This report covers conditions and observations made between Monday, April 4 and Sunday, May 1, 2016. The next scheduled report will be posted on Monday, June 6, 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 present views of the Winters variety near Williams in Colusa County, followed by the Carmel and Butte in the Durham area of Butte County.
Observers reported typical spring conditions during April, with periods of rain mixed in with dry, bright sunny days. Daily maximum temperatures during the dry days at the start of the period and at mid-month ranged from the mid 70’s to upper 80’s. At other times, most notably between the 9th and 15th , and again from the 22nd through the 28th, readings topped out in the upper 60’s to lower 70’s as showers swept over the region. Morning lows for the period were reported predominately between the upper 40’s and mid 50’s. Total rainfall accumulations for the month ranged from a few hundredths of an inch to as much as 1.5 inches. Observers are reporting that winds were the most dominant weather factor during the month, with speeds reaching into the teens on many days during the period. While disrupting some operations, growers in the Sacramento Valley reported that their orchards escaped significant damage from the winds, unlike those in San Joaquin.
Observers are reporting that the 2016 crop is developing well, with no signs of disease. Growers concentrated primarily on pest management and irrigation during the period. Treatments to prevent fungal diseases, made necessary by the rain, were also completed during the calmest days of the period in orchards with a history of disease on susceptible varieties. These treatments must be applied prior to the start of infection as once fungal growth has begun, controls are no longer effective. Growers have also been mowing vegetation to reduce water use.
Some growers have noted that the water levels in their wells have rebounded during the past winter, a benefit of the rain the region has received. Observers have noted that while the irrigation season has begun, the rain received during April did help to delay the need for irrigation in the wettest areas. The winds that blew through the valley also complicated matters for growers who worked to time irrigations to avoid the windiest days, thus reducing the possibility of blown over trees. Along with irrigation, growers have also been applying fertilizer materials to support the crop and promote spur development needed for the 2017 crop.
As the crop continues to grow, kernels have begun to solidify and observers are reporting that the trees have been shedding nuts they are unable to carry to harvest.
By Mel Machado