Company Info

Central California - November 5, 2012

This report covers conditions and observations made between Monday October 1, 2012 and Sunday November 4, 2012. This is the final report for the 2012 crop year. The next report will be posted on or about Monday, January 28, 2013, prior to the start of the 2013 bloom.

Taken in Stanislaus County, this report’s photos for the central region present an orchard under irrigation even as the Fritz variety lays waiting for the harvester near Salida, an orchard that has received an application of Gypsum near Hickman and the differentiated flower buds of the Nonpareil.

Fall-like conditions prevailed during much of the period in the central region as the 2012 harvest entered its final stages. Daily maximum temperatures were reported at their highest values in the period’s opening days when readings rose into the upper 90’s. Readings quickly dipped to more moderate levels, ranging from the mid and upper 70’s to upper 80’s, before dropping into the mid and upper 60’s as the first storm of the season passed through the state during the final full week of the month. Temperatures then varied between the upper 60’s to lower 80’s for the balance of the period. Morning minimums exhibited greater stability, ranging predominately between the upper 40’s and upper 50’s. Rainfall totals during the period were reported predominately between 0.1 and 0.3 inch.

Harvest operations in the region’s orchards have all but ceased in the central region. As this report was being prepared, only the last few late-harvesting orchards have any product being picked up and huller-sheller operators have begun running product from stockpiles. Operators are reporting that they should complete shelling stockpiles prior to the Christmas holidays. While the region’s growers were largely able to avoid weather related difficulties, owing to the comparatively dry harvest season, some growers have had to work with immature product coming predominately from late-harvesting Fritz and Monterey plantings that have required drying after hulling or shelling.

The completion of the harvest has also brought the completion of the irrigation season for growers receiving their water from local irrigation districts. Growers will now be forced to utilize private wells to irrigate their orchards for the balance of the year should adequate rainfall fail to arrive.
With the completion of the harvest, growers have moved their focus to the various post-harvest tasks. Orchard floors are being leveled while pruning, brush shredding, application of soil amendments such as gypsum or lime and potassium fertilizers may be observed in all areas of the region. Growers have also begun removing older, lower producing orchards and pulling individual diseased or broken trees. 

Many in the region have been re-assessing the past year’s insect control programs, given the higher than desirable Navel Orange Worm damage experienced in the 2012 crop. While the average level across the region is only slightly higher than experienced in 2011, quite a few growers experienced unacceptably high damage levels. Many of the problems may be linked directly the inability to remove mummy nuts from the trees during last winter. Adequate rainfall is needed to loosen the mummies, allowing shakers to remove the nuts from the trees. Last winter’s low rainfall made winter shaking quite difficult and many orchards carried too many mummies into the new crop year.

All in the region are hoping that the coming winter will bring ample snowfall needed to replenish the state’s depleted reservoir system and the rain required to fill the orchard’s root zone.

Current weather at the National Weather Service

Photos: Mel Machado, 11/5/12
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