Almond Value Chain

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Almond Production

The almond tree, Prunus dulcis, is a deciduous tree in the family Rosaceae which is grown for its edible seeds (nuts). The tree has brown or grey bark and either an erect or weeping growth habit depending on the variety. The trunk can reach 30 cm (12 in) in diameter. Almond leaves are 7.5–13 cm (3–5 in) long with a serrated edge and grow alternately on the branches. The tree produces white to pale pink flowers and hairy green fruits which are oblong in shape. The fruit is a drupe, containing a single seed. The seed is protected by a hard brown shell. At maturity, the flesh of the fruit becomes leathery and splits to reveal the nut inside. Nuts generally measure 3.5 to 6 cm (1.4–2.4 in) in length. Almond trees can reach heights between 4 and 10 m (13–33 ft) and have a commercial lifespan of between 30 and 40 years. Almond may be referred to by variety and this includes bitter almond nuts are generally about long and may also be referred to as sweet or bitter almond depending on variety and originates from wild species found in Central and Southwest Asia.

Site Preparation

Land is prepared beginning with slip ploughing to break up layered soil for improved root and water penetration. Ripping is performed where chemical hardpans exist. The ground is disced twice after slip ploughing and borders are put up. The bordered orchard site is flooded with eight acre-inches of water and disced two more times after the ground has dried out. Following the second discing, berms are constructed in the tree rows to manage irrigations between the rows. The field is laser levelled to allow for uniform irrigation. Slip ploughing and levelling are performed by contract or custom operators. A treatment of soil-residual herbicide is applied to the tree rows and incorporated with a disc after levelling. All operations that prepare the orchard for planting are done the year prior to planting, but costs are shown in the first year.

Soil and Climatic requirements


In a few words, the almond tree thrives in hot and dry climates, but it also has certain needs in cold (250-350 and in some varieties 500 hours), and that’s why it cannot be cultivated in tropical climates. Due to the fact that it blooms very early compared to other fruit trees (during February in US), it can be harmed by frosts during this period, and this is the main limiting factor when growing almond trees.

Low winter and spring temperatures and very high summer temperatures inhibit growth and fruit set. During flowering, temperatures below 24,8 °F (-4 °C) for half an hour and longer can cause serious damage, depending on the variety. On the other hand, very high summer temperatures when accompanied with low soil moisture can result in the shrinkage of almond. The needs of almond in cold (in order to break the dormancy of the buds) are small, about 250-350 (and in some cases over 500) hours of exposure to temperature less than 45 °F or 7 °C. This is the reason why the almond tree blooms earlier than most of fruit trees and thrives in areas with mild winters. The long and warm growing season favours the fruit ripening. Frequent rainfalls and cold weather during the flowering deteriorate the cross pollination activity of bees, resulting in decreased fruit set and production. Moreover, rainfall and humid conditions favour the development of fungal and bacterial diseases, and thus reduce production. The greatest yields are often achieved in irrigated almond orchards that are located in areas with long and hot summer, without many rainfalls. In United States, the perfect climate for growing almond trees can be found in Central California. There are also other suitable areas (some parts of Arizona, Texas and Georgia), but as a rule of thumb, the risk of fungal diseases increases as we move to the east. Outside US, the perfect climate for growing almond trees is the one found in Mediterranean countries (Italy, Spain, Morocco, Greece and Tunisia). However, almond trees are also grown with great success in Syria, Iran and Australia.


Like all fruit trees, almond tree prefers full sun and well-drained soil. The almond tree thrives in a wide variety of soils from sandy loam to sandy clay, but generally prefers light, fertile, deep and well drained soils. Although the almond tree is resistant to drought and can survive for many years in dry soils, the production is significantly reduced under such conditions. Low soil moisture at the end of the growing season is less critical than in the beginning. Heavy or not well drained soils should be avoided, because they have been found to decrease production and favour the spread of various fungal diseases. Soil pH is normally not a limiting factor, as the tree can grow well in pH ranging from 5,5 to 8,5. However, most professional almond growers fix soil pH around 6,5 to 8 (ask a licensed agronomist).


Before planting the young almond trees, the soil has to be ploughed at a depth of 20-27 inches (50-70 cm). Tillage aims at the destruction of perennial weeds and soil fluffing, which is necessary for the development of the root system. Before ploughing, almond farmers often take soil samples and send them to laboratory, in order to determine any necessary corrective actions. Many almond farmers add 20-30 tons of manure per hectare well before planting the young trees, so as to increase soil fertility and improve soil texture.


