This report covers conditions and observations made between Monday March 30 and Sunday, May 3, 2015. The next report is scheduled for Monday, June 1, 2015. 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, this report’s photos for the central region present a cut-away view of the Carmel, showing the partially solid kernel, a Leaf-Footed Plant Bug about to feed on a nut and an orchard under micro-sprinkler irrigation.
April provided growers with favorable conditions, with summer-like weather consistent throughout the central region. Average low temperatures for the month were in the mid 40s, with high temperatures in the mid 70s with temperatures reaching the mid to upper 80s the last week of April. A series of thunderstorms passed through the central region in early April, dropping anywhere between .25″ and .75″ of rain. These storms also generated impressive amounts of hail along the eastern foothills, while damage was limited to just a few orchards. However, while limited in scope, the affect orchards suffered significant damage.
The crop has developed at a brisk pace. Growers have noted that the crop is sizing well, although some are expressing concern about the hulls being larger than normal. Growers have become slightly more optimistic of their Nonpareil crop, although most agree that it is lighter than 2014. Pollenizer varieties are typically carrying better crop loads than the Nonpareil. However, observers are reporting a large degree of variation from orchard to orchard.
Water districts throughout the central region are delivering between 0 and 30 inches of water to growers this growing season. The shortage of district water will impact all growers, as they rely more heavily on their agriculture wells, and others scramble to purchase water from neighbors with access to well water. As growers rely more heavily on groundwater, they are keeping a close eye on the strength of their wells. Isolated instances of well failure have been reported, with most wells appearing to be strong for the time being.
Growers have been observed fertilizing, irrigating and mowing between the tree rows. Some growers that use flood irrigation have pulled furrows or ridges, opting to irrigate smaller sections of their orchard and more accurately target the flow of water.