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Economic Outlook for the 2019 Almond Pollination Season

By Brittney Goodrich, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, Auburn University

Happy New Year! With every new year comes the realization that almond orchards will be in full bloom before long. This article summarizes some considerations for this year’s almond bloom, as well as what to expect in terms of colony supplies and pollination fees in the years to come.   The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that there were 1.1 million bearing almond acres in 2018. According to the USDA Cost of Pollination Survey, 1.5 million colonies were used in almond pollination in 2017, with an average 1.6 colonies/acre. This is down from the 2016 average of 1.7 colonies/acre. These values suggest that the number of colonies demanded for almond pollination in 2019 will be close to 2 million. For some context, this is nearly three-fourths of the total U.S. honey bee colony population on January 1, 2018.   The supply of colonies for California almond pollination relies...

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