Commercial almond farming is a very common and old business in some countries. Almond is actually native to Iran and surrounding countries. But today, it is also widely cultivated in many other places around the world.
The almond (Prunus amygdalus, syn. Prunus dulcis) is actually a species of tree. But the almond is also the name of the edible and widely cultivated seed of this tree.
Within the genus Prunus, it is classified with the peach in the subgenus Amygdalus, distinguished from the other subgenera by corrugations on the shell (endocarp) surrounding the seed.
Actually, the fruit of the almond is a drupe, consisting of an outer hull and a hard shell with the seed, which is not a true nut, inside. (shelling almonds refers to removing the shell to reveal the seed).
Almonds are generally sold shelled or unshelled depending on market demand and price. And the balanced almonds are the shelled almonds that have been treated with hot water to soften the seedcoat, which is then removed to reveal the white embryo.
Total global production of almonds was 3.5 million tonnes in 2019, led by the United States providing 55% of the world total. Other leading almond producers were Spain, Iran and Turkey.
However, commercial almond farming is a very good and profitable business. You can start this business for making money easily.
Nutritional Value of Almond
Almonds are very nutritious and they are very good for human health. Almonds are around 4% water, 22% carbohydrates, 21% protein and about 50% fat.
A 100 grams serving of almond supply 2420 kilojoules of food energy. It is a nutritionally dense food providing a rich source (20% or more of the Daily Value, DV) of the B vitamins riboflavin and niacin, vitamin E, and the essential minerals calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc.
Almonds are also a moderate source of the B vitamins thiamine, vitamin B6, and folate, choline, and the essential mineral potassium. They also contain substantial dietary fiber, the monounsaturated fat, oleic acid, and the polyunsaturated fat, linoleic acid.
Typical of nuts and seeds, almonds are a source of phytosterols such as beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol, campesterol, sitostanol, and campestanol.
Health Benefits of Consuming Almond
Almonds are considered as best for human health. They are included as a good source of protein among recommended healthy foods by US Department of Agriculture.
A 2016 review clinical research indicated that regular consumption of almonds may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood levels of LDL cholesterol. Here we are trying to list the top advantages of consuming almonds.
- Almonds are among the very popular tree nuts. They are high in healthy monounsaturated fats, fiber, protein and various important nutrients.
- Typical of nuts and seeds, almonds are a source of phytosterols such as beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol, campesterol, sitostanol, and campestanol.
- Almonds are also a moderate source of the B vitamins thiamine, vitamin B6, and folate, choline, and the essential mineral potassium.
- They also contain substantial dietary fiber, the monounsaturated fat, oleic acid, and the polyunsaturated fat, linoleic acid.
- Almonds are loaded with antioxidants that can protect your cells from oxidative damage, a major contributor to aging and disease.
- Almonds are high in vitamin E, and they are among the world’s best sources of vitamin E. Regular consumption of almonds and getting plenty of vitamin E from foods is linked to numerous health benefits.
- Eating one or two handfuls of almonds per day can lead to mild reductions in “bad” LDL cholesterol, potentially reducing the risk of heart disease.
- “Bad” LDL cholesterol can become oxidized, which is a crucial step in the development of heart disease. Snacking on almonds has been shown to significantly reduce oxidized LDL.
- Almonds can also assist you with blood sugar control. They are extremely high in magnesium, a mineral that many people don’t get enough of. High intake of magnesium may offer major improvements of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
- Magnesium also benefits right blood pressure levels. Generally low magnesium intake are strongly linked to high blood pressure. And regular consumption of almonds can help to control blood pressure level.
- Most of the nuts are low in carbs, they are high in protein and fiber. Eating almonds on a regular basis reduces hunger, lowering your overall calorie intake.
- Although, almonds are high in calories, but eating them doesn’t seem to promote weight gain. Some studies even suggest the opposite (showing that almonds can enhance weight loss).
Advantages of Almond Farming Business
Commercial almond farming is a very old and common business. And large scale or commercial almond farming is a very easy and profitable business. And it’s possible to make good profits from this business.
Starting commercial almond farming business is relatively easy and simple, even the beginners can also start this business. We recommend learning from existing farmers. Here we are trying to list the top advantages/benefits of commercial almond farming business.
- The main advantages of commercial almond farming business is it’s high demand and value in the market. Demands and value both are high in the domestic and international market.
- Large scale almond farming is an old and established business. It is a very good and profitable business in many countries around the world.
- Many people are already doing this business commercially for making high profits. So, you don’t have to worry much about starting and operating this business.
- Although it’s a very easy and simple business, but we recommend learning from existing farmers. Learning practically from existing farmers will help you to start and run your business perfectly.
- Large scale or commercial almond farming is very profitable and you will be able to make good profits from this business.
- Initial investment requirement in commercial almond farming business is relatively low as compared to many other commercial crops.
- As we have mentioned previously, both demand and value of almond are very high in the market. So, you don’t have to worry much about it.
- Almonds are already very popular in both domestic and international market. So, you don’t have to worry much about marketing your products.
- Almond plants generally require less caring and other management, and the caring process is very easy and simple.
