The 2018 almond harvest commenced in early February and is well underway, with RFM estimating that the harvest will be 50% complete by the end of March, provided the current dry weather conditions continue.
In November 2017, RFM advised Growers that the Riverina region had experienced severe frost events throughout August and September which adversely impacted many orchards in the region. At the RFM managed Hillston orchard, the southern area of the orchard where the AF06 and AF07 trees are located, was the most affected.
Figure 1 outlines the forecast yield estimates as disclosed in each Fund’s half year financial statements. The forecasts are presented on a tonnes per hectare basis, and were prepared post-pollination in early October 2017. At this stage there is no change to the forecasts, and RFM will update Growers as the crop is processed. Changes to yield will impact the FY19 distribution.
Figure 1 – 2018 forecast yield
Since the last Grower update, almond prices have continued to strengthen, assisted by ongoing dry conditions in California and severe frosts experienced in early 2018. Almond prices have improved from the mid-2016 low of approximately $2.50 per pound (USD) to $3.70 per pound (USD) in March 20181 (see figure 2).
Figure 2: 10 year historical almond pricing (March 2008-March 2018)
Looking ahead to the 2019 crop, the combination of 2018 being a low yielding year due to the trees biennial bearing nature and the reduced crop load as a consequence of the frosts, has promoted strong bud development. Yield estimates for the 2019 cropping year will be provided to Growers after pollination in October 2018.
RFM will host an annual grower update webinar in August 2018 which will contain Grower positions with respect to their 2018 distributions.
1 NPS 23/25
2 Derco Foods, (2018), February 2018 Almond Position Report, USA, p.2.