Central 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.
Taken in Stanislaus County, our photos for the central region present the Nonpareil drying under the trees in a foothill orchard at sunrise east of Hickman and a sweeper preparing the crop for the harvest south of Modesto. Our final image shows an example of the rapidly maturing Carmel dropping from the trees prior to shaking, also near Modesto.
Mild to comfortably warm conditions dominated the central region’s weather during August. Daily maximum temperatures rose from low to mid 80’s at the start of the period, peaking at or near the 100 degree mark at mid-month before settling back into the low to mid 90’s during the latter half of the period. Morning lows followed the same pattern, rising from the lower 50’s as the period began into the mid and upper 60’s during the period’s warmest days before dipping back into the upper 50’s for the balance of the month. Monsoonal moisture flowing northward exerted varying degrees of influence throughout the month, building into thunderstorms that rattled windows and dropped trace amounts of rain in the Merced and eastern Stanislaus County areas at mid-month.
Harvest operations began in earnest in the central region during the period and are running at a fever pitch as this report is being written. Growers have been moving rapidly through the Nonpareil variety and have already begun shaking pollenizer varieties, including the Butte and Padre. Observers are reporting that the nuts are coming off of the trees quite easily, with very few remaining after shaking. In spite of the fears of elevated damage levels from Navel Orange Worm that prevailed during the growing season, quality of the nuts received thus far is running quite high, with very low reject levels observed. Growers are reporting that kernels sizes are running towards the smaller end of the spectrum, as was forecast prior to harvest.
Following three years of delayed harvests, especially in 2010 and 2011, the 2013 Nonpareil harvest began on a more normal time frame. Observers are reporting that the various pollenizer varieties are maturing at a particularly accelerated pace, compressing the harvest for most of the region’s growers. This is best demonstrated in the third image accompanying this report, which provides and example of a Carmel planting where the nuts are dropping from the trees prior to splitting. The early maturing pollenizers are complicating the harvest for many of the region’s growers, who normally provide their orchards with an irrigation following the Nonpareil harvest, prior to shaking the next variety. While those with drip irrigation systems are able to provide their trees with some water during the harvest, others must wait until the Nonpareil has been removed from the orchard. Those with the greatest number of nuts on the ground are diverting from the normal practice and are opting to immediately shake their pollenizer and irrigate after they have completed the harvest. The situation is further complicated by the relatively dry soil conditions evident in many orchards. Observers also note that growers with advanced examples of the Monterey along the west side of the region are expecting to begin shaking within the first few days of September and that even the last-to-harvest Fritz is splitting well and is progressing at an accelerated pace.
Growers are delivering their harvested crops directly to huller/sheller facilities and to stockpile storage for shelling later in the season. Huller/sheller operators are reporting that the product delivered to their facilities is running very smoothly and that they are moving swiftly through the crop. As growers complete their harvest in the coming weeks, growers will be providing their orchards with critical post-harvest irrigations. Stress levels in orchards around the region are increasing. This is most evident in plantings along the west side of the region.
Current weather at the National Weather Service
Photos: Mel Machado and Karen Stone, 9/2/13
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