Northern California - October 1, 2012
This report covers conditions and observations made between Monday, September 3 and Sunday, September 30, 2012.
The next report is scheduled for Monday, November 5, 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 this northern region report show a shaker moving through an orchard in the Arbuckle area of Colusa County, the Fritz variety laying under the trees in the Chico area of Butte County and a harvester picking up the crop, once again near Arbuckle.
Consistently warm, summertime temperatures reigned over the northern region during September, providing excellent conditions for the 2012 harvest. Daily maximum temperatures were reported predominately in the upper 80’s to mid 90’s during the month, with readings on the warmest days during the final week of the period rising into the upper 90’s. Morning lows were consistently in the low to mid 50’s with warmest readings dropping only into the lower 60’s, particularly along the west side of the region. The monsoonal moisture that produced a few showers over the San Joaquin Valley at the start of the period failed to reach into the Sacramento Valley, leaving the northern region’s orchards free of precipitation during the month.
Growers in the Sacramento Valley have taken full advantage of September’s excellent weather to bring a significant proportion of the crop in from the orchards. This year’s more advanced maturity level has allowed growers to harvest their crops in a more timely manner, in contrast to 2010 and 2011, when relatively cool summers delayed maturity and the harvest. Huller and sheller operators are reporting that the crop is flowing easily through their facilities. However, as is normally the case, growers are also sending crop to stockpile yards for shelling after the harvest has been completed.
Harvest of the Nonpareil crop has been completed and observers around the region are reporting that yields have been running slightly below expectations. In contrast, reject levels are running at higher than desirable levels. While some producers have had few problems, Navel Orange Worm infestations have produced some degree of difficulty for the majority of the region’s growers.
The hot, dry conditions have allowed growers to move quickly through the balance of the region’s varieties. Growers are reporting that yield levels in the various pollenizer varieties are running stronger than observed in the Nonpareil and growers are moving quickly towards completion of the 2012 harvest. Observers have noted that given the rate of progress made thus far and the state of maturity observed in the late harvesting Monterey and Fritz, the vast majority of the Sacramento Valley’s growers should be able to complete their harvest by mid-October.
Unlike last year, when cool, moist weather during the summer produced widespread infections of the fungal diseases Scab and Rust, this year’s dry weather has produced much lower infection levels. As a result, orchards are in much better condition this year in contrast to the widespread defoliation observed during the 2011 harvest.
Those who have already completed their harvest have set their focus on post-harvest tasks. The first order of business being a deep irrigation designed to replenish moisture levels deep in the soil profile. Fertilizer applications and pruning will also begin in the coming weeks.
Current weather at the National Weather Service
Photos: Dennis Meinberg and Ryan Christy, 10/1/12
Click an image to enlarge it