Southern California - August 6, 2012
This report covers conditions and observations made between Monday, July 2 and Sunday, August 5, 2012.
The next report is scheduled for Monday, September 3, 2012. However, in the event of any significant occurrences prior to that date, this site will be updated as soon as possible.
Our photos for the southern region present a windrow of the Nonpareil variety ready to be picked up and the hull split of the Price, both in Kern County. Our final image presents a sample of an infestation of web-spinning mites, which are popping up in areas of the San Joaquin Valley.
Dry, hot conditions in the southern region were interrupted at mid-month by a flow of monsoonal moisture encroaching from the south, bringing cloudy skies and trace amounts of rain to the southern San Joaquin. Morning low temperatures ranged from the mid and upper 50’s to mid 70’s, with highest readings reported during the period’s second week in advance of the monsoonal flow. Daily maximums were reported between 90 and 103 degrees for much of the period. However, readings dropped briefly into the 80’s on the 17th and 18th, in the wake of the monsoonal moisture. A second, weaker shot of monsoonal moisture flowed across the region on Saturday, August 4th, bringing broken clouds to the region, but failing to produce more than a few drops of rain and a bit of lightning.
The 2012 harvest in the southern region is now underway. In the Kern County area and along the west side of the region, preparations for the harvest have been completed, or nearly so, and growers have begun shaking the Nonpareil. This is approximately 10 days earlier than last year’s very late harvest timing. Observers are reporting that the higher temperatures experienced during the period appeared to reduce the pace of hull split as the trees endured the additional water stress imposed by the heat. However, increased irrigation and a reduction in temperatures helped to promote a return to the normal pace of development. Observers are reporting that the crop in the trees shaken thus far is coming off easily and that the trees are shaking cleanly. Observers are also noting that the hull split has begun in several pollenizer varieties, including Carmel, Sonora, Butte, Padre and several California type varieties. Some have even reported the first signs of split initiated in the late harvesting Monterey.
In Madera County, farther to the north, growers are completing the final pre-harvest tasks. As during July, Irrigation and weed control are the main tasks for those with a week or two to go before shaking as they work to ensure that the orchard floor is in the proper condition to accept the shaken crop.
Observers around the region are reporting that orchards there are beginning to show symptoms of salt damage. The dry winter failed to wash accumulated salts from the soil profile and they have now built to levels capable causing some degree of leaf burn. Given that some irrigation districts are rapidly approaching the end of their delivery season, there is a good chance that the level of damage will increase prior to the end of the growing season.
As may be seen in the accompanying photos, the increased stress means that pressure from web-spinning mites is also on the rise. This has prompted growers with the worst infestations to treat their orchards in an effort to reduce the potential for premature defoliation. While pressure from Navel Orange Worm, NOW, has been very light this year, growers in the region are keenly aware that Pest Control Advisors are reporting the emergence of another “flight” of adult NOW in the next few days. Treatment at this late stage is problematic and growers would like to have their Nonpareil on the ground prior to the flight, where the insect is less interested in laying its eggs.
Huller/sheller operators were completing the last pre-harvest task prior to the arrival of crop from the fields. Those whose growers have started shaking are anticipating the start of the shelling season during the coming week.
Current weather at the National Weather Service
Photos: Ernie Reichmuth and Gerald Guthrie, 8/6/12
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