Northern California - September 3, 2012
This report covers conditions and observations made between Monday, August 6 and Sunday, September 2, 2012.
The next report is scheduled for Monday, October 1, 2012. However, in the event of any significant occurrences prior to that date, this site will be updated as soon as possible.
This report’s photos for the northern region present a shaker bringing down the crop in the Chico area of Butte County, followed by a sweeper preparing the crop for harvest in the Williams area of Colusa County and the harvested crop being stockpiled in the Durham area of Butte County.
Warmest conditions in the Sacramento Valley were experienced during the first half of the month, albeit at lower levels than experienced in the San Joaquin Valley to the south. Daily maximum temperatures quickly increased from the lower 90’s as the period began to peak above the 100 degree mark for 7 to 8 days during the first half of the month. Temperatures moderated during the latter half of the period, with readings dipping predominately into the low to mid 90’s as the period concluded. Morning low temperatures ranged from the upper 50’s during the period’s coolest days to as high as the lower 80’s during the early period heat wave.
The harvest is now fully underway in the Sacramento Valley with a majority of the Nonpareil variety now either on the orchard floor or already picked up as this report is being written. Observers are reporting that the crop is shaking cleanly, with uniform maturity. While temperatures during August were quite hot, the Sacramento Valley growers failed to experience the extreme conditions those in the San Joaquin Valley endured. Weather conditions during the harvest have allowed to nuts to dry quickly on the ground and harvest is proceeding unimpeded at this time.
Growers are reporting that the yield levels of the Nonpareil harvested thus far are running below those experienced last year. Additionally, many have reported smaller kernel sizes, most likely due to the stress induced by the elevated temperatures and relatively dry conditions resulting from the rain-starved winter of 2011/12.
Some growers have reported “hot spots” of Peach Twig Borer and Navel Orange Worm damage. However, no widespread losses have been reported at this time. While some have seen spider mite populations increase during the period, observers have not reported the widespread difficulties experienced by San Joaquin Valley growers.
As the Nonpareil is removed from each field, growers are moving quickly to irrigate their plantings in order eliminate moisture related stresses. Observers have noted increasing water stress during the period and growers want to be sure to provide enough water to eliminate complications for the buds developing for the next crop and to prevent excessive defoliation that could impede the harvest of the pollenizer varieties over the coming weeks. Some producers along the west side of the region have already begun shaking the Carmel and Aldrich varieties and growers are hopeful that the harvest will be completed with no weather related difficulties.
Current weather at the National Weather Service
Photos: Dennis Meinberg and Ryan Christy, 9/3/12
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