Central California - April 15, 2013
This report covers conditions and observations made between Monday, March 25 and Sunday, April 14, 2013. The next report is scheduled for Monday, April 29, 2013. 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 report present the developing nuts of the Monterey in the Newman area of Stanislaus County, the Fritz in the Gustine area of Merced County and a shot of a young planting in the Salida area of Stanislaus County being jostled by the blustery winds that blew through the region.
Rain swept across the region from the west during the last week of March and first week of April. Official rainfall totals for the period ranged from 0.8 inch to 1.5 inches. However, growers reported additional amounts falling from heavy, but isolated downpours that roamed through the region. Particularly heavy rainfall fell in areas of western Stanislaus and San Joaquin County on Sunday, March 31st as a strong storm cell moved from south to north through the area. While growers reported hail that damaged apricots south of Tracy, no damage was observed in the area’s almond orchards.
Blustery winds dominated the weather in the days following the storm’s passage with sustained speeds in excess of 25 mph and gusts reported as high as 40 mph. While growers reported some crop loss due to nuts being knocked from the trees, tree losses were minimal as the winds were well forecast and growers had held off irrigations in order to provide more stability for their trees.
Observers are reporting that the 2013 crop is developing well with little to no adverse impacts from the damp, windy conditions experienced during the period. Nuts of all varieties have broken free from their jackets and are growing well. As described in previous reports, nuts that were not pollinated have been shed from the trees and orchards are now entering a second period of shedding where nuts that the trees are unable to sustain to maturity are also being cast to the ground. This is visible in the photos accompanying this report showing the smaller sized nuts that will be shed in contrast to the largest that will be retained to harvest. Growers are commenting that the above normal temperatures the region has experienced this year has resulted in excellent growth rates, producing good nut sizing for this point in time.
Growers have been busy scheduling irrigations and fertilizer applications as they work to support the developing crop. The rainfall the region received provided only a small reduction in the need for irrigation and growers have been working diligently to maintain adequate soil moisture levels.
Observers have noted that the symptoms of Non-Infectious Bud Failure are visible in many Carmel plantings this year. A non-infectious genetic disorder, the condition significantly reduces crop loads and dramatically alters the growth and development of the tree.
While there is little to no evidence of disease at this point, growers are treating for the summer-time fungal diseases, Scab and Rust in plantings having a history of infection. Treatments to control these diseases must be completed prior to the start of infection. Significant, but fortunately isolated infestations of Oblique Banded Leaf Rollers have been spotted along the west side of the region. Growers are monitoring their orchards for signs of Leaf-Footed Plant Bugs that can be expected to move in from surrounding grasslands as these areas dry out. Growers will pay particular attention to their Sonora, Fritz and Aldrich plantings as they are preferred by this potentially damaging insect. Reports of high trap counts of Navel Orange Worm in the southern region have increased grower vigilance for this insect as well. Growers and Pest Control Advisors will be monitoring the situation and evaluating the best control practices should trap populations indicate that early season controls are warranted. For the first time, growers have a pheromone trap available to attract male adult Navel Orange Worm moths. This provides growers with a very valuable tool in managing the prime insect pest of almonds.
Current weather at the National Weather Service
Photos: Mel Machado, 4/15/13
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