Two types of almonds can be distinguished, those with soft shell, mainly produced in California, and those with hard shell, like the Spanish varieties Marcona and Desmayo or many of the produced in Portugal.  Different types of almonds can be distinguished according to their taste and uses. The “sweet almonds”, consumed as dry fruit may have soft or hard shells; the ” bitter almonds” have a strong bitter flavour due to a glucoside called amygdalin (in sweet almonds it disappears almost completely when they mature); they are used in the food and agriculture industry to obtain oil, for instance. The green almonds have not undergone the fruit set.

Classifications are based on the hardness of the shell; thus, in Spain there are almonds with soft shell like the ” Mollar de Tarragona ” and ” Fitas” from Ibiza, which are very appreciated in the European markets thanks to their exquisite flavour, colour and presentation. The most important hard shell commercial varieties are Marcon , Planeta, Llargueta, Rumbeta, Doble Fina and Desmayo. In Spain, many local varieties are produced in each region, among which stand out Marcona and Desmayo largueta. Nevertheless, other foreign varieties with late flowering have spread, like the Italian “Tuono” and “Cristomorto’ or the French “Ferragnès” and “Ferraduel“. There are some types without a specific denomination that come from seeds with the generic name ” Comunes”. Some new varieties obtained in Spanish improvement programs have also spread, highlighting Masbovera and Guara.

In France, the almonds with soft shell are known from the old times as ” princesses” or ” fines”; the semisoft ones are called ” amandes des dames” and those with hard shell are the ‘beraudes”, ” molières” or ” caillasses” . Some varieties cultivated in France are Ai, Ardechoise, Sultana, Beautiful of Aurons, FerragnèsFerraduel, Ferralise and Ferrastar, among others.

The almond tree cultivated in Portugal usually produces almonds with hard shell. The varieties have different earliness in respect to the flowering. Some varieties are Boa Casta (average earliness), Pretty (late), Pretty St. Bras (early), Casa Nova (very late), Duro Amarello (quite early), Duro de Entrada (quite early), Gama (quite early), Jose Dias (average-early), Marcelina Grada (quite early), Mourisca (very early), Parada (quite early) and Verdal (average-early).

In Italy, the varieties are classified according to their place of origin: those coming from Puglia and from Sicily, the main almond tree production locations in Italy. The varieties of Puglia are Tuono, Filippo Ceo, Genco, Cristomorto, Fragiulio, Rachele, etc. The Sicilian varieties are d”Avola Pizzuta, Fasciuneddu, Romana, Avola R. 40, Cavaliera and Bonifacio.

In California, the greater production is soft shell almonds. Some varieties, from the oldest to the most recent ones areNonpareil, IXL, Ne plus ultraTexas, Davey, Tardy Nonpareil, Thompson, Ballico, Merced, Ruby, Carmel, Butte, Price, etc. Some of them are the result of crosses between them, that is to say, they are hybrids.

Descriptions of Some Almond Varieties

Mollar de Tarragona’ 
Quite big, wide, of more or less dark brown colour, slightly rough. 40-43% yield on shelling and 5% of double almonds. Average time of flowering, produced in Spain.

” Marcona’
Quite a large almond, of round shape, slightly rough. 25-28% yield on shelling; no double almonds. Flowering at the beginning of March and late maturation at the beginning of October. It is original from the province of Alicante (Spain).

” Desmayo Largueta’
The tree is of hanging growing habit. There are several local types in the Spanish regions, the most well-known is Desmayo Rojo. Extended, pointed, smooth almond with a hard shell, commercialized under the name of ” Larguetas”. Very precocious flowering and very late maturation. It is cultivated in all the Ebro valley, from Zaragoza to Tarragona, and in the bordering provinces of Lérida and Teruel (Spain).


” Tuono’ 
Hard shell fruit. When ripe, they maintain the peduncles of the fruits on the tree. 30-40% yield on shelling; the proportion of double almonds varies between 15 and 30%. Very late flowering and early maturation. Variety of Puglia (Italy).

” Ferragnès”
Fruits of quite large size, slightly pointed and of brown skin, not very rough. Very late flowering and maturation at the end of September in the region of Nimes (France). It originated from ” Cristomorto’ x “Ai’, in France.

” Ferraduel”
Hard, wide and flattened shell, with thin, dark brown skin. Very late flowering and maturation at the end of September in the region of Nimes (France). It originated from “Cristomorto x “Ai’, in France.

” Ferralise’
Small, thick, clear and very smooth almond. Hard shell, 30% yield on shelling. Very late flowering. Original from the cross ” Ferragnès” x ” Ferraduel”.

” Bonita’
Medium size almond, thick, pale colour, stripped, very attractive. 23% yield on shelling. Late flowering. Portuguese variety.

” Casa Nova’
Great almond, flattened, quite rough. 20% yield on shelling. Later flowering than other Portuguese varieties.

