Southern 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 southern region show a sweeper preparing the crop for harvest near Madera, a shuttle cart and elevator building a stockpile near Chowchilla and a stockpile being built near McFarland in Kern County.
Warm, but relatively mild temperatures, punctuated with elevated humidity levels dominated the southern San Joaquin Valley’s weather during August. Daily maximum temperatures ranged from the mid and upper 80’s at the start of the period, then increased daily to peak near or slightly over the 100 degree mark on the 18th through the 20th of the month. Readings then drifted back into the upper 80’s to mid and upper 90’s for the balance of the period. Morning lows followed a similar pattern, with readings rising from the upper 50’s as the period began to the upper 60’s and lower 70’s during the period’s warmest days before settling back into the upper 50’s to mid 60’s for the remainder of the month. Flows of monsoonal moisture moving northward from Mexico continued to sweep over the region during the period. While only providing elevated humidity levels and patchy clouds on most days, thunderstorms built over the region at mid-month, creating brief, but strong winds in excess of 30 mph and impressive lightning, but only isolated rain. Growers in the Madera and Kerman areas reported receiving as much as ½ inch of rain in isolated downpours that dried within a few days, providing little hindrance to the pace of the harvest.
Harvest operations in the southern San Joaquin are progressing rapidly as growers work to bring in the 2013 crop. Many in the region have already completed shaking, sweeping and picking up their Nonpareil and have moved on to the various pollenizers. While the Sonora, and Price varieties normally follow the Nonpareil quite closely, observers are reporting that all varieties are maturing at an accelerated pace this year. As a result, growers have already shaken Camel, several of the various California type varieties as well as Butte, Padre and even the relatively late-harvesting Monterey. Deliveries of field-run Nonpareil to huller/shellers have already slowed in the Kern and Tulare County areas while the pace of loads of Butte and Padre is increasing rapidly. Observers are reporting that the first deliveries of field-run Monterey should make their appearance during the first week of September. Indeed, some have noted that the only factor limiting the pace of the harvest has been the amount of equipment available to put in the fields.
As previously noted, thunderstorms at mid-month were accompanied by fairly strong winds. Observers have reported that the greatest impact of the winds were sustained in the Madera County area where the accelerated maturity levels of the pollenizers allowed the winds to knock nuts to the ground, increasing the potential for mixed varieties in the harvested product from the most severely impacted plantings.
Observers are reporting that in spite of the relatively mild conditions, stress levels visible in the region’s orchards are increasing. Low soil moisture levels deep in the root profile, combined with pressure from web-spinning mites and increasing salinity levels have increased the amount of stress in many plantings around the region. Growers will be working to provide an all-important irrigation following the completion of the harvest in order to enter the dormant period in the best possible condition.
Current weather at the National Weather Service
Photos: Ernie Riechmuth and Gerald Guthrie, 9/2/13
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