March 6, 2019

Stormy weather is rapidly moving bloom towards an abrupt end. In the northern and southern San Joaquin Valley Nonpareil, Monterey and California type pollinizers have 10% or fewer viable flowers remaining with orchard floors covered in petals. Carmel in both regions is a day behind Nonpareil, while the late blooming Butte and Padre are three to four days behind. In the Sacramento Valley to the north, Butte and Padre are expected to reach peak number of open flowers in the next couple of days. Nonpareil, Monterey, and California type pollinizers have around 40% of their flowers remaining intact, with petals shedding rapidly. Inconsistent weather throughout bloom has left growers wondering about the potential size of their crop.

“It’s hard to tell how bloom turned out. With more wind and rain than normal, we had reduced opportunities to pollinate the crop,” said John Allen a south Bakersfield area Blue Diamond Grower. “I’m always hopeful we’ll make a good crop, but I have my reservations this year.”

Allen’s sentiments have been echoed throughout the state. It was difficult for bees to get consistent hours during the season and on most days, bees would have to start and stop around rain events. However, with warmer temperatures associated with most of the storms, bees were able to accumulate hours in most regions. The weather in the coming weeks will help determine what percentage of flowers stay on the trees as nutlets. An almond tree can typically only retain 20% to 40% of the flowers after pollination. Sunny, warm weather assists in retention.

Monday saw a small break in the stormy weather. Bees were able to work for four to five hours before winds picked up in the afternoon. Tuesday brought the return of stormy weather. High winds and rains made it tough for bees to leave the hives and no district got more than two hours of poor activity. Some parts of the state did not receive any hours.

By Brian Noeller

Photos by Dennis Meinberg, Christine Ivory, Jereme Fromm and Ernie Reichmuth

Northern Conditions and Bloom Status

High Temperature: 54°F
Low Temperature: 45°F
Wind: 10 mph. Gusts up to 30 mph.
Rain: .3" throughout the day.
Sky Conditions: Overcast
Bee Activity: 1 hour of poor activity.
Current weather at the National Weather Service
VarietyDormantGreen TipPink BudPopcornBloomPetal FallJacketOut of Jacket
Sonora%%%%13%27%60%%
Nonpareil%%%%35%45%20%%
California%%%%39%36%25%%
Carmel%%%2%58%35%5%%
Peerless%%%%%10%90%%
Monterey%%%%42%40%18%%
Butte%%2%10%62%26%%%
Padre%%10%22%58%10%%%

Central Conditions and Bloom Status

High Temperature: 58°F
Low Temperature: 48°F
Wind: 10 mph. Gusts up to 25 mph.
Rain: .2" in the morning.
Sky Conditions: Overcast.
Bee Activity: 2 hours of poor activity after morning rain.
Current weather at the National Weather Service
VarietyDormantGreen TipPink BudPopcornBloomPetal FallJacketOut of Jacket
Sonora%%%%%15%85%%
Nonpareil%%%%11%33%56%%
California%%%%13%35%52%%
Carmel%%%%23%37%40%%
Monterey%%%%13%27%60%%
Butte%%%2%49%26%23%%
Padre%%%5%64%18%13%%

Southern Conditions and Bloom Status

High Temperature: 60°F
Low Temperature: 50°F
Wind: 10 mph. Gusts up to 30 mph.
Rain: .2" throught the day.
Sky Conditions: Overcast.
Bee Activity: 2 hours of poor activity in Kern and Tulare Counties.
Current weather at the National Weather Service
VarietyDormantGreen TipPink BudPopcornBloomPetal FallJacketOut of Jacket
Sonora%%%%%5%95%%
Nonpareil%%%%%18%82%%
California%%%%1%24%75%%
Carmel%%%%13%22%65%%
Monterey%%%%7%27%66%%
Butte%%%2%36%60%2%%
Padre%%2%8%75%15%%%