” Parada’
Quite large, wide, dark brown almond, slightly rough but highly appreciated in Portugal for its shape. 19-22% yield on shelling. Quite early flowering.

” Verdal”
Quite large an almond, flattened and with a very good taste. 24% yield on shelling. Early flowering. Portuguese variety.

” Nonpareil”
Slightly elongate, thick almonds, with very pale and thin skin. The shell is also very thin. 60-65% yield on shelling. Very early maturation. It is the classic Californian variety.

” Ne plus ultra’
Known as ” Neplus”. The appearance of this fruit in the shell is attractive, elongate and clear, but the almond is long and flat, usually with folds and wrinkles. 55-60% yield on shelling. Early flowering and spread out over a long period of time. Californian variety.

” Texas”
Thick fruit. Late flowering and maturation in the middle of October, in Nimes (France). Its origin is California.

Varieties, Sizes and Grades

Varieties size and grades

Chico Nut Company grows, processes and packs bulk wholesale shelled, inshell, natural, raw California Almonds. We specialize in supplying confectionary industries around the world with the highest quality almonds that meet each customers’ precise specifications for size, variety and grade.

Almond Varieties

Shelled, Natural, Raw Almonds

Nonpareil, Carmel, Price, Fritz, Monterey, Padre, Butte, Mission

Inshell, Natural Raw Almonds

Nonpareil, Peerless

Almond Sizes

  • 16/18, 18/20, 20/22, 22/24, 23/25, 25/27, 27/30, 30/32, 32/34, 36/40
  • Custom order specifications

USDA Grades

  • S. Extra No. 1
  • S. No. 1
  • S. Select Sheller Run
  • S. Standard Sheller Run
  • S. Whole & Broken


When planting a new orchard, precautions should be taken to prevent tree loss. Care should be taken to reduce direct damage to the trees. Trees should be planted as soon as possible once received from the nursery. Always cover bare roots with a tarp when transporting trees on back of a trailer, making sure to keep the roots moist. If the trees are heeled in, fumigated soil or sawdust should be used and excess moisture should be avoided. Cold storage should be avoided if possible. If cold storage is necessary, then trees should be fully dormant and the roots kept moist.

Care should be taken to ensure that trees are properly planted. In heavy soils, planting on berms is recommended to help drain water away from the crown of the tree. Berms should be pulled before planting to ensure that the graft union is above the soil. Do not pull a berm after planting as this may cover the graft union. Planting depth after settling should be no deeper than in the nursery and the graft union should always be well above the soil line. Holes should be dug deep enough to accept the root system; no deeper. If a crust or soil glaze occurs, break up or slice to ensure proper root growth.

Planting trees high will help reduce losses to the root disease Phytophthora. The only exception is trees grafted to Marianna 2624 plum rootstock; they should be planted at the same depth they were at the nursery to avoid suckering from the roots.

When planting, try to follow some of these tips:

  • Dig a hole deep enough so the roots are spread out and not cramped.
  • Plant the trees so that the nursery soil line is above the current soil line.
  • Plant the highest root a little above the soil line and cover it with extra dirt.
  • When planting, allow for 3-6 inches of settling in the planting hole.

Upon planting, soil should be tamped firmly with the foot to eliminate air pockets. Be careful not to break any roots. After planting, trees should be tanked in with 1 to 3 gallon of water unless the soil is very moist. This water will help moisten dry soil and fill in small air pockets. Avoid over irrigation as excess water may cause saturated conditions that kill small roots due to poor aeration and/or the root pathogen Phytophthora. More water should be used if trees are planted late during warm weather, planted in dry soil, or if the soil cannot be tamped firmly around the roots due to soil conditions. Keep in mind that a rain immediately after planting does not provide enough water to settle the soil around the root system.

Fertilizers should not be applied until after the trees leaf out. Apply small amounts of fertilizer, no more than 1 ounce of actual nitrogen, frequently throughout the first growing season. If using granular fertilizers, make sure that they are applied within the wetting pattern of the irrigation system. Avoid applying fertilizers to the trunk of the tree to prevent burning. Never apply fertilizers to the planting hole as this may burn back fine feeder roots.

Careful planning and preparation from the beginning will yield a good return for the efforts applied. Mistakes made at the beginning of an orchard will be present for the duration of the orchard’s life. This is one of the times in which effort or expense should not be spared.


Fertilizer Application

Mature bearing trees:


In almond trees, nitrogen is needed to renew and invigorate fruiting wood. Also, it is needed for fruit growth and development. The greatest need for nitrogen occurs when the almond trees came into production. At this time, the demand for nitrogen is due to fruit development, foliage formation and tree storage in roots and branches. We must meet the tree demand for nitrogen, since a shortage of this element can reduce yields.

