Company Info

Southern 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.

This report’s photos for the southern region present a conditioner preparing windrowed product for harvest in Madera County, followed by the Fritz variety after shaking and stockpiles waiting to be shelled in Kern County. Use of the conditioner in our first image is a new process some growers are employing that removes soil and leaves from the windrow, and then deposits the crop back onto the orchard floor. Conditioning promotes drying of the crop in the field, allowing for a faster harvest.

Unseasonably warm temperatures dominated the weather in the southern San Joaquin during September. With the exception of a few days in the period’s opening week, when monsoonal moisture flowing over the state from the south brought cloudy skies and a few drops of rain, daily maximum temperatures ranged from the lower 90’s to just over 100 degree throughout the region. Morning lows also ran at elevated levels, with readings reported predominately in the lower 60’s to lower 70’s.

Harvest operations in the southern region progressed smoothly during September as growers completed their Nonpareil variety and moved quickly into the various pollenizers. Observers have noted that Nonpareil yields have been running at lower than expected levels and that reject levels are running above desirable values.  Additionally, kernel moisture levels are running quite dry, with some loads running below 4% moisture. While growers have been disappointed with some aspects of the 2012 crop, huller/sheller operators have found that the crop is flowing though their facilities at a very good pace. While the low kernel moisture levels can increase the percentage of chipped and broken kernels, it also translates into low hull moisture levels, providing better flow rates through the sheller.

As previously noted, reject levels are running in excess of desirable levels. Observers are reporting that the vast majority of the damage has been caused by Navel Orange Worm. Further, the damage is from larvae that infested the kernels relatively early in the hull split period. Given the number of mummy nuts remaining in the trees after the 2011 harvest and the poor conditions for mummy removal during the winter of 2011/12, it follows that insect pressure would be higher this year. While observers had noted low populations earlier in the growing season, at this time, it is obvious that some plantings have sustained excessive damage levels and commensurate economic losses.

Growers have been moving quickly through their pollenizer varieties. Huller/shellers have been receiving Carmel, Butte and Padre for several weeks and growers have also begun to deliver late-harvesting Monterey and Fritz, as well. These late-harvesting types are particularly notable given that the Monterey and Fritz had both been exceptionally delayed during the 2010 and 2011 harvests. While the 2012 harvest began earlier than last year, on a more normal time frame, the Monterey and Fritz are running ahead of the normal timing. Observers have noted that at the current pace, harvest operations will be completed within a few weeks, as long as dry weather prevails.

Current weather at the National Weather Service

Photos: Ernie Reichmuth and Gerald Guthrie, 10/1/12
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