Southern 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.
Our photos for the southern region present an orchard receiving its post-harvest irrigation in Kern County, followed by a shredder reducing the prunings to toothpicks and a planting that has been cut down for firewood, both in Madera County.
Temperatures varied widely during the period as fall weather conditions swept over the southern San Joaquin Valley. Daily maximum temperatures dropped steadily from their highest readings near 100 degrees in the period’s opening days, dipping into the mid 60’s by mid-month. Readings then bounced between the mid 60’s and mid 90’s for the balance of the month as the fall transition brought two weakening weather systems towards the region. Morning low readings followed a similar pattern, ranging from the lower 60’s to the upper 40’s. The threat of rain went largely unfulfilled, with isolated areas of the region reporting receiving a few hundredths of an inch during a mid-month storm.
Harvest operations in the southern region were winding down quickly at the end of October with product being picked in the last of the orchards in Madera and Fresno County. With the completion of the harvest, growers quickly turned their attention towards critical post-harvest irrigation, floating the orchard floors, pruning, shredding and the application of soil amendments. Some observers have noted more intense attention being given to applications of gypsum and lime due to rising salt and alkalinity levels in orchard soils. Poor rainfall during the last winter and dropping water tables in many areas of the region have exacerbated soil salinity problems and foliar damage in the worst conditions. Growers are hoping that winter rains in the coming months will help to alleviate the increasing problems.
The completion of harvest operations in the orchards has allowed huller/sheller operation to begin picking up previously stockpiled product. This “second season” as some call it normally lasts into January. However, huller/managers are reporting this year that given the flow rates they have experienced thus far, most will be done by early December.
Observers in the Madera County area have reported that growers have also begun pulling pumps from their private wells, with the intent of deepening the wells prior to the next crop. Areas of Madera County have reported dropping water levels and growers there want to be prepared in the event of another dry winter. As in the balance of the Central Valley, growers are removing older, less productive plantings and are preparing orchards for replanting during the winter.
Current weather at the National Weather Service
Photos: Ernie Reichmuth and Gerald Guthrie, 11/5/12
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