Most of the nitrogen applied to an almond orchard becomes part of the kernel, hull and shell. Therefore, the projected yield of the orchard can be used to estimate the need to replace nitrogen removed in the crop. Apply approximately 33 gr of nitrogen for each 326 gr of projected Kernel (meat) yield.

Over-fertilization can lead to excessive vegetative growth, which can create shading for fruiting wood. Furthermore, over-fertilization will increase production costs and will lead to water contamination.

Maximize Efficiency: 

  • Apply N only when leaves are present and the tree roots are active.
  • Apply a uniform irrigation that is adequate to carry the N into but not past the root zone.
  • At young nonbearing trees apply nitrogen as long as irrigation continues.
  • Mature trees need most of the N in early spring, therefore, a late summer application of part of the N before an irrigation will provide the tree with N for early spring growth. The rest of the N needed should be applied during the spring.
  • Fertigation is very efficient in N applications.
  • Analyze leaves to fine tune N level to the orchard. Maintain the level in the adequate range. Application reaches 200-250 kg of N/ha. Post harvest application of 50 kg/ha is also recommended. 2.5 -3.0 % out of D.M in tissue analysis.


Almond kernels contain 0.75% K (USDA data); and potassium represents more than 2% of the dry weight of almond hulls (Calixto, 1982). Among soil-derived nutrients, potassium and nitrogen are removed in the greatest quantities. Leaf analyses are usually performed on leaves sampled when nutrient concentration is relatively stable. However, analysis this late in the growing season allows the grower plenty of hindsight, but scant opportunity to correct deficiencies.
Application of 250 kg of K (elemental), 1.4% out of D.M in tissue analysis.


Application will follow according to tissue analysis.

Foliar Nutrition –  It is recommended to spray:

  • 1% Poly-Feed™ 20-20-20 or 23-7-23 or 21-21-21 foliar nutrition in 3 cycles during fruit set. First spray should be applied after flower petal fall and two additional with an interval of 7-10 days between application. These foliar applications correct transient nutrient deficiencies due to strong temporal demand for macronutrients and possible weak uptake by roots in the early spring time.
  • 2%-4% Haifa Bonus 13-2-44 during kernels filling, two sprays with an interval of 7-10 days.


2 kg/ha B when deficiency occurs. Boron deficiency may be a problem in any orchard on sandy soils and/or where irrigation water is low in B, causes the following problems:

  • Low nut set
  • Excessive nut drop
  • Malformed nuts
  • Undesirable vegetative growth


Foliar B should be applied al early post-harvest, which is more effective than spring or dormant sprays. Sprays at hull split may also be effective, but have not been sufficiently tested. In California, B toxicity (leaf B 87 ppm or more) and deficiency both present problems.


Zn deficiency is controlled with sprays of 19-29 g ZnSO4/l in the dormant period and by foliar sprays of 6 g ZnO/l applied in mid-season.


Young non-bearing trees:
Better to be followed by N and K at the same ratio for better uptake of nitrogen.
First year – 100 – 150 gr N/tree.
Second year – 200 – 300 gr N/tree.
Third year – 350 – 500 gr N/tree.


Common Pests and Diseases

Almond leaf scorch; golden death
Xylella fastidiosa


Chlorotic leaf margins; necrosis of leaf margins beginning toward tip of leaf and spreading to base; patches of necrotic tissue with chlorotic margin




More of tree will be affected each year; bacterium can infect rye, blackberry and nettle and if these plants are nearby they may act as reservoir; transmitted by leafhoppers and spittle bugs


If discovered early (while disease affects only one branch) disease can be removed by pruning primary scaffold 5 to 10 ft below symptoms; older infections may require the tree to be removed and replaced


Crown gall
Agrobacterium tumefaciens


Galls of various sizes on roots and root crown below the soil line; galls may occasionally grow on the trunk; galls are initially light coloured bulges which grow larger and darken; galls may be soft and spongy or hard; if galling is severe and girdles the trunk then young trees are weakened due to constricted vascular tissue; trees may be stunted and rarely die




The bacterium enters host plants through wounds and causes plant cells to proliferate and cells to be undifferentiated, leading to the formation of a gall


Only plant disease-free nursery stock; plant trees in well-draining soils; avoid wounding the plants as much as possible; fresh wounds can be treated with a biocontrol agent (Agrobacterium tumefaciensK84), if available, to prevent the bacterium colonizing


Alternaria leaf spot
Alternaria alternata


Light brown lesions on leaves which expand to form circular lesions on leaf blade or semi-circular lesions on margin; leaves may develop light yellow necrosis which dries and turns tan in center of leaves; infected leaves dropping from tree; fruit does not drop from tree




