This report covers conditions and observations made between Monday, March 21 and Sunday, April 3, 2016. The next scheduled report will be posted on Monday, May 2, 2016. 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 include a shot of the Sonora in the Durham area of Butte County, followed by an example of the Carmel showing a high degree of Non-Infectious Bud Failure near Williams and a close-up of the characteristically elongated nuts of the Monterey in Arbuckle, along the region’s west side.
The completion of the previous period’s stormy weather delivered as much as two-tenths of an inch of rainfall to the Sacramento Valley on the period’s opening day before giving way to dry, warming conditions. Daily maximum temperatures reached into the mid and upper 70’s by the end of the period’s first week, rising from the lower 60’s reported on the period’s opening days. Readings moderated back into the 60’s with the arrival of a weak weather system on the 28th, the rebounded back into the mid 70’s for the balance of the period. Morning low temperatures varied widely, dipping into the upper 30’s on the coldest mornings, but remaining within the mid 40’s to lower 50’s for most of the period.
Orchards in the Sacramento Valley are displaying full canopies of vibrant green leaves and rapidly sizing almonds, benefitting from the generally good weather conditions the region has experienced this year. With virtually no threat of frost and very little inclement weather, growth rates have been brisk and nuts are sizing rapidly. Growers along the west side of the valley drawing water from the Glenn- Colusa Irrigation District are receiving 100% of their contracted amount this year. Unlike growers in the San Joaquin Valley, where the federal Central Valley Project has allocated 5% of their contracted amounts, growers north of the San Joaquin Delta are benefiting from the lack of “trans-delta conveyance issues” and will receive full allocations of water this year.
Growers have been mowing vegetation within the orchards and applying fertilizer materials as needed to support the developing crop. The lack of frost this year has meant that growers have not had to repeatedly run their irrigation systems to prevent crop losses. As a result, soils are not water-logged and orchards are in very good condition. Observers are reporting that the trees have begun the normal process of shedding nuts that they are not able to carry to maturity. Growers are reporting variable crop sets in the Nonpareil and better crop loads within the pollenizer varieties.
Growers are monitoring their orchards closely for signs of Leaf-Footed Plant Bugs and web spinning spider mites. Significant attention is also being paid to Navel Orange Worm (NOW) this year. Following the significant losses attributed to NOW in the 2015 crop, growers are especially tuned into this perennial insect pest. Growers worked through the winter months to remove mummy nuts harboring over-wintering larvae and are now monitoring populations within the orchards using egg traps to keep an eye on egg laying by female moths, and pheromone traps used to monitor the number and activity of male moths. Efforts to reduce the amount of damage experienced in the 2015 crop will continue throughout the 2016 growing season. In the meantime, growers will continue to irrigate and fertilize their orchards as required.
By Mel Machado