Seth Hoyt
Author of The Hoyt Report, providing hay market analysis and insight.

Almond and pistachio trees are still being planted in California’s Central Valley, according to sources. Some of these orchards are being planted on ground where alfalfa hay was produced in the past. Almond prices have dropped considerably from the highs in 2015 of over $4.50 a pound to a range of $2.10 to $2.90 a pound in early December 2016, according to the Western Farm Press. I’ve been told that there is still profitability in growing almonds, especially those growers who converted farmland to almonds from other crops; perhaps not so much for those who paid $30,000 or more per acre for almond land in recent years. The positive for the industry is that lower prices have pushed U.S. almond exports higher, with very strong shipments to China and the Middle East in October, according to the California Almond Board. The bottom line: Almond and pistachio tree planting in Central California continues to displace alfalfa hay and other crops.