- Commercial production of almonds is very profitable, so it can be a great employment source for the people. Especially for the educated unemployed people.
- Almonds are very nutritious and healthy. You can enjoy almonds daily in many different ways.
- You can enjoy fresh almonds throughout the year if you start your own almond production business.
How to Start Almond Farming Business
Starting commercial almond farming business is just like starting other crop farming business. And it’s very easy and simple to start this business. The plants generally grow well in relatively less caring and other management.
You can start this business commercially after learning form existing farmers. Here we are trying to describe more about the steps of starting and operating a successful almond farming business from planting, caring to harvesting and marketing.
Almond plants generally grow in a wide range of soils, with pH range of soil varies from 7.0 to 8.5. But loamy, deep and well drained soils are best suitable for commercial almond farming.
Almond trees can’t thrive well in heavy or poorly drained soils but can be grown in average soils supplemented with Farm Yard Manure and with regular assured irrigation.
Preparing the land perfectly is very important for commercial almond farming business. So, you have to prepare the land perfectly by 2-3 ploughing. And add as much organic fertilizers as you can while preparing the land.
Almond plants require climate having slightly hot summer temperature ranging from 30° C to 35° C, and cool winters for plants growth and kernel filling. (unopened blossoms shall withstand cold up to -2.2° C, but blossoms at petal fall stage are damaged at 0.50° C to -1.1° C.)
The blossoms can withstand temperature from -2.2° C to -3.3° C for a short time but if low temperature continuous for long hours they get damaged easily.
There are many varieties of almonds available to choose from. Common varieties include Nonpareil, Tuono and Mariana. And there are many commercial varieties available for higher production.
For example Le Grand, Padre, Sonora, Fritz, Ruby, Monterey, Butte, Thompson, Carmel, Peerless, Primorskij, Waris, Pranyaj, Shalimar, Makhdoom and Merced etc. are some varieties used for commercial almond farming in India.
You can choose any of the variety mentioned above. But consult with an existing farmer in your area for having better recommendation.
Almond trees are grown from grafted or budded and also from seeds. You can purchase plants from any of your nearest nurseries. You can also consider ordering the plants online.
The grafted or budded almond plants should be planted in a square system at a distance of either 3.5 meters X 3.5 meters (under high density planting system), 4 meter X 4 meters (medium high density system) and 6 meters X 6 meters (normal planting system).
Try to plant the almond plats from February to March if the center of the pit, provided by the desired bamboo supports to protect the almond trees from winds and to grow straight.
Almond plants generally grow well and require less caring and other management. Although, taking some additional care will help the plants to grow well and produce more. Here we are trying to describe more about the caring process of almond plants.
The almond trees are heavy feeder and they require a good amount of organic and chemical fertilizers. Apply as much organic fertilizers (Farm Yard Manure) as you can in each tree during winter.
Fertilizers doses should be applied on the basis of leaf nutrient analysis and soil test. Nitrogen/Urea should be applied in 2-3 split doses, and the first half dose should be applied along with DAP (full) and MOP (full) at fortnight before expected to bloom.
A second dose (1/4th) of Urea should be applied in May-June. Foliar spray of Urea about 1.5 to 2 percent may be given for promoting fruiting bud formation and subsequent growth in the next season.
Adequate irrigation/watering is a must for the almond plants. The critical stages of an almond plantation which are most sensitive to water shortages are flowing and fruit development.
However, adequate watering must be provided during these stage for getting a higher yield of quality almond nuts. The drip irrigation watering method found very efficient in almond farming. So, try to adopt drip irrigation for better water management.
Mulching is very helpful for retaining moisture into the soil. It is also helpful to prevent weeds from your field. You can use organic materials for using as mulch.
Intercropping of Almonds
During the almond orchard pre-bearing stage, inter-cultivation with several suitable crops are recommended for some extra income through sustainable utilization of interspaces.
Generally, the almond trees are not self-pollinating. So it is necessary to provide every 3rd row in each farm with pollinizer variety so that their bloom should coincide with each other.
Pests, Diseases, Disorders
Pests, diseases and disorders are relatively less in almond production business. Consult with an expert in your area if you notice any.
The nuts are normally harvested by manual plucking in more than 50% split stage. It begins to split open at the end of July and between mid to late August the splits widen which exposes the shell and this allows the nuts to dry. Make sure it’s dry for harvesting, rain may damage nuts quality.
Harvesting is generally done knocking the branches with sticks or manually but care to be taken to save the fruiting wood and branches while knocking the branches with sticks. Later on, the almond hull is removed manually.
The fruits require hulling just after harvesting almonds, otherwise they will be damaged by fungal infection very quickly. Then the nuts are sun-dried or dried by forced hot air until their moisture content reaches 5 to 7 percent. Polytunnels with a fan can also be used for best drying, and the almond nuts are then de-hulled and shelled.
It’s very hard to tell the exact amount. But on average, you can expect an average yield of up to 1 to 2 tonnes per hectare.
Marketing almonds is very easy and simple. You will be able to easily sell your products in the market. Demand and value of almonds both are high in the market.
These are the common steps and ways for starting and operating a successful almond farming business. Hope this guide has helped you! Good luck & may God bless you!