Agriculture.com editors recently met with the California Walnut Board (CWB) to discuss the 2012 walnut crop. This year's crop is estimated to be 470,000 short tons, slightly above the 2011 crop total of 461,000. According to the USDA's 2012 Crop Measurement Report, weather during pollination was reasonable, with only a few areas reporting frost. Spring weather conditions were ideal, allowing for the nuts to size without delay. There were some reports of abnormal nut drop in June and July due to blight.
California walnuts account for 99% of the commercial U.S. supply and two-thirds of world trade. The industry includes more than 4,000 walnut growers and more than 80 walnut handlers. California has approximately 245,000 walnut-bearing trees. In well-drained, non-stratified, loamy soil, walnut trees grow as high as 100 ft., with a root depth of 10 ft.
According to the CWB, there are more than 30 varieties of commercially-produced walnuts, all hybrids of the English or Persian walnut. Varieties are developed for various characteristics, including early harvest, late harvest, thick shell, thin shell, high walnut meat content, and pest tolerance, among others. Walnuts are the oldest known tree food, dating back to 10,000 B.C.
Learn more by visiting the California Walnut Board.