Disease emergence favors warm weather


Late spring treatment with appropriate fungicide if Alternaria symptoms are present


Colletotrichum acutatum


Blighting of blossom; dieback of limbs; death of foliage with leaves remaining attached; nuts with orange lesions




All cultivars susceptible; occurs more often in warm, wet conditions


Fungicide treatment and cultural practices required to control disease. Orchards with a history of anthracnose infections should be sprayed at 5-10% bloom and applications should be repeated every 10 to 14 days; dead infected branches should be pruned; low angle nozzles should be used in orchards with spray irrigation to prevent wetting of leaves


Hull rot
Rhizopus stolonifer


Monolinia spp


Monilia on a tender fruit Almond


Tan lesions on hulls which enlarge and cause fruit to shrivel; dark gray spore masses visible between hull and shell; leaves in proximity to infected fruit may wither and curl; leaf death occurs on side of shoot closest to infected fruit




Hulls of fruit are susceptible to hull rot until they are dry


Management of irrigation should be practiced. Reduce irrigation at hull split; demethylation inhibitor and quinone outside inhibitor fungicide may be applied in combination with irrigation management


Brown Rot Blossom Blight
Monolinia laxa


Blighted blossoms; stigma and anther of flowers turning brown and necrotic; blossom collapsing and turning brown; light brown powdery fungal masses may be visible on infected flowers; gummy exudate at base of flowers; cankers forming on twigs associated with blossoms




Disease emergence favors frequent rainfall during bloom


Fungicide application at 5-10% bloom and full bloom to protect flowers; one application at full bloom usually sufficient if there is no rainfall; two or three applications should be made if bloom is accompanied by rainfall


Shot hole
Wilsonomyces carpophilus


Circular purplish spots on foliage which enlarge and turn chlorotic then tan; drying of lesions causes missle of lesion to drop out of leaf causing small holes to develop




Spores transmitted in water; disease more common in wet conditions


If fungal fruiting structures are present in Fall (visible under a hand lens as small black spots in the center of lesions) then a fall treatment with fungicide is required; fungicide should be applied before wet periods to protect tree


Verticillium wilt (Blackheart)
Verticillium dahliae


Leaves on one side of tree turning yellow; wilting early in season




Fungus overwinters on soil, recurring each year; problematic if orchard is interplanted with other susceptible plants e.g. cotton, tomato, melon


Orchards should not be intercropped with susceptible plants e.g. cotton, tomatoes or melons; solarization or fumigation of soil prior to planting may be used to kill fungi in soil


Pavement ant (Southern fire ant)
Tetramorium caespitum
Solenopsis xyloni, S. molesta

pavement ant

southern fly


Hollowed out nuts on ground




Prevalent in orchards using drip or spray irrigation


Monitor orchard for ants in April and May; apply ant baits before harvest to manage high ant populations; remove nuts from orchard floor as soon as possible


Almond brownline and decline
Peach yellow leafroll mycoplasma


Stunted tree growth; drooping/wilting of leaves; brown necrotic areas under bark




Most common on young trees; grow trees from pathogen free stock


Stunted trees should be removed and replaced; plant only certified pathogen free trees


Almond kernel shrivel
Peach yellow leafroll phytoplasma


Late blooming; new growth stunted; paler, smaller leaves; kernels of nuts shrivelled at harvest




Most common where peach rootstock has been used for grafting; remove infected trees


Remove diseased trees; plant only certified trees.


Almond trees (Prunus dulcis) are ready for harvesting from early August through late September, depending upon variety. While the fruit is commonly referred to as a nut it’s actually a drupe, similar to a cherry. The shell surrounding the fruit is enveloped in a leathery hull that looks a little like a green peach. The outer husk becomes dry, splits open and falls from the tree when the fruit is fully mature. Since raw almonds are associated with outbreaks of Salmonella, it’s important that you process your hand-harvested crop properly to avoid illness.


Transportation and Storage


Since almonds have a high fat content, it is important to store them properly in order to protect them from becoming rancid. Store shelled almonds in a tightly sealed container, in a cool dry place away from exposure to sunlight. Keeping them cold will further protect them from rancidity and prolong their freshness. Refrigerated almonds will keep for several months, while if stored in the freezer, almonds can be kept for up to a year. Shelled almond pieces will become rancid more quickly than whole shelled almonds. Almonds still in the shell have the longest shelf life.

Almonds are usually shipped in cartons or bags. It is a delicate commodity which is easily damaged by moisture, heat, odours or contact with unclean goods, especially when shelled. Moisture damage in shelled almonds occurs when humidity is high. Minor damage may be cleared by ventilation, while heavier damage, seen as mould, can often be rectified by drying and brushing. Heat will cause kernels to become rancid. If not fumigated before shipment, almonds may suffer from infestation. Any such infestation is usually by attack in the country of origin. When water-damaged, almonds can attract flies and subsequent maggot growth which gives off cadaver-type odour. The development stage of beetles, maggots, etc., will provide indication of time of infestation.


