Southern California - August 5, 2013
This report covers conditions and observations made between Monday, July 1 and Sunday August 4, 2013. The next report is scheduled for Monday, September 2, 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 southern region show a shaker removing the crop from a young planting in Madera County and the windrowed nuts waiting to be picked up in Kern County. Our final image shows the degree of hull split visible in the Padre variety in Kern County in a planting also showing the leaf burn caused by excessive salinity levels.
Hot to very hot temperatures dominated the conditions during July in the southern San Joaquin Valley, with a mild respite in the period’s closing days. Daily maximum temperatures reached to as high as 110 degrees during the first days of the month, continuing the heat wave that began in the previous period. Temperatures moderated slightly as the days progressed, dipping into the lower 90 during the milder days of the month and reaching a few degrees over the century mark on the warmest. Morning lows followed a similar trend, remaining at uncomfortable levels in the mid and upper 70’s during the warmest days and ranging from the lower 60’s to lower 70’s for much of the period. Monsoonal moisture coursing northward from Mexico created uncomfortable humidity levels on several occasions during the month and spawned a few afternoon thunderstorms as well, most notably over the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Pre-harvest activities dominated grower’s attention during July as they prepared for the upcoming harvest. Irrigation and control measures for mites and Navel Orange Worm drew the greatest amount of attention as growers worked against the high temperatures to manage moisture levels while working to reduce the incidence of fungal infections on the splitting hulls. Many have been fighting increasing populations of web-spinning mites for several weeks, particularly in the Kern and Tulare County, but also in areas of Fresno County as well. Heaviest infestations have resulted in a degree of defoliation in many plantings in those areas. Growers have completed treatments for Navel Orange Worm and will be working to complete shaking of their most susceptible varieties prior to the initiation of the next flight of adult moths in an effort to reduce the degree of rejected kernels in the crop. Ant bait applications have also been conducted by growers with excessive populations of damaging species.
As shown in the photos accompanying this report, harvest operations have begun in the southern region, with the first orchard of the year shaken on July 19th northeast of Bakersfield in Kern County. Since that time, observers have noted that the pace of operations has increased steadily in orchards throughout Kern and Tulare counties. Shakers also began moving through orchards in western Fresno and Madera counties in the closing days of July. The combined effects of deficit irrigation practices, heavy mite pressure and the increasing levels of salinity have accelerated harvest dates in many southern region plantings. As a result, growers are anticipating moving through their orchards at a fairly brisk pace. While many in the region expecting to begin shaking within the next two weeks, the first product shaken was picked up and delivered to the huller/sheller in the period’s closing days.
Many growers are hoping to squeeze in an irrigation after removing the Nonpareil and prior to shaking their pollenizer varieties. Growers are being very judicious in their irrigations this year, wanting to conserve ample water needed for the all-important post harvest irrigation needed to support the now differentiating flowers buds forming for the 2014 crop.
Current weather at the National Weather Service
Photos: Ernie Reichmuth and Gerald Guthrie, 8/5/13
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