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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Farmers are gamblers

Farmers are gamblers. We all gamble every day and hope that we are profitable at the end of the year. We gamble with mother nature, politics, environmental changes, natural disasters, life events and the list could go on. There are a number of factors that go into making our farm successful that we have no control over. Water is the biggest gamble lately. But farmers still wake up every morning and tend to their fields with the same aspirations of making a living with a successful crop.

Almond farmers are no different. Our crop is very unique and depending on where you farm throughout the state, your challenges vary. Some farmers are doing better this year and have less water issues. Some farmers are hurting from water and have more challenges in their areas.

On our farm this year, our crop looks light. On our farm and in our area, the crop looks down roughly 15-20%.  Most varieties seemed to have fewer nuts than average this year. The amount of meat when compared to the hull and shell is also smaller, meaning the kernel itself is lighter. Both of these lead to smaller yield.

This year and the past couple years, our winters have been quite mild. Almonds require a certain amount of chill hours or cold temperatures to produce a nut. Without the required chill hours, the flowers are less frequent. With less flowers, there will be less nuts.  With too many nights above the threshold degrees and with too many warm days during winter months, the trees didn't know if it was winter or spring. Confused trees are stressed trees.

Considering our water situation and the increased costs of getting water, we all hope for more income coming in. But if the trees have been stressed and aren't getting as much water, I guess it is no surprise they didn't produce as well. It is just a roll of the dice.

Until Next Time,
Almond Girl

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