Central California - October 28, 2013
This is the final report of the 2013 crop year, covering the conditions and observations made between Monday, September 30 and Sunday, October 27, 2013. The next report will be posted on or about Monday, February 3, 2014 prior to the start of the 2014 bloom.
This report’s photos for the central region show an orchard south of Tracy that has received an application of gypsum and an example of the continuing impacts of Bacterial Spot on the Fritz variety that has caused these nuts to stick in the tree near Manteca. Our final image, taken west of Modesto, provides an example of the amount of wood removed during pruning.
Clear, but occasionally hazy skies dominated the central region’s weather during October, continuing the dry conditions that have reigned over the region during the year. Daily maximum temperatures were reported predominately in the mid 70’s to mid and upper 80’s during the period, reaching several degrees above seasonal normal levels during much of the month. Morning lows were at their highest levels early in the month, dipping only into the mid 60’s throughout the region. Readings cooled noticeably as the period progressed, dropping into the mid 40’s in the latter half of the month. High pressure reigned over the state during the month, leaving the region rain-free for the entire period.
Harvest operations in the central region are nearly completed, with only the last few plantings of the last-to-harvest Fritz variety remaining to be picked up as this report was being prepared. Growers with crop remaining in the field are merely taking advantage of the dry conditions, providing the slightly immature crop with an opportunity to dry just a bit more before bringing it in from the field.
Despite the predictions of problems caused by Navel Orange Worm during the growing season, crop quality has been reported to be quite good, with few insect related difficulties. Some have reported observing damage caused by the feeding of Leaf-Footed Plant Bugs that roamed through the region earlier in the year and some growing the Fritz variety have noted an abnormally large number of nuts remaining in the trees after shaking. As may be seen in the photos accompanying this report, the vast majority of these nuts are displaying signs of infection by Bacterial Spot and are literally welded to the tree. Winter sanitation, removing these nuts from the trees and destroying them in the field, will be a critical component of the impacted grower’s disease management program, as they work to reduce the potential for infection next year.
Throughout the region, as growers completed their harvest, attention was quickly focused on providing a deep irrigation to provide support for the developing flower buds needed for the next crop. Applications of fertilizers and soil amendments such as gypsum or lime, as need to help correct soil salinity and pH levels have been conducted by many in the region. Some have also been applying nutrients through foliar applications. Pruning crews can be found working their way through the orchards, trimming trees to remove diseased or broken branches and shredders can also found reducing the prunings to pulp.
While the harvest from the orchards is all but complete, sheller operators continue to hull and shell the previously harvested crop stored in stockpiles. Sheller operations will continue for a few more weeks with the largest operations anticipating completing the season by early December.
Kernel sizes continue to play a dominate role in daily discussions throughout the region, along with the continuing concerns for water supplies in the coming year. Water deliveries from local irrigation districts were ending at the end of the month, leaving reservoir storage levels quite low. All in the region are hopeful that the coming winter months will bring significant rain to the valley and snow to the Sierra Nevada watershed.
Current weather at the National Weather Service
Photos: Mel Machado, 10/28/13
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