Southern California - March 17, 2014
This report covers conditions and observations made between Friday, March 7 and Sunday, March 16, 2014. The next report is scheduled for Monday, March 31, 2014. 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 southern region show a worker tying trees in the Chowchilla area of Madera County, followed by the developing nuts of the Carmel in Tulare County and hives being collected by the beekeeper in Kern County, for transport to the next crop to be pollinated.
Rising temperatures, reaching 10 to 15 degrees above seasonal norms dominated the weather in the southern San Joaquin Valley during the period, providing strong support for the developing crop. Skies were generally clear during the period, with clouds moving over the region on the 9th and 10th as a weakening storm passed over the northern state, failing to provide any precipitation for the region. Morning low temperatures were reported predominately in the 40’s, with warmest readings reaching into the lower 50’s. Daily maximum readings increased from the low to mid 60’s reported early in the period, reaching their zenith in the upper 70’s as the period concluded.
Good weather and above normal temperature have helped to push the developing crop through their protective jackets. Nuts of all varieties are well into the differentiation process and are growing well, under the influence of the warm temperatures. Observers are reporting that the region is free of fungal diseases, owing to the generally good weather during the bloom and to grower’s effort to protect their crops. However, Non-infectious Bud Failure in the Carmel variety is quite pronounced this year. This genetic disorder is endemic in the Carmel, but can also be occasionally observed in older Nonpareil plantings as well. Observers have noted that the weakness reported in the Nonpareil bloom has resulted in a comparatively weaker crop set. This is not unexpected, given the excellent Nonpareil crop many orchards produced last year.
As may be seen in the photo accompanying this report, growers have been busy tying younger plantings to provide additional support and fertilizing their orchards to ensure adequate nutrition. Beekeepers are also continuing the process of removing their hives from the orchards.
The most important task many growers face this year is the search for water needed to support the crop during the growing season. As noted in previous reports, growers drawing their water from the federal Central Valley Project and from the State Water Project will be receiving no water this year and have been scrambling to purchase water from other sources, if available, to supplement water from private wells they may own. Those without wells are in a particularly tight situation and must secure water from available supplies at dramatically rising prices. Fortunately, weather conditions so far this year have eliminated the need for frost control activities, which would only serve to draw down already tight supplies.
Current weather at the National Weather Service
Photos: Ernie Reichmuth and Matt Willson, 3/17/14
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