Central 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 the central region present a sample of the scenes visible during the harvest in the northern San Joaquin Valley. First, the shaking of the Butte and Padre varieties in the Farmington area of San Joaquin County, followed by a particularly leaf-filled windrow of Carmel and a harvester picking up the crop, both in the Modesto area of Stanislaus County.
Warm temperatures and generally clear skies dominated the weather during September in the central region. Daily maximum temperatures ranged from the mid and upper 80’s to upper 90’s on most days, with readings reaching just above the century mark on a few occasions. Morning lows ranged from the mid and upper 50’s to lower 60’s. While pulses of monsoonal moisture coursed up the state on several occasions, only one brought scattered showers to the region, with just a few hundredths reported from official stations during the period’s first week. However, a few growers in the Ripon area of San Joaquin County reported receiving nearly a tenth of an inch from heavier downpours.
Harvest operations continue in the central region and as this report is being written, the harvest of the Nonpareil has been completed. Growers have been delivering product directly to huller/sheller facilities or to stockpile yards for hulling after the harvest has been completed. Growers have been reporting lower than anticipated Nonpareil yields and elevated reject levels, caused primarily by early infestations of Navel Orange Worm. Drier than normal kernel moisture levels have also produced elevated chipped and broken levels in many Nonpareil deliveries.
Observers have noted the significantly dry soil conditions evident around the region. As shown in the second of this report’s photos, many orchards around the region have lost a significant proportion of their foliage, producing very leafy windrows. Growers are concerned about the degree of defoliation and the potential problem that the large quantities of leaves on the ground pose if rainfall arrives in the region before the harvest has been completed.
With the completion of the Nonpareil, growers have moved quickly into their pollenizer varieties. The advanced development of many pollenizer varieties has prompted many growers to forego irrigation after the Nonpareil had been harvested, opting instead to immediately shake the next variety. In contrast to last year, growers around the region are now well into the harvest of the Butte and Padre and have also begun shaking the Monterey and advanced examples of the Fritz. While growers with only Nonpareil and Carmel plantings are already winding down their harvest, many with other, later-maturing varieties are anticipating that their harvest will be completed, or nearly so by mid-October, given a continuation of the dry, warm weather.
Those who have completed the harvest have already moved on to post-harvest tasks. Machinery can be seen floating the orchard floor to smooth the soil surface and spreading soil amendments such as gypsum or lime. Post-harvest irrigations are also a prime consideration to ensure that the trees have adequate moisture going into the dormant season. Some growers have already begun removing older, low producing orchards.
Current weather at the National Weather Service
Photos: Mel Machado, 10/1/12
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