Northern California - April 29, 2013
This report covers conditions and observations made between Monday, April 15 and Sunday, April 28, 2013. The next report is scheduled for Monday, June 3, 2013. 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 northern region provide a view of the heavily laden Winters variety in the Williams area of Colusa County, followed by a down-the-row shot of the Carmel and Nonpareil and an example of the degree of nut loss visible in the Monterey variety, both in the Chico/Durham area of Butte County. Note the symptoms of Non-infectious Bud Failure in the photo of the Carmel.
Sacramento Valley growers enjoyed dry conditions during the latter half of April, punctuated with periods of gusty winds. Coolest daytime temperatures were reported early in the period, with readings rising from the mid and upper 60’s, to peak in the upper 80’s to 90 degrees by Sunday, the 21st. Conditions moderated slightly during the latter half of the period, dipping back into the upper 70’s and lower 80’s. Morning lows in the southern areas and along the west side of the valley were reported in the mid and upper 40’s as the period began and peaked in the upper 50’s on the warmest days. Readings in the region’s northern areas exhibited a bit more stability with readings consistently in the mid 40’s to lower 50’s. Winds were once again a dominant factor in the region’s weather. Speeds of 10 to 15 were commonly reported with readings on windier days reaching above 25 mph.
Observers are reporting that the winds have provided the only real challenge for growers in the Sacramento Valley so far this year. Morning temperatures have remained above threatening levels, eliminating concerns of frost damage while warm daytime temperatures have provided for excellent growth rates. Winds have increased the degree of nut loss and amplified orchards water needs while complicating irrigation scheduling. Growers want to ensure that they are able to keep their soil moisture at optimum levels, but must take wind into consideration when scheduling irrigations to ensure that the trees have the best chance of standing up against the winds. Observers have noted that many plantings of the Monterey variety are shedding nuts quite heavily. While not unprecedented, it is a bit unusual to see the amount of nuts on the ground under the Monterey rows. This is plainly visible in the third photo accompanying this report.
Throughout the region, mowers can be observed taking down excessive vegetation within the orchards. Sprayers have also been dispatched on the calmest days, treating for the summer-time fungal diseases Scab and Rust which must be completed prior to infection. Growers have also stepped up their fertility programs this year in an effort to support the developing crop. Growers are monitoring the tree’s vegetative development and working to employ new protocols developed by University researchers to aid in early season tissue analysis used to monitor their orchards nutritional status.
While in better condition than those in the San Joaquin Valley, Sacramento Valley growers are also monitoring their water supplies closely. Growers along the west side of the region drawing their water from the Tehama-Colusa Canal have had their allotments cut to 75% of contracted amounts. However, given that the full contract amount provides for only two acre-feet of water, growers there must increase their reliance their private wells to meet the crop’s water needs. All growers are monitoring pumping levels in their deep wells, with many reconditioning existing wells to ensure adequate supplies throughout the growing season.
Current weather at the National Weather Service
Photos: Dennis Meinberg and Ryan Christy, 4/29/13
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