Northern California - September 2, 2013
This report covers conditions and observations made between Monday, August 5 and Sunday September 1, 2013. The next report is scheduled for Monday, September 30, 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 present three views of the 2013 harvest; first an over-the-top shot of a harvester and shuttle cart moving through an orchard in the Williams area of Colusa County, followed by a side view of the crop being picked up and a truck being loaded from a shuttle in the Durham area of Butte County.
Comparatively mild temperatures prevailed in the Sacramento Valley during August, providing growers with comfortable conditions for the 2013 harvest. Daily maximum temperatures were widely reported in the mid and upper 80’s as the period began, then rose into the low to mid 90’s in the majority of the region at mid-month, with warmest locations reaching to just over the 100 degree mark. Temperatures then settled back into the upper 80’s and lower 90’s for the balance of the period. Morning lows were reported in the mid 50’s to lower 60’s for the vast majority of the period, with readings dropping only into the upper 60’s on the warmest days between the 18th and 20th of August.
Harvest operations in the northern region began with a seemingly shotgun start during the first week of the period, as growers throughout the region sent shakers into their orchards. Observers are reporting that the Nonpareil is shaking very cleanly and that growers are moving through their orchards in quick fashion. Observers in the southern areas of the region are noting that elevated humidity levels have slowed the drying process slightly, leaving the hulls a little “leathery”. As a result, growers there are leaving the crop in the fields a few days longer to allow for additional drying time. Quality of the crop harvested thus far has been reported as very good, with low reject levels observed. As predicted, kernel sizes are running towards the smaller end of the spectrum.
Observers are reporting that the various pollenizer varieties are maturing at an accelerated pace, inspiring growers to push the Nonpareil harvest as quickly as possible. Growers are applying the smallest amount of water possible prior to shaking the next variety in an effort to prevent moisture stress while still allowing them to begin shaking in a timely manner. Fortunately, other than the previously noted elevated humidity levels, weather conditions during the period have largely supported these efforts and growers have been rapidly directing harvested product into huller/shellers or to stockpile storage for shelling when the capacity becomes available.
Pressure from web-spinning mites has remained low during the growing season and growers have noted few difficulties during the harvest period as well. As growers complete the harvest of individual plantings, critical post season irrigations will be completed and crews will be directed to the orchards to begin pruning and other required post-harvest activities.
Current weather at the National Weather Service
Photos: Dennis Meinberg and Ryan Christy, 9/2/13
Click an image to enlarge it