At a relative humidity of 65%-70% and -3° / 0°C temperature, almonds have a storage potential of approx. one year. Travel temperatures of approx. 5°C/25°C are feasible, but >30°C should be avoided for longer periods, as self-heating may be promoted. Overseas shipment preferably in ventilated containers.



Risk factors

  • Self heating/spontaneous combustion
  • Odour
  • Contamination
  • Mechanical influences
  • Toxicity
  • Shrinkage/shortage
  • Insect infestation

Postharvest Care

During this time period, there are three important cultural practices that need to be considered by almond growers. They include irrigation, nitrogen fertilization and pruning.

  • Post-harvest irrigation is very important to keep the leaves active and functioning until normal leaf drop, which typically takes place at the end of October, early November. By preventing premature defoliation, we let the tree transition its nutrients from the leaves back to the fruiting spurs. The nutrients that are known to migrate from the leaves to the spurs at the onset of leaf fall are nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous. These nutrients play major roles in bloom development and fruit set.


If the orchard does prematurely defoliate due to lack of water, irrigate to encourage re-growth. This may reduce yields in the following year, but yield loss will not be as significant as not watering at all. If watering does not occur, not only will fruit bud differentiation be poor, the orchard will suffer from premature flower drop in late winter. The best advice is to avoid this situation all together by properly managing your water during the harvest period.

  • After irrigation, nitrogen fertilization is the most important cultural practice in an almond orchard. For most of our orchards, split nitrogen applications provide the most efficient use of nitrogen. A post-harvest nitrogen application can be of 20 to 40 pounds per application – dependent upon tree age- totaling no more than 10 to 20 percent of the total nitrogen applied to the orchard. Research has shown that trees are not able to uptake more than 50 pounds of nitrogen i the postharvest period.
  • If pruning is scheduled, it should occur after the harvest is completed. During this time, it is easy to distinguish between old, diseased, dead and new wood. Remember to remove diseased branches 6-12 inches beyond the last sign of diseased tissue (i.e. canker). If possible, avoid pruning during the rain or if rain is within the 3-5-day forecast. Pruning cuts take 7-21 days to heal and can provide entrance for fungal pathogens.


The overall value of pruning itself has been questioned by recent UC research. Data has indicated that heavy pruning reduces the following crops yield and costs money to perform. When making the decision to prune, think of the real reasons you want to prune.


Almond Exporters

Top Almonds Exporters by Country

Unshelled almonds

Combined exports of shelled plus in-shell almonds by country totalled US$6.3 billion during 2016. That dollar amount represents an overall 29.7% increase for all almonds shippers over the five-year period starting in 2012.

Among continents, North American countries accounted for the highest dollar worth of shelled and in-shell almonds shipped during 2016 valued at $4.3 billion or over two-thirds (67.7%) of the global total. In second place were European exporters at 18.6% while 6.8% of worldwide almonds shipments originated from Asia. Oceania exporters, almost exclusively in Australia, provided 5.5% worth of almonds.

The 6-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix is 080211 for fresh or dried almonds in shell, 080212 for unshelled almonds.


 Almond Exporting Companies

Below are American companies that sell almonds internationally. Most of these businesses are headquartered in California.

  • Big Tree Organic Farms
  • Blue Diamond Growers
  • Chico Nut Company
  • Crown Nut Co
  • Mariani Nut Company
  • South Valley Almond Company
  • The Almond Co
  • The Wonderful Company

According to global trading platform Alibaba, the following suppliers also supply almonds to their customers. The home-country location for each business is shown within parentheses:

  • P & B International Pty Ltd (Australia)
  • Exportadora Baika SA (Chile)
  • Gervais Henri Florent (France)
  • Alfafood GmbH (Germany)
  • DI Sano SRL (Italy)
  • Boumamar Trading (Netherlands)
  • Mine Dor Danismanlik Dis Ticaret Limited Sirketi (Turkey)
  • Al Osool Foodstuff Trading LLC (United Arab Emirates)
  • Beatty Davids Limited (United Kingdom)
  • Summit Almonds LLC (United States)





Top Almond Producing Countries


Rank Country Annual Almond Production in Metric Tons
1 United States 898,167
2 Spain 229,959
3 Italy 100,664
4 Iran 99,551
5 Syria 84,485
6 Morocco 72,360
7 Tunisia 49,605
8 Turkey 49,048
9 Australia 46,381
10 Greece 45,150


The United States dominates the global production of almonds, followed by traditional almond growers Spain and Italy. California, the largest almond producer in the world, is the only place in North America that grows almond for commercial purposes. The harvest is usually enough to feed the nation and export to other countries. Other countries mostly produce almond for home use. Apart from California, the Middle East, and European countries also produce the fruit. Germany is the biggest importer of almonds followed by Japan and the Netherlands.

The United States

The US is the dominant producer of almond in the world producing 898,167 metric tons annually. California is the primary producing region. About 70% of the almonds are exported in shelled form and the rest processed or sold unshelled. Cultivation of almonds in California is in a mild climate, fertile soils, and abundant sunshine, with state of the art equipment and techniques during growth, harvesting, processing, and packaging. When production reduces in California, the effect impacts on the global market and the price of almonds increase. Such case happened in 2015, resulting in an increased demand of almonds worldwide. The US cultivates the sweet variety of almonds for food purposes either locally or internationally.


Spain produces approximately 229,959 metric tons annually and has a broad range of commercial cultivators. Cultivation takes place in region of Valencia, Catalonia, Andalusia, Murcia, and Aragon. The Marcona and Desmayo Largueta are the major varieties cultivated and accounts for almost 40% of the country production output. The modern orchards grow Ferragnes Ferraduel and Cristomorto varieties. The nut is mostly consumed in its raw form, toasted to create a savory snack, as a flavor element in “ajo blancho” the Spanish soup, and turron.


In Italy, the production of bitter almonds from apricots facilitates the preparation of Amaretti, a typical dessert in the country. A few bitter almonds can also be used to add a bitter flavor in cookies. The majority of homes also use almonds in preparing torrone and an almond paste called the pasta di mandorle. The country produces approximately 100,664 metric tons yearly in the green hilly city of Sicily, and in most Southern cities.


Iran annual production of almonds is about 99,551 metric tons. Cultivation takes place in the North West of Iran and Tabriz region, and the Amygdalus communis variety of the almond is native to the country. The country cultivates both the sweet variety and bittersweet varieties. The trees are obtained from seeds, with India as the primary export market. The produced green almonds are dipped in sea salt and sold as snacks in the streets. Sweet almonds are used to prepare, harire badan, a baby food, and as a flavor in foods and desserts. The nuts provide a delicacy in New Year events in Iran.


Morocco produces 72,360 metric tons of sweet almonds annually. The nut cultivation is in many zones with ideal Mediterranean conditions for growth. The growing of Seedling trees and grafted trees are common. 65% of the almond produced is by small scale farming. The yields are lower compared to the smaller large scale semi-intensive farming. The nut is used to make an almond paste the primary ingredient in pastry fillings and many deserts. Other uses of the fruit include preparation of Sellou a sweet snack with a long shelf life, to make a spread known as amlou or almond beverages.


Cultivation of Almonds in Turkey takes place in the areas of Marmara, Mersin, the Mediterranean, and Aegean. The country production is small, 49,048 metric tons annually. The cultivated varieties include nonpareil, Teksas, Ferragnes, and Ferrastar. The climate variations enable the country to cultivate many varieties without compromising quality. The primary use of the nut is in the chocolate, confectionery, and baking industries to improve on flavour.


The country is the biggest almond producer in the Southern Hemisphere with about 46,381 metric tons annually. Almond production is in the region around the Murray River like Victoria, News South Wales, and South Australia. The varieties cultivated include Nonpareil, Chellaston, Mission, and Firtz. In the country, they are majorly used in their raw form, to make almond essences, and for imroving flavors in food.


With about 45,150 tons’ almond production per year, the cultivation in Greece is common around Magnesia, Almyros. The country cultivates Ferragnes and Teksas almonds which are highly marketable for their quality and taste. Almonds are used in Greece to make desserts, called amygdalota, as wedding sweets, and utilized in the preparation of Soumanda, a soft drink.




Almonds are edible tree nuts, grown principally in California. The nuts are harvested from orchards and transported to almond processing facilities, where the almonds are hulled and shelled. The function of an almond huller/sheller is to remove the hull and shell of the almond from the nut, or meat. Orchard debris, soil, and pebbles represent 10 to 25 percent of the field weight of material brought to the almond processing facility. Clean almond meats are obtained as about 20 percent of the field weight.

Processes for removing the debris and almond hulls and shells are potential sources of air emissions.

Process Description

After almonds are collected from the field, they undergo two processing phases, post-harvest processing and finish processing. These phases are typically conducted at two different facilities. There are two basic types of almond post-harvest processing facilities:

  • those that produce hulled, inshell almonds as a final product (known as hullers)
  • and those that produce hulled, shelled, almond meats as a final product (known as huller/shellers).

Almond precleaning, hulling, and separating operations are common to both types of facilities. The huller/sheller includes additional steps to remove the almond meats from their shells. The hulled, shelled almond meats are shipped to large production facilities where the almonds may undergo further processing into various end products. Almond harvesting, along with pre-cleaning, hulling, shelling, separating, and final processing operations, is discussed in more detail below. Almond harvesting and processing are a seasonal industry, typically beginning in August and running from two to four months. However, the beginning and duration of the season vary with the weather and with the size of the crop. The almonds are harvested either manually, by knocking the nuts from the tree limbs with a long pole, or mechanically, by shaking them from the tree.

Typically, the almonds remain on the ground for 7 to 10 days to dry. The fallen almonds are then swept into rows. Mechanical pickers gather the rows for transport to the almond huller or huller/sheller. Some portion of the material in the gathered rows includes orchard debris, such as leaves, grass, twigs, pebbles, and soil. The fraction of debris is a function of farming practices (tilled versus untilled), field soil characteristics, and age of the orchard, and it can range from less than 5 to 60 percent of the material collected. On average, field weight yields 13 percent debris, 50 percent hulls, 14 percent shells, and 23 percent clean almond meats and pieces, but these ratios can vary substantially from farm to farm. The almonds are delivered to the processing facility and are dumped into a receiving pit. The almonds are transported by screw conveyors and bucket elevators to a series of vibrating screens. The screens selectively remove orchard debris, including leaves, soil, and pebbles.

A destoner removes stones, dirt clods, and other larger debris. A detwigger removes twigs and small sticks. The air streams from the various screens, destoners, and detwiggers are ducted to cyclones or fabric filters for particulate matter removal. The recovered soil and fine debris, such as leaves and grass, are disposed of by spreading on surrounding farmland. The recovered twigs may be chipped and used as fuel for co-generation plants. The pre-cleaned almonds are transferred from the pre-cleaner area by another series of conveyors and elevators to storage bins to await further processing. (In some instances, the pre-cleaned almonds may be conveyed to a dryer before storage. However, field drying is used in most operations.) Almonds are conveyed on belt and bucket conveyors to a series of hulling cylinders or shear rolls, which crack the almond hulls. Hulling cylinders are typically used in almond huller facilities. Series of shear rolls are generally used in huller/shellers. The hulling cylinders have no integral provision for aspiration of shell pieces. Shear rolls, on the other hand, do have integral aspiration to remove shell fragments from loose hulls and almond meats. The cracked almonds are then discharged to a series of vibrating screens or a gravity table, which separates hulls and unhulled almonds from the in-shell almonds, almond meats, and fine trash. The remaining unhulled almonds pass through additional hulling cylinders or shear rolls and screen separators. The number of passes and the combinations of equipment vary among facilities. The hulls are conveyed to storage and sold as an ingredient in the manufacture of cattle feed. The fine trash is ducted to a cyclone or fabric filter for collection and disposal. In a hulling facility, the hulled, in-shell almonds are separated from any remaining hull pieces in a series of air legs (counter-flow forced air gravity separators) and are then graded, collected, and sold as finished product, along with an inevitable small percentage of almond meats. In huller/shellers, the in-shell almonds continue through more shear rolls and screen separators. As the in-shell almonds make additional passes through sets of shear rolls, the almond shells are cracked or sheared away from the meat. More sets of vibrating screens separate the shells from the meats and small shell pieces. The separated shells are aspirated and collected in a fabric filter or cyclone, and then conveyed to storage for sale as fuel for co-generation plants. The almond meats and small shell pieces are conveyed on vibrating conveyor belts and bucket elevators to air classifiers or air legs that separate the small shell pieces from the meats. The number of these air separators varies among facilities. The shell pieces removed by these air classifiers are also collected and stored for sale as fuel for co-generation plants. The revenues generated from the sale of hulls and shells are generally sufficient to offset the costs of operating the almond processing facility. The almond meats are then conveyed to a series of gravity tables or separators (classifier screen decks), which sort the meats by lights, middling, goods, and heavies. Lights, middling, and heavies, which still contain hulls and shells, are returned to various points in the process. Goods are conveyed to the finished meats box for storage. Any remaining shell pieces are aspirated and sent to shell storage. The almond meats are now ready either for sales as raw product or for further processing, typically at a separate facility. The meats may be blanched, sliced, diced, roasted, salted, or smoked. Small meat pieces may be ground into meal or pastes for bakery products. Almonds are roasted by gradual heating in a rotating drum. They are heated slowly to prevent the skins and outer layers from burning. Roasting time develops the flavour and affects the colour of the meats. To obtain almonds with a light brown colour and a medium roast requires a 500-pound roaster fuelled with natural gas about 1.25 hours at 118°C (245°F).





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