.2% versus last season’s 65.5 million pounds. The industry didn’t set any records this month, but 212 million pounds is still a respectable number and the second largest August on record.

New sales for the month were 256 million pounds compared to 196 million pounds sold at this time last year. The year to date sold position sits at 24.9%. This is pretty much on par with last year’s sold position of 25.0%.

The 2023 harvest has been underway for a little over a month now. The main talking point amongst handlers and growers has been the record high quality issues seen up and down the state. Insect pressure from Navel Orange Worm (NOW) has led to serious defects being 3-4 times higher than an average year. The storms that hit the south end of the valley also caused some hull rot and staining on the shells that is limiting some growers’ ability to make inshell. This has caused some almond handlers to pull off the market while they evaluate their incoming almond supply. With many sellers off the market and decent demand on the buying side, prices have increased by roughly $0.10 per pound over the last couple of weeks. This is a step in the right direction for almond prices, but we have seen many times in the past that waiting too long only leads to sales positions falling behind and prices declining once again. Processors and growers need to continue selling at a steady rate to ensure that the industry maintains this positive momentum.