The Hard Freeze of 2018
Well, this is a year that will be talked about for many years to come in the almond industry. A cold low pressure system dropped down from the arctic and brought several days of sub-freezing temperatures to the entire almond producing region of California. Temperatures of mid-20’s were prevalent in many areas and the crop will definitely suffer some damage but it is too early to tell how much.
One of my orchards in the coldest area saw 24 degrees three mornings. I assessed the damage last week and found 30% loss in two spots and 65% in one. One thing to know is that, just because close to 50% of the bloom is lost, the final yield loss will not that drastic. This is because not all the blooms make almonds. Many are not pollinated, become diseased, or the tree just drops them because it can’t hold everything. I am going to remain optimistic and am predicting 20% yield reduction in that orchard. My other plantings were not blooming when the cold temperatures arrived so they are going to be fine. I will be documenting what I am seeing and hearing